SAVING THE EARTH
Excerpts from Brave New Schools
by Berit Kjos
"In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill...' 1 The Club of Rome
I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all its sacred parts,
Its water, land and living things and all its human hearts. 2
Earth Pledge, Global Education Associates
To fulfill state requirements for environmental education, California students -- like others across the country -- participate in weekend or week-long nature camps. "We were supposed to learn about science, but it's political too," explained eleven-year old Laura after her off-campus experience. "They told us how terrible it would be if there was any oil drilling off the coast."
The spiritual part was worse. "The counselor led us through the forest," the fifth-grader continued. "He told us to stop to absorb the moment and hug the trees. 'You are the tree,' he told us. 'You are one with all natural things.' He was treating everything as sacred and calling trees 'mother and father trees.' He was really teaching us pantheism."
Laura asked him if he believed in God.
"God is in all things," he told her.
Each student had to collect natural objects "of beauty or curiosity" such as tree bark, shells, or acorns. "Then we had a ceremony, but they didn't call it that. We had to take all our natural objects to a sacred place and put them in a circle. The counselor lit a candle and quoted an Indian saying, 'We're part of the earth and the chain of life. We're of the earth...' Then we sang a Christian song with the names of natural objects replacing the name of Jesus."
"This is an offering to nature," explained the counselor.
Later, Laura expressed her surprise that more children didn't recognize the deceptions. "When they told us Indian myths, I was the only kid in the class that didn't say, 'Oh, I believe that'." It hurt when her classmates refused to support her either at the camp or in discussions afterwards, but she wasn't discouraged. "I lost some of my friends," she said. "I know we'll face persecution for being Christians, but knowing God is much better!"
Laura's experience is multiplied across the country. Earth Day 1990 flung school doors open to a rising tide of pseudo-science and environmental activism. In the weeks surrounding Earth Day (April 22 Lenin's birthday), children from coast to coast celebrate nature, give thanks to Mother Earth and chant prayers to the Great Spirit. Using computers that supposedly "simulate the real world," students recreate environmental disasters and "solve" global problems. Many go home to scold their parents for destroying their planet. It's time--they are told--for the world's children to unite, fight, grow in consciousness, and save the planet. And far more is planned for the Earth Day 2000, and international celebration to usher in the envisioned new era of planetary peace and health. (See Earth Day Network: <http://www.sdearthtimes.com/edn/earthday/>)
ECO-MYTHS AND PSEUDO-SCIENCE.
Genuine concern for the environment is good and needful, for countless environmental abuses are painfully real. The depletion of ocean life through over-fishing, soil erosion through unwise farming practices, the destruction of rainforests, all kinds of pollution... demand our attention and practical solutions. Yet, contrary to popular perceptions, most true environmental crises are local, not global.
Since local problems seldom capture the imagination of the world community, they fail to serve the political purposes of leading environmentalist. They simply don't stir enough emotions to inspire global action. "We must make rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization," 3 said Vice president Al Gore. But what nation would yield their sovereignty to rescue the earth if the main problems were half a planet a way?
Rousing the nations to action and orchestrating a unified call for planetary management (See "The UN Plan for Your Community") requires global disasters--the kind of scary scenarios Al Gore described at the 1992 United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro. "...an enormous hole is opening in the ozone layer," he said, "[and] huge quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons are trapping heat in the atmosphere and raising global temperatures." 4
"But isn't that true?" you might ask.
No, it's not. Many of our nation's most distinguished scientists are finally speaking up to counter the astounding public acceptance of the pseudo-scientific pronouncements about the dire state of the planet. Censored by the liberal media, the voices of respected scientists such as Bruce Ames, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of California at Berkeley, are finally being heard. You can study their evidence and conclusions in a book aptly titled The True State of the Planet: Ten of the World's Premier Environmental Researchers in a Major challenge to the Environmental Movement.
To understand the global politics behind the environmental movement and the curricula it feeds to our schools, take a look at the social ambitions that drive it. Its agenda was formed during the sixties, when four overlapping anti-establishment groups joined to form the Green Party in Germany: radical feminists, Marxists, peace-niks (the anti-war movement), and hippies seeking spiritual enlightenment. Militant U.S. "Greens" formed a similar agenda: radical population control, a global welfare system (eliminating poverty and capitalism), planetary governance (including national disarmament), and earth-centered spirituality.
