According to The Oregonian, last Thursday, the Portland Public School Board unanimously decided to ban any materials that cast any doubt on climate change. The measure “requires that textbooks and other classroom materials present climate change as fact and that it is caused by the activity of human beings.”
The Oregonian reports further, saying:
‘In testimony to the board, Bill Bigelow, a former Portland teacher, told district officials that “we don’t want kids in Portland learning material courtesy of the fossil fuel industry.” Bigelow said that material that treats climate change as anything other than fact is published by companies making concessions for fossil fuel companies. He pointed to words such as “might,” “may” and “could” in educational materials.’
Gaby Lemieux, a local high school student, hit the importance of the topic dead center in a testimony that she gave to the school board:
‘It is unacceptable that we have textbooks in our schools that spread doubt about the human causes and urgency of the crisis. Climate education is not a niche or a specialization, it is the minimum requirement for my generation to be successful in our changing world.’
The problem is that some people think certain facts are somehow debatable. You can’t make any reasonable argument whatsoever against climate change. It is a fact. Some, however — think right-leaning corporatist groups — try and argue with it anyway. That point is what Bigelow showed when he mentioned the fossil fuel industry. Climate change is not denied because of anything other than personal, mostly financial incentive. It would hurt the business of those involved in providing the services that are warming the world. Think, like Bigelow said, fossil fuels.
The situation with such denial of basic facts is so bad that President Obama claimed, and he’s probably right, that the American Republican Party is the only major political group in the Western world that doubts climate change and therefore refuses to do anything about the issue that is impacting our planet so severely.
For example, rising sea levels have already been claiming islands. Yes, that means what you think it means: There are already islands that are now under water because of the encroaching sea. These islands, 5 members of the chain of islands known as the Solomons, are in the South Pacific, and have been confirmed to now be under the ocean. Apparently, the largest hit from the rising tide is coming in that region, where the sea level is rising at 3 times the global rate. The Maldives, an island chain nation in the Indian Ocean, are also in grave danger of going underwater, and communities are fleeing as a result.
Below, just for reference, you can see a graph of global temperature change over time. As you can see, the current temperatures are some of the very highest ever recorded, over the temperatures from the often cited “Medieval warm period” as well.
Oregon is a bastion of progressivism. Democratic socialist and underdog presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won the state’s recent primary by a large margin, with 56 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 44 percent. The difference is about 70,000 votes.