In the midst of the daily news cycle, it’s easy to miss some impulsive policy decisions made by the Trump administration. Here’s a kid-related one that may have zipped by your radar.
The EPA, under the Obama administration, created a website, A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change, for kids about climate change. It provided clear, straightforward sections such as: learn the basics, see the impacts, think like a scientist, and be part of the solution. The website also shared informative videos and a ways students could calculate their personal emissions. It even included a web expedition to explore geography that students could participate in and discover the impacts of climate change.
The website shared important resources for educators to use in the classroom. It had cited several examples of innovative technologies featured in the news media too.
The site stated:
“In developing this website, A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change, EPA tried to use the most accurate, up–to–date information available. The facts and figures that appear throughout this website come from high–quality publications such as peer–reviewed scientific journals, international scientific assessments, and government research reports.”
Harmless and non-partisan, right?
Not so, in this current political climate, where fake news ran amok during the presidential election, and where fake climate science is now sent to every science classroom in America. With a climate denier in charge of the EPA, scientific facts are political footballs.
According to a report by Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, the EPA kids site has been buried and is now nearly impossible to find. You can see a web copy from the Wayback Machine website here.
Why was it buried? According to the Washington Post it reflects the Trump administration’s “priorities.” Climate Central reports that in place of the site for students is…” page explaining that they’re being updated to “reflect EPA’s priorities” under President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and that users can check out a snapshot of the entire EPA site from the day before Trump took office.”
But this abbreviated site is very hard to find, and does not have all the features of the original site.
Finding high quality educational resources to use with students can be a challenge. Which is why teachers searched the EPA site for classroom use. According to @rogueEPAstaff Twitter feed, teachers are unable to access the web materials they previously used in their classes.
The removal, or burial, of the EPA’s fact-based climate change site is eerily reminiscent of pulling books from the shelves of a library in an attempt to re-write history.
This leaves us with frightening answers to these questions: What does pulling free access to scientific information mean for the future of the EPA? What does it mean for education? And most importantly, what does this mean for our children?