Lately, however, California's environmental leadership status has been seriously challenged. First, there was the introduction of Prop 23, a ballot measure that, if passed, would suspend AB 32, California's landmark climate change legislation. Then today came this news (from the Sacramento Bee):
Yeah. That happened. The oil company with one of the worst environmental records in history is partially responsible for teaching our nation's youth about such weighty topics as energy conservation, pollution prevention, toxic and hazardous waste management.
BP, the energy giant responsible for the largest offshore oil spill in history, helped develop the state's framework for teaching more than 6 million students about the environment.
Despite a mixed environmental record even before the Gulf of Mexico disaster, state officials included BP on the technical team for its soon-to-be-completed environmental education curriculum, which will be used in kindergarten through 12th-grade classes in more than 1,000 school districts statewide.
In fact, according to another member of the technical working group on which BP sat, the team was responsible for developing the program's guiding principles. BP helped articulate the philosophy behind California's efforts to develop a statewide curriculum for environmental education, the first by any state.
Though this initiative was launched in 2003 - before BP proved their utter ineptitude and lack of integrity with the debacle in the Gulf - BP had been subject to a number of federal criminal investigations and paid substantial fines for environmental abuses for many years before.
Right now, the U.S. finds itself fighting for its future, facing questions that cut to its very core. How do we protect ourselves from looming ecological threats? How do we maintain a stable environment to ensure our continued proliferation? How do we properly educate our youth and develop a capable, competitive workforce for years to come?
We cannot help but be troubled by this. BP's primary goal is to profit from energy; not to teach children about the environment.