Last fall I alerted Spectator readers to the start-up nonprofit Alliance for Climate Education, which spreads the global warming alarmism gospel to students one school assembly at a time.
It turns out that the slick ACE lecturers are more than just preachers; they are recruiters too. After they dazzle teens with hip talk, animation and jokes, they work to sign them up for their anti-consumption (Americans are to blame) cause, often collecting cell phone numbers and email addresses without parents' knowledge.
Earlier this month ACE visited Northampton (Mass.) High School, where a teacher persuaded colleagues to let students skip final period classes in order to attend their assembly. One student reported on the presentation by ACE's Julian Rodriguez-Drix:
He dealt with issues of climate change in a positive and non-judgmental way by raising students' awareness of the problem at hand and the methods by which they are actively polluting and contributing to global warming. The presentation explained how climate change has been caused and continued by social influence and our culture of consumption. Students learned how their seemingly minimal consumption is connected to huge companies, large usage of fossil fuels, and incredible amounts of waste. Julian clearly summarized his message in his statement, "We're all wrapped up in [an] economic cycle that just leads to garbage." He also discussed "super-sized" American living, excessive use of non-renewable resources, and the results of pollution in an urgent, but humorous, manner.
It all makes for one entertaining guilt trip -- for students to lay on others. The Left is so clever in not offending their recruits: "It's not your ‘minimal consumption' that's causing the problem -- it's those large corporations and fat Americans that are the problem!" And then they continue living their own privileged lives.
Of course, they pretend otherwise. ACE trainers like Rodriguez-Drix belch greenhouse gases driving across several state lines to give their talks, when a simple Webcast would deliver the message and serve as a good example of energy efficiency. But when asked how he would "Do One Thing" (an ACE campaign) to fight climate change, he came up with the innovative idea to turn off his lights (video). Wish I'd thought of that one.
Then came the recruitment at Northampton High:
Afterward, Julian roused the audience and urged them to take a stand. He ended the assembly by encouraging students to text ACE to make their own commitment to change, creating both an energetic frenzy to pull out cell phones and an overwhelming explosion of chatter in response to his presentation.
Both high schoolers and sixth graders exited the auditorium full of hope and anticipation to act against climate change. Many high school students attended the question and answer session with Julian Rodriguez-Drix and the Environmental Club, while others provided their email addresses to be contacted with additional information about ACE.
Once in the fold, students are then trained (video) as leaders for ACE. The science they espouse is drawn from the discredited (thanks to Climategate and its children) Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Climate Change (IPCC). Works on behalf of ACE include signature collection for their "Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels" (to be delivered to Congress and President Obama); learning how to "transform your school;" and "starting an action team."
How'd you like this guerrilla army (video) of eco-Nazis patrolling your schools, your neighborhood, or even your home? A few parents have contacted me after their children were subjected to this indoctrination effort by ACE, including a father in Connecticut who summarized it well:
So, what's wrong with this? At one level, it is frustrating to see instruction time spent this way. With constrained budgets, available instruction time could be better spent. Our school's curriculum barely made time in the first eight years of instruction to educate our children on the history of the United States and its unique form of government, grounded in the principle of limiting centralized power.
At another level, one wonders what the policy is to allow outside groups to come to the school and actively enjoin students to take political action. Can I invite the NRA to a mandatory assembly urging political action in support of the Second Amendment? That would at least have the advantage of actually being in support of our rights as U.S. citizens as enumerated in the Constitution.
The chosen venue of a mandatory school assembly grants it an imprimatur, the legitimacy of authority, under the banner of education. This is at best a thin veneer of "science" over top of a thick wedge of political advocacy, presented as one-sided propaganda. This isn't education so much as it's a political pep rally.</blockquote>
In less than two years, ACE has aggressively built a nationwide organization to capture the next generation to promote global warming alarmism. Wind energy entrepreneur Michael Haas reportedly launched ACE with his own seed money (looks like it was more than $2 million, according to tax returns on Guidestar), and also added a family member and a business associate at BP Alternative Energy (which he does not disclose) to its board. The organization now has nine teams in major cities across the country, covering every region.
Polls may show that most Americans today are skeptical about the dangers of global warming, and it's taken its hits due to Climategate. But Haas and friends are doing their best to protect their vested interests, to make sure this movement has a better future.