DNR Publishes Controversial Climate Change Textbook

MacIver News Service | July 14, 2010 [Madison, Wisc…] Critics claim the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is trying to indoctrinate students into becoming environmental activists by distributing thousands of copies of a textbook called the “Climate Change: A Wisconsin Activity Guide.”

“The goal of the project is to give teachers, and through teachers the students, basic information that they use to explore the topic of climate change. Obviously it’s in the news a lot, so they can explore and decide for themselves what they believe about it,” said Mary Hamel, one of the guide’s co-authors.

The book quotes the beleaguered United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and includes images of the planet Earth on fire, a polar bear stuck on an ice-floe and a gasoline pump tied up in knots under the heading: Causes of Climate Change.

Hamel says the guide presents straight facts and allows students to draw their own conclusions about whether or not climate change is even occurring. However, Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon), who worked as a meteorologist for several decades prior to becoming a legislator, argues the guide only presents one side of the story.

“It completely leaves out the fact that there are some very respected scientists who take the opposite view of the view they call the consensus, the overwhelming evidence,’ Ott said. “Well there are some very respected scientists that take an opposing view. That in itself, I would think is not accurate science.”

Ott says many of the practical exercises in the guide involve students taking up the role of environment activists, aggressively pursuing global warming policy changes.

“They basically are telling students to lobby for climate change legislation,” Ott said as he quotes from the book. “‘‘Everyone, including young adults, can bring about change by being active and engaged citizens. They can encourage lawmakers that alleviate or lessen the impacts of climate change.’ The DNR is telling students they should be calling me and telling me that I should enact policies that will fight climate change that they assume is happening and being caused by us? I have some real problems with that.”

The DNR wrote the 86-page guide two years ago to address a perceived need in the classroom. A grant from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (from UW-Stevens Point) helped pay for its production.

The DNR does not keep track of how the guide is being used in classrooms. Officials with the department say they are looking for ways to encourage teachers to provide feedback, which has been lacking.

So far, 6,000 copies of the guide have been mailed out or downloaded, although DNR officials said they could not identify which schools were using the guide.

Bill Osmulski has more in this video report from Madison; and, the MacIver News Graphic, seen below, includes excerpts from the text book.

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