On Monday, the industry-funded Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal podcast featured Greg Wrightstone of the industry-funded CO2 Coalition, where he mostly complained about being banned from LinkedIn (lol) because of his climate denial.
But one little nugget late in the interview stood out (thankfully they provide a transcript), when Wrightstone describes new work they’re doing. They’ve apparently “brought in educational experts,” and are “writing lesson plans.” Not for public schools, because they “recognize that it’s just not going to happen” and instead what they’re “doing is targeting the homeschooling crowd” by launching new “Kids Corner” videos on their website and “working through a series of children’s books” in conjunction with with “a group out of Brazil” that’s “called the Intellectos.”
The fact that some deniers have essentially given up on public schools after years of attempts to integrate their brand of climate disinformation into curriculums is encouraging. For more on how the industry has infiltrated schools in the US, check out the ABCs of Big Oil, a new podcast from Earther and Amy Westervelt.
It’s hardly just an American phenomenon, though, and fortunately someone in Australia is sounding the alarm about “propaganda intruding on real education and rational thinking.” Unfortunately, that person is Gina Rinehart, Sydney University dropout and richest person in Australia, thanks to the iron mining company she inherited from her father.
In a message celebrating the 125th anniversary of her grade-school alma mater, St. Hilda’s Angilcan School for Girls, Rinehart warned the students to “please be very careful about information spread on emotional basis, or tied to money, or egos, or power-seekers.”
Yes, the richest person in Australia warned the students at a school whose science building is named for the Rinehart family because of their donations, to be careful about the corrupting influence of money on facts.
Rinehart then went on a 10-minute tirade that demonstrated exactly the type of emotional, money-tied propaganda the students should be skeptical of: for example, that it’s the sun and volcanoes that are really causing climate change. Climate Analytics’ head Bill Hare said Rinehart was “shockingly wrong on every single issue she mentions.”
To their credit, the school only showed the first part of Rinehart’s video, that focused on her experiences there, and not the 10 or so minutes of what climate scientist Will Steffen called “clear misinformation” from someone who “doesn’t have any standing whatsoever in the scientific community.”
Good on St. Hilda’s for standing up to someone who’s a big enough donor that their science building bears her name.
But then again, maybe the school should incorporate the full clip into the curriculum, as it offers a prime example of the sort of “propaganda intruding on real education and rational thinking” that the students will be exposed to by Rinehart, and the professional disinformers her vast fortune has bought.