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Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy


Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy

Bill Bigelow, Common Dreams contributor

In what may be a first in the nation, this week the Portland, Oregon school board passed a sweeping “climate justice” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity.” The resolution further commits the school district to develop a plan to “address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”


As a naive young man winding my way through my educational path into a life in academia involved in the field of environmental issues, science, and engineering I was brow beaten by the Petrocracy at nearly every turn. The gospel of Bullshit Mountain (thank you Jon Stewart) seemed to permeate all of the airwaves. We were talking climate issues in the late seventies and early eighties to the point that when research money appeared in the nineties for climate change, I was actually bored of the concept. Of course it was real. Big Media (with Big Oil up its pipes) spun the story in such an Orwellian fashion that I just had to ultimately give up. Rachel Carson, I know the pain you felt. We are many. To the youth, please take charge. Forgive my generation. Some of us really fought for you. Not enough, I am afraid.


May Portland’s example spearhead a movement to replicate its resolutions nationwide.


This article is just full of good news, but what got my blood pumping was this:

Portland’s resolution also acknowledges that this curriculum development will not come from education corporations, but needs to be a grassroots process, “drawing on local resources to build climate justice curriculum—especially inviting the participation of people from ‘frontline’ communities, which have been the first and hardest hit by climate change—and people who are here, in part, as climate refugees…”

I second lhotse; Power to the people!


This pretty much says that they are actually going to teach science. I would think that is what schools everywhere in the US should be doing.


Kudos to the activists and citizens of Portland. That’s an exciting and positive direction. I hope we have time to replicate it everywhere.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world:

Residents of a city in the north-west of India have called for government action as temperatures reached 51C (123.8F), the highest the country has experienced since records began.

Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan, is suffering an unprecedented medical crisis as a result of the record temperatures, which are high even by local summer standards and which smashed the previous record, set in 1956, of 50.6C.

“[Thursday] was the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country: 51C in Phalodi,” BP Yadav, a director of India’s meteorological department, said on Friday. (emphasis added)


The thing is that the planet is continuing to warm which suggests that 123F will go even higher in years to come.

How hot can it get? They tell us how hot it has gotten before but no one discusses just how hot it will continue to keep getting! We have increased nearly to the tipping point we think is the limit for tolerance but exactly how hot can in get in places if the Earth’s average temperature has increased by 3C degrees? Would that city in India reach 130f? Can people live in such a temperature for sustained periods of time? If 123F is the hottest ever recorded in India (world record?) today then as years go by…

…How hot can it actually get?


Those explosions you hear in the background are denialist heads exploding because their First Amendment right to lie out their distal digestive orifices has been taken away.


Maybe we can include a few bottles of Excedrine along with the movement. I am absolutely sure there are a mess of God-fearing school district people on Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, etal, who will need it desperately if the movement breaches their state lines . I am one proud Oregonian!


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“” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity.””

Umm, you mean the science that the school board agrees with. I guess if a teacher is gonna try show some arguments for the other side he’s gonna be burned at the stake or maybe thrown in a dungeon. Pretty scary stuff…


Demanding the school board throw out a text that says our activities “may” cause atmospheric warming is fanaticism. First ask, “when was this text written?” If it was before 2000, forgive the authors. Even saying “may cause,” likely got the text thrown out in many states. Let it go and work on aquisition of more up to date materials. I agree with the school board.


What a wonderful thing Portland has done. Hopefully it will inspire more bravery elsewhere in the States. 10++!


This is positively Orwellian. You call yourselves liberals? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

We’re throwing time-tested history and social studies texts overboard because their editors rightly recognize that there is, in fact, a debate being waged over an issue? We’re dumping books (at significant expense) because they express doubt? Forget what issue it is. The issue doesn’t matter.

If you are going to eliminate otherwise proven texts from schools because they express doubt about ANY subject, then what basis can students have to reliably know what they think they know? If the accumulated evidence of science should change and make the opposition theory more likely, what then? We’ve already painted ourselves into an intellectual corner. If we had done this in 1975 we’d still have students reading texts about inevitable global cooling and a return of the Ice Age. If we eliminate even the expression of doubt, then what mechanism do we have to update the curriculum as science evolves and more information becomes available?

We can’t.

It would have to be someone from outside the educational system, because someone growing up within it would not be exposed to new information.

Seriously. John Stuart Mill would be turning over in his grave. So would any decent liberal arts educator or classical liberal.

This is insane.

Hell, I’m old enough to remember my public high school and intermediate school teachers talking about book banning and even the Papal Index as a bad thing. Not you guys. You’re special.

This is asinine, illiberal and dangerous.

Supporters should be ashamed.


When they go about putting together the new curriculum, what happens if they include the work of Dr. Guy McPherson? What would that look like?

“Kids… if you stay in school and work hard… you’ll soon be dead.”



I remember Gore versus Bush. I remember how the election was fixed and Bush was installed as President and Gore, walked away from the fight, as if it had been planned. The next thing you know Gore is pushing this global warming thing. I had only recently been introduced to the internet, and so I googled this global warming thing. Surprise surprise! all kinds of things came up, much of it challenging the global warming scenario with hard core data, historical weather review, and lots of science. None of this readily available material is allowed to be discussed in liberal controlled spaces. Now right here in Portland, a life long “leftest” is calling for thought control and thought crime. Wow. Here we see the merging of the “left” with the banker dream of a “new world order”. Researching further, the ongoing connection between the “left” and the bankers stretches right back to the French “revolution”.