This blend of four counter-culture philosophies helps explain why earth-based spirituality and Marxist economics pervade the environmental teaching that infuses social studies, arts, math, reading, and every other classroom topic. Consider the sobering fact that William Reilly, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has stated that private ownership of land is a "quaint anachronism" 5 and therefore sought the "repeal of the Fifth Amendment to make it easier for government to seize private land." 6
Native American spiritism provides the perfect model for the new global value system-and brings the least resistance from concerned parents. Children learn that the earliest Americans lived in peace and harmony with nature and people, sharing their possessions and revering the earth. They are not told that Indians-like other pagan cultures around the world-cut down forests, slaughtered herds of animals, hated competing tribes and nations, and were terrorized by demonic forces. It's no wonder that Al Gore, in his book, Earth in the Balance, presents Native American spirituality and various Mother Earth religions 7 as models for healing our "dysfunctional civilization" 8 and restoring "our feeling of connectedness to the rest of nature." 9 Few parents realize how this seductive combination compromises home-taught faith.
MYTH, MAGIC, and MOTHER EARTH.
"Long ago, no rain had fallen on the land for many days. Grass died and animals starved. There was nothing to eat." 10
Designed to touch the hearts of third-graders from coast to coast, these sad words introduce a lesson titled "The Medicine Wheel" in the popular social-studies textbook, From Sea to Shining Sea. At the end of the exciting story, a Cheyenne couple hear the deep voice of the spirit Roaring Thunder. It "told the man and woman how to perform a dance. The dance would bring life back to the grasses of the earth and would bring herds of buffalo back to the people."
The text identifies the story as a myth but redefines this crucial word to fit the new politically correct ideology: "A myth is a story that explains something in nature." So does science. Does that mean that myth is the same as science? The text fails to differentiate.
After the story, Review Question 1 asks, "Why was the Medicine Dance important to the Cheyenne?" The teachers' guide gives the correct answer: "The Cheyenne held a Medicine Dance when they needed help from the powers of nature. They celebrated the Medicine Dance to make sure the cycle of nature would continue?" Did the cycles continue because of the occult ritual? The biased selection of facts leaves that impression.
The author of this popular textbook, UCLA scholar Gary Nash who led the committee that wrote the controversial national History Standards, never explains that a Medicine Dance is irrelevant to the natural rain-making process. Nor does he warn students about the devastating consequences of inviting "help" from demonic spirits. When Review Question 2 asks, "How are Cheyenne ideas about nature like Kwakiutl [Indians] ideas about nature?" the text's answer fits: "Both Cheyenne and the Kwakiutl respected nature." 11 The contrasting view that European invaders do not respect nature threads through the entire series of Houghton-Mifflin texts.
Do you see what is happening? These kinds of lessons teach a political ideology, not facts. They demonize Western culture and replace Christianity with a new global spirituality which blends all religions except biblical monotheism-belief in the one God who created the earth. Any pantheistic religion can be used to model the spiritual unity of all: Buddhism, witchcraft, Native American, Greek or Norse myths.
The text identifies the story as a myth but redefines this crucial word to fit the new-paradigm perspective: "A myth is a story that explains something in nature." 12 So does science. Does that mean that myth is the same as science? The text doesn't differentiate, but a look at some other environmental lessons may give a clue.
THE OZONE HOLE.
