Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wyoming GOP Sells Out Kid's Education To Big Oil Profit

climate scienceLast night as I read the evening paper I found myself in a full on fit. I was waving my arms, spitting and cussing and my poor husband sat there in disbelief, wondering what on earth had set me off because I was so upset that I wasn't making any sense in my rantings. Finally, I slowed down and explained that the Wyoming Tribune Eagle had an article, "Science Standards Get Second Chance" which describes how the state GOP is working against setting science standards or even allowing them to be debated by the State Board of Education. House Bill 23, will create a Next Generation Science Standard for the state and will advance to state Senate where it will have to clear a vote in committee and three votes on the floor before it can pass the legislature. It was infuriating that Rep. Scott Clem opposed climate change and evolution as "junk science." It was absolutely disgraceful that he also said the standards are "flawed" because they state that climate change is caused by humans. But I took all that in stride. What I couldn't take came from Minority Floor Leader Rep. Mary Throne. She said, "I don't think it's a killer to our energy industry to allow a discussion to proceed, and I think it's fair to say that we can trust our state board to tweak the language that many of us find objectionable in the proposed standards." Mary hit the nail on the head. The reason that nobody wants to teach our kids science in Wyoming is because they are afraid it will threaten our energy industry. If our kids learn science, if they learn the truth, they might not bow down to the gods of oil, gas and coal. If they learn the truth they might call us out. They might choose a different path. Dear lord, don't teach them science. Don't tell them the truth. Don't give them the facts. How freakin' messed up is that? How low are the GOP's standards? They would rather keep our children in the dark, give them false information, misinformation, and let them live with a lack of information than educate them and face the consequences. They don't want our children to know that climate change exists. They don't want them to know that humans cause it. They don't want them to know that we can stop it. They don't want them to know because it would threaten the energy industry. It would threaten it's very core because kids are smart. Kids care. When kids see a wrong they want to make it right and the GOP knows it. I have an eleven year old who had to write an "I have A Dream" speech last week at school. His dream was that there would be no pollution, that there would be no animals facing extinction and that all animals would be fed and have homes. When I teach him about climate change he is concerned. He worries about the polar bears. He worries about the people who face hurricanes and other natural disasters. He asks me what he can do. Together we work to reduce our carbon footprint, and in that he feels he has made a difference and is proud. He found out about climate change, and he changed his behavior. If climate science were taught in schools, each child would have the opportunity to use his own critical thinking skills to decide how he will respond to the facts he is given. Not all of them will choose to react like my son did. Plenty will stick to drill baby drill. But some might find it in their hearts to shut off the lights when they aren't using them, walking when they can instead of driving and all the little things that add up. It's the kids' own free will as to what they do with the information. But it's our responsibility as adults to give them the information; withholding it just because we are afraid it might cut into the profit of a dirty enterprise is just shameful.

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