Scott on climate change education

Eugenie C. ScottEugenie C. Scott

Visiting the University of Minnesota on August 6, 2012, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott spoke on "Climate change: Why the resistance?"

In advance of her talk, she was interviewed by MinnPost (August 2, 2012) about the state of climate change education. While evolution and climate change denial are both ideologically driven, the ideologies differ: "There are people who believe that evolution is incompatible with their religious beliefs, so they reject it. ... When it comes to global warming and climate change, the ideologies that drive the denial of this science are really political and economical." As a result, the constitutional prohibitions on teaching creationism in the classroom are not directly applicable to teaching climate change denial in the classroom. Scott explained, "it's not so much a legal issue as it is a matter of professional competence and professional responsibility."

Yet as with evolution, teachers are often pressured to compromise the integrity of their science education: "We're getting lots of anecdotes from teachers about pressure against teaching climate change," Scott reported, adding, "and we really want to be there to support them and to encourage them to do the professionally and educationally responsible thing and to help generate support in communities for the teaching of good science." Asked to turn her gaze south to Texas, where decisions about science education affect the nation, Scott observed that the state science standards have improved with regard to both evolution and climate science, but it remains to be seen how those subjects will fare in the next round of textbook adoptions.

While in Minnesota, Scott also discussed NCSE's climate change education initiative with Minnesota Public Radio's The Daily Circuit (August 7, 2012), and audio is available on-line.