NASA, the government agency that put a man on the moon and sent robots to Mars, is turning its focus around and working on spreading information among the public about the earth's apparent impending doom. A new agency website dubbed "Climate Kids" has "NASA's eyes on the earth."
Additionally, the website tells kids that dinosaurs are in their gas tanks and that polar bears are dying as a result. ClimateQuotes.com reports:
These are obviously two very contentious points with only one side presented. First, they claim that:The planet is warming up fast--faster than at any time scientists know about from their studies of Earth's entire history.
This is flatly untrue. Remember this graphic from the BBC Phil Jones interview?
The trend of recent warming is practically identical to two previous trends. Their second claim, "Humans are causing this warming" is made without bothering to allude to any uncertainty. Even the IPCC only gives a 90% and says 'very likely'. Saying "It is very likely that humans are causing this warming" at least lets the little tykes know it isn't an absolute scientific fact (because it isn't).
The site also tackles issues like the greenhouse effect, effects on wildlife (like the polar bear), ocean acidification, and offers kids advice to answer the question, "What can we do to help?"
NASA recommends kid plant trees to help save the planet and shows a picture of First Lady Michelle Obama doing her part.
The site also encourages kids to get their parents to buy new CFL light bulbs and purchase reusable grocery bags to cut down on waste. (The picture of the suggested reusable bag is quite telling, no?)
But if kids want to make a real difference, NASA recommends they grow up to work in a "green career."
You can help to solve climate change problems and challenges. These are the exciting careers of the future. They range from designing satellites for NASA to fixing wind-energy generators to planning drought-tolerant landscapes for homes and parks. Many of the possible careers haven't even been thought of yet. You could invent your own career!
The "Climate Kids" website also has a designated section for educators where NASA offers "climate-related activities for the classroom" and "resources on climate change" from the U.S. Department of Education.
ClimateQuotes asks the obvious question: "Why do we need federal agencies to create programs which educate children about climate change?"
Even if we ignore that question and accept the role of federal agencies as educators, we still are left with a completely one-sided presentation. There is no mention in the NASA site of uncertainties. There is practically no timescale presented to give context. The site urges children to pick certain 'green' careers over others. The positives of renewable energy are praised, with no mention of the drawbacks. Whether or not you believe this site should even exist (with taxpayer funding), certainly we can all agree the issues presented need to be balanced. There is no balance on the NASA Climate Kids website. I'd wager that if all references to NASA were removed, the site would be indistinguishable from an environmentalist site.
Good use of taxpayer dollars? You decide.
On a related note, using kids to spread talking points on climate change and a new "green"-driven economy is not new. 1Sky Campaign, an organization supported by a number environmentalist "allies" such as former President Bill Clinton and former White House green jobs czar Van Jones, has also used children to highlight its own political message:
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