Canadian Geographic accused of spreading oil and gas ‘propaganda’ in schools by MetroNews, November 12, 2013
Hundreds of Vancouver students, parents and teachers have signed an angry open letter to Canadian Geographic complaining that the magazine has been sending a giant energy industry-sponsored educational map and materials to local schools. So far nine Vancouver schools have requested a copy of the “Canada’s Energy Mix” vinyl floor map and related trunk of materials, which encourage students to engage in exercises such as mapping out pipeline routes. The “Energy IQ” program was paid for by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Canada’s most influential oil and gas lobby, and produced by teachers working for Canadian Geographic’s educational branch. “The Energy IQ program is of serious concern to us as current high school students,” reads the letter, written by two Windermere Secondary School students and signed by more than 500 people, “specifically because of its inherent corporate bias and the ideals it will promote. “Schools are public places, and therefore should be free of advertisements or promotions of companies, interest groups, and other for-profit institutions. Propaganda has no place in our schools.”
Source: We are powershift.ca
One photo on Canadian Geographic’s Facebook page shows the map being used by a Grade 3 class at an elementary school in Kitimat: the terminus point of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Canadian Geographic content creation vice president Gilles Gagnier said the Energy IQ program focuses only on the facts, not opinions, about Canada’s energy resources. “CAPP is funding the project, but Canadian Geographic has 100 per cent editorial control over all content and would never do a program of any kind with anyone where we didn’t,” he said. A secondary school district principal told Metro it is fairly common for sponsored materials to be used in high schools to start valuable discussions that get students thinking critically about their sources of information. But David Livingstone Elementary principal Bridgete Browning said it is far less common for sponsored materials to make it into elementary classrooms, and if they do they are heavily vetted by resource librarians. She suggested Grade 3 is “a bit young” for teachers to be using such materials, and trying to explain to students the nuances of perspective. If you could present both sides, maybe,” she said. “… But I would say Grade 6 (would be the appropriate point) to be able to critically discuss and look at perspective…. Little ones tend to be much more linear in their thinking.” Gagnier said he could not name the nine Vancouver schools that have requested the map in time for Metro’s deadline, nor how many, if any, were elementary schools. [Emphasis added]
Richest countries spent $74 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2011, eclipsing climate finance by seven times Governments have long argued that energy subsidies—including the bulk of those which are aimed at fossil fuels—are meant to keep costs down for consumers and especially help the poor. The debate over poverty and fossil fuel subsidies is especially important in developing countries. However, research shows that little of the subsidies actually assist the poorest. According to the International Monetary Foundation (IMF) only 7 percent of subsidies in the world’s developing countries actually goes to the bottom 20 percent in income.