Schools should teach about climate change and good citizens should respond to warming planet

Posted 4 March 2019 at 6:45 pm


I would like to respond to Paul Lauricella’s letter posted on Feb. 17, 2019. I don’t care that he constantly sees conspiracies perpetrated by the media, Hollywood, scientists, government agencies, priests and pastors.

I don’t care that he thinks those who are concerned about the way we treat the environment are out to destroy the economy and the country. I don’t care that he dismisses social justice and civil rights as some kind of leftist plot to ruin America. That’s how conservative extremists think. They sing the praises of corporations and companies who treat our air as an open sewer. They only believe the writings of those who support their narrow, profit-oriented destructive “pro-corporation” agenda. I understand all that.

But the truth is 97% of scientists believe human activity is driving global warming, and global warming is and will become an even more serious threat to human health, crop production, public safety, coastlines, ocean habitat and the US economy. The only scientists who do not make these claims are those who are employed by the fossil fuel industry. They are the ones Mr. Lauricella calls “real scientists.”

Remember the saying, “who’s bread I eat, who’s song I sing”?’ Government scientists such as those employed by NASA and others are constantly fighting to make their voices heard over President Trump’s censorship. Some are getting fired. I wonder why.

What crosses the line is Mr. Lauricella’s accusing our public school teachers of “child abuse” for teaching science. He echoed Donald Trump Jr. who recently referred to teachers as “losers.” Mr. Lauricella, I worked for several years with and for the Orleans County agency in charge of investigating allegations of child abuse and working to keeping children safe. I actually had to remove children from their homes in the middle of the night when it was clear they were in imminent danger of serious harm. It was a job I took very seriously.

I object to your politicizing and trivializing the term “child abuse” to mean teachers explaining to children scientific facts you may not understand. Make no mistake, global warming and the pollution of our air and water by unregulated industries will result in serious child abuse for generations to come.

Perhaps Mr. Lauricella should run for a seat on the Board of Education if he feels so strongly about the curriculum that schools teach. In the meantime, he and Donald Trump Jr’s inflammatory rhetoric has no place in the civility we are hoping to achieve in this county.

And finally, science doesn’t care what any of us believe. Accurate scientific consensus gives our energy policy meaningful direction, for an efficient use of our resources and a result that is beneficial to humans and nature. Even if they are wrong, or we can stop this thing, please tell me the harm of cleaner air, cleaner water and less dependence on fossil fuel.

Mr. Lauricella claims that alternative energy won’t satisfy our energy needs. He couldn’t be more wrong. A recent study by Stanford University researchers predicted that the world could be powered entirely by renewable energy in just 20 to 40 years from now. And given that we already have the technology, it’s not that hard to imagine. What good is a lot of corporate money when we can’t breathe the air or drink the water?

Al Capurso