Saturday, November 17, 2007
Big Business as Warm Fuzzy Environmentalists?
Recently I was browsing the children's section at our local corporate megabookstore, and picked up a book that had an disturbingly intriguing title: "The Sky is Not Falling: Why it's OK to Chill About Global Warming."

The book appeared to be an apologia for pollution and greenhouse gases--telling kids it's better to drive than to ride a bike, and that those who say we need to be concerned about the environment or about global warming are just trying to scare you. It suggests that kids should become "enviropreneurs" and learn to rip off the environment for their economic gain.

When I looked up the book, I found it's published by a company that calls itself a "leading" conservative publishing company. Reading their titles for children is either amusing ("Help Mom, There are Liberals Under my Bed!") or darkly hypocritical--the blub for "The Sky's Not Falling" asks "tired of your kids being dictated to by has-been politicians and pop singers?" and suggests that the book is a balanced corrective to the fear-mongering of "An Inconvenient Truth" while it clearly pushes a pro-big business agenda, paid for by Exxon et al.

The author, Holly Fretwell, is presented as a scientist who is a "research associate" for an organization called "PERC" -- the "Property and Environmental Research Center" as well as an "adjunct professor" of economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. A look at her cv suggests perhaps her research is funded by timber companies.

In any case, PERC is dedicated to the idea that private property ownership is the key to environmental stewardship (THERE's a thought--why haven't we tried that one yet?). They formerly called themselves The Political Economy Research Center. While their promos try to make them appear as if they are concerned about the environment, they cozy up to the petroleum industry, which gives them huge infusions of cash.

I'm afraid that Hillary was right--there IS a vast right-wing conspiracy. And their mind-fucking materials are available in a children's book department at a corporate bookstore near you.

Oh, goodness!

I was ready for you to tell me that it was all a joke like the Landover Baptist Church site (albeit a joke gone wrong since children are unlikely to see the difference).

It's scary that these people are serious, and I can't help but wonder what the hell they're thinking.
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