Do you remember Agenda 21--the action plan for the 1992 United Nations environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro? Today children around the world can catch the U.N. vision through a picture book titled, Rescue Mission Planet Earth: a children's edition of Agenda 21. Not only is it written for children; it is also written by children--"in association with the United Nations." One of its well-tutored authors, 14-year old Rekha Menon from India, blames the "First World" for introducing destructive luxuries like refrigerators: "fluorocarbons from the fridge make ozone holes we cannot bridge..." 13
The surrounding text is more specific: "The Ozone layer is an essential protective filter in the upper atmosphere that surround the Earth. . . . During the last 20 years, ozone levels above Antarctica have decreased by nearly 40% each springtime. It's all caused mainly by our use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC).... The consequences are catastrophic: about 100,000 people die each year from skin cancer.... ALL CFC-use must be stopped immediately!" 14 (Emphasis in the original)
What are the FACTS? Actually the ozone "hole" is not a hole at all. It is a seasonal thinning discovered back in 1956 by Dr. Gordon Dobson, 15 explains Dr. Edward Krug, who has degrees in environmental and soil sciences and is listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering. Each spring, after the long sunless southern winter, the ozone layer thins over the Antarctica. Conversely, it always expands after the southern summer when ultraviolet radiation once again creates ozone. (The media didn't tell you that the "hole" closes each year, did it?) The annual thinning varies from year to year. In fact, less ozone was measured in 1985 than in 1990 though more freon was used. 16 Why? Scientific data indicate a strong consistent correlation between ozone depletion and major volcanic explosions and other natural factors. 17
The cost of the ozone hoax defies comprehension. "The ban on CFC's will cost as much as $5 trillion by 2005," says Dr. Krug. "Eight hundred million refrigerators and freezers will have to be replaced worldwide as non-corrosive CFC's will be replace by highly expensive and corrosive chemicals like HCFC.... [This ban will] severely undermine efforts to feed millions in the Third World." 18
Dr. Frederick Seitz, past President of the National Academy of Sciences, former Chairman of the Defense Science Board, and recipient of the National Medal of Science shares those concerns. He writes,
"That natural factors may be involved in the variations in the ozone layer is clearly understood by most atmospheric scientists. Unfortunately, this fact was omitted, presumably intentionally, from the summary which accompanied the master report issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.... It was prepared by a special group of participants who apparently had a personal interest in recommending tighter environmental controls.... Moreover, the speed with which the Montreal Protocols are being put into effect is entirely unjustified in view of the enormous price society will pay in cost, convenience, and health....
"To summarize, there is reason, based on sound scientific work, to express doubt that we are in immediate danger from either global warming or depletion of the ozone layer as envisaged by some extreme activists in the environmental movement." 19
So why are government and media scientists so insistent that our world will roast and the ozone vanish? "A lot of scientists promote the greenhouse effect because of increased funding," 20 said S. Fred Singer, atmospheric and space physicist at the University of Virginia. Stanford University environmentalist Stephen Schneider's admission adds more insight:
"On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. . . On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people, we'd like to see the world a better place. . . . We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we might have... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest." 21
Naturally, environmental curriculum and children's ecology books echo the "scary scenarios" that spur global consciousness and political action. children blame "parents and grandparents" for worldwide problems. "They may deny it," says Captain Eco, the high flying superhero of a large picture book called Captain Eco and the Fate of the Earth, "but . . . they're stealing your future from under your noses." 22
Captain Eco takes two children on a soaring tour of the damaged earth. After showing them all the familiar abuses in the worst possible light, the captain points them to the final mega-problem: "and that's YOU."
"We're not that bad, are we?" they respond.
"Not you personally, but the whole human race. There are so many of you, it's getting harder and harder to meet everyone's needs--and harder for other creatures to find breathing space...." Saving the planet means the kind of family planning and government controls that oppose everything God shows us in His Word.
"You young ones have got to speed things up," concludes the Captain. "Keep the pressure on.... Either you go on... cutting down the forests and never thinking of replanting them, polluting all over the planet, killing other creatures without care or respect... Or you can work toward a better world.... Things are changing very fast, and it's time for you young earthlings to make peace with the earth. Will you help me?" 23
Lots of children are willing. They plant trees and clean river banks--which is great! They join Kids for Saving the Earth, Kids for a Clean Environment, Kids' in Nature's Defense, the K-12 Network, and all kinds of other organizations that help them save the planet. They become vegetarians, peace activists, and Enviro-Cops who receive badges and recite oaths to protect the earth. They write letters by the thousands--to the White House, to their senators, and to their local newspapers.
Spurred by activist teachers, students sign pledges and join worldwide environmental networks through global computer links, which can tap into advocacy groups like PeaceNet and EcoNet. Nearly 300 schools in 21 countries are linked through the International Education and Resource Network (I*EARN) which was formed in 1991 when the Copen Foundation expanded its New York/Moscow project.
Clean Sweep, an environmental curriculum published by the Iowa Department of Education demonstrates the same biased information and politicized solutions found in other environmental curriculum. In one of its lessons, the "learners" divide into two groups. One group, the people of the earth, sit on chairs in a circle representing the Earth. The others, the "unborn" people of the world, are waiting "to be born." Played like musical chairs, the game tells children to gather natural resources whenever the music stops. Meanwhile, new children are " born", adding to the rising "population" using the dwindling resources. Guess what happens. The world runs out of resources. Once again the villain is the Western world.
