Nature is pummeling the United States this year with extremes. Unprecedented triple-digit heat and devastating drought. Deadly tornadoes leveling towns. Massive rivers overflowing. A billion-dollar blizzard. And now, unusual hurricane-caused flooding in Vermont. If what’s falling from the sky isn’t enough, the ground shook in places that normally seem stable: Colorado and the entire East Coast.
Total weather losses top $35 billion, and that’s not counting Hurricane Irene, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. There have been more than 700 U.S. disaster and weather deaths, most from the tornado outbreaks this spring.
High-school teachers around the country are being subjected to harassment and threats urging them to avoid teaching factual climate science.
“’Evolution is still the big one, but climate change is catching up,” says Roberta Johnson, executive director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) in Boulder, Colorado. An informal survey this spring of 800 NESTA members found that climate change was second only to evolution in triggering protests from parents and school administrators. One teacher reported being told by school administrators not to teach climate change after a parent threatened to come to class and make a scene. Online message boards for science teachers tell similar tales…
“There seems to be a lynch-mob hate against any teacher trying to teach climate change,” says Andrew Milbauer, an environmental sciences teacher at Conserve School, a private boarding school in Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin.”
His [Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s] department has posted a consultation paper, Planning for a Sustainable Future: A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada, online here. The strategy proposes a new approach to monitoring and reporting using data from the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program that was funded in the 2010 budget. Progress reports would be compiled every three years.
The website allows feedback and the deadline for submitting comments is July 12, 2010. The consultation comes as the government’s environmental policy has taken a sustained attack in the wake of the federal budget.
Environmentalists point out that new fiscal plan offers no new money to the decade-old Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the country’s main fund for scientists studying everything from global climate models, to the melting of polar ice and frequency of Arctic storms, to prairie droughts and shrinking Rocky Mountain glaciers. They say it offers no money to create new jobs in green energy sectors as solar and wind power.
And documents obtained by Mike de Souza of Canwest News say scientists at Environment Canada feel they are being muzzled by the government’s communications policy.