Source: Regina climate strike. Jeremy Davis/Flickr
Just when you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to the disinformation and outright deception coming from the oil sector propaganda machine, a recent report shows the depth of deception—a new low—that the industry can sink to in its relentless campaign of obstructionism to stall action on climate change. The report was written by Emily Eaton, a professor at the University of Regina and Nick Day, a classroom teacher in Regina.
Oil Sector Invades the Classroom
“Public education in Saskatchewan has become a key tool in securing the “hegemony” of the oil and gas industry and “obstructing” the transition to a low-carbon economy,” writes Fatima Syed in the National Observer.
For Saskatchewan’s oil and gas industry, the next stop is schools. — National Observer
In its analysis of the Eaton & Day report, National Observer highlights a disturbing pattern of infiltration by Big Oil in Saskatchewan’s public school system. The public education system:
- restricts “the imagination of possible climate solutions to individual acts of conservation that fail to challenge the structural growth of fossil fuel production and consumption;”
- accepts that “the influence of oil and gas has instilled in Saskatchewan’s education system a troubling worldview that doesn’t acknowledge the urgency of the climate emergency;” and,
- supports “how teaching practices and resources work to centre, legitimize, and entrench a set of beliefs relating to climate change, energy, and environmentalism that align with the interests and discourses of oil industry actors.”
Institutionalization of climate denialism
“They’re really obstructing the kind of scale of actions that we would need in order to confront the climate crisis that we’re in right now.”
When interviewed by National Observer, Eaton noted that “Gone are the days when fossil fuel companies have had the strategy of outright climate change denialism…They’re taking a more subtle approach now. And that includes, for example, insisting that any teaching about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions or energy resources must also include the perspective of industry… They also make the claim to students that modern life isn’t possible without oil.”
The report also looked at oil industry funded non-profits engaged in promoting the interests and perspectives as “legitimate and necessary to learning about environmental issues.” Some organizations deliver educational resources and provide teacher professional development directly in the classroom. With a firm grip on both content and development, the oil sector has institutionalized climate denialism. MORE