Like most environmental children's books and myths, the game doesn't match reality. This exercise is designed to change attitudes, not show real life. It teaches neither scientific facts nor social statistics. What it does is far more dangerous than what it omitted: it gives children an alarming view of an imagined reality. They feel the exaggerated dangers. They want to do something about them.
The discussion questions prod the children in the "right" direction: America is the villain of the world. Its demand for resources deprives poorer nations of their equal share. Greedy nations must reduce consumption (through government controls and global socialism?), slow population growth (through abortion?), and make whatever sacrifices needed for common good.
RESISTING ENVIRONMENTAL MYTHS.
To withstand the classroom and peer pressures to accept the scary environmental scenarios and their global "solutions", children need to....
Know science facts that (1) provide evidence against false scenarios and (2) show genuine problems and practical solutions. For scientific data, read The True State of the Planet: Ten of the World's Premier Environmental Researchers in a Major Challenge to the Environmental Movement, edited by Ronald Bailey.
- Understand some of the political visions which fuel the environmental movement. 24
- Remember that the classroom computer programs and models replacing textbooks don't simulate the real world. At best they match environmental ideology. The programmers determine what the computers will demonstrate.
- To avoid compromise with mythical thinking and earth-centered environmentalism, children should watch out for....
- Songs and poems that encourage earth worship.
- Classroom exercises or rituals that "empower" children to connect with Mother Earth, hear her voice, learn her wisdom and visualize her healing.
- Environmental programs that promote the lifestyles of pagan cultures.
- Native American chants and prayers to the Great Spirit.
- Buzzwords like interconnectedness (referring to spiritual oneness rather than biological interdependence) and reverence (suggesting a response reserved for the Creator, not creation).
- A pledge of allegiance to the Earth.
To help your children understand the consequences of worshipping nature instead of God, read Romans 1:18-32, Deuteronomy 11:13-19, and Jeremiah 14:22. Talk about how God shows His love by giving us these warnings.
Remember, God told man to take care of His beautiful planet. 25 To do our part, we need to heed the Maker-not earthy spirits. When He put humans in charge of his creation, 26 He wanted us to love and care for it as He would, not abuse it. Therefore, His Word warns us against mistreating animals, wasting trees, and squandering His resources. By His life in us, we can share His concerns and follow His caring ways before the watchful eyes of the world. "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to Whom be glory forever!" (Romans 11:36)
For more information about environmental education, read Brave New Schools (Harvest House Publishers). Available through Christian bookstores or by calling 800-829-5646.
1. Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider, The First Global Revolution (New York: Pantheon Books, 1991), 115.
2. Pledge and curriculum prepared by Global Education Associates (GEA), 552 Park Avenue, East Orange, NJ 07017.
3. Steven Chapman, Chicago Tribune, October 8, 1992.
4. Prepared Remarks, typescript distributed at the United Nations' Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, June 1992.
5. Dixy Lee Ray, 101.
7. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992), 259-261.
8. Ibid., 237, 259.
9. Ibid., 1
10. Gary Nash, From Sea to Shining Sea (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1991), 86.
11. Ibid., 89.
12. Ibid., 87.
13. The Children of the World, in association with the United Nations, Rescue Mission Planet Earth (New York: Kingfisher Books, 1994), 65.
14. Ibid., 10.
15. Dr. Gordon Dobson wrote a review of his ozone discovery in the March 1968 issue of Applied Optics. Cited in Fact Sheet: A Hole in the Ozone by Edward Krug, Ph.D.
16. * New York Times, October 12, 1990.
17. For more information and specific data, contact either CFAC (see next footnote) or Dr. Krug. The address for his newsletter is given at the end of this chapter.
18. Edward C. Krug, Ph.D., "Fact Sheet: A Hole in the Ozone", Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow, Box 65722, Washington D.C., 20035.
19. Dr. Frederick Seitz, Global Warming and Ozone Hole Controversies: A Challenge to Scientific Judgment (Washington, D.C.: George C. Marshall Institute, 1994), 25, 27, 33.
20. "Facts and Fiction of Global Warming," The San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 1991.
21. Jonathan Schell, "Our Fragile Earth," Discover (October 1989); 44.
22. Jonathan Porritt, Captain Eco and the Fate of the Earth (New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc., 1988), 5.
23. Ibid., 46-47.
24. The political vision behind the environmental movement are explained and documented in Brave New Schools.
25. Genesis 2:15.
26. Genesis 1: 26, 28.
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