FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 12/10
BP Funds Climate Ed
Evening with Evo
Jailed for Activism
Tea Party Threat
Resistance in Oaxaca
Faces of ELAM
Labor's Civil War
Zaps - 11/10
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
BP Funds Climate Change Education
By virtue of its catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil company BP has become a regular visitor to America's televisions, newspapers, magazines, and computers. We've met its spokespeople, its officials, its CEOs. We've been told about the company's clean-up efforts and how it would make good on its financial obligations to everyone harmed by the disaster. We've been subjected to altered photos on the company's website. We've been apologized to and continuously misinformed about how much oil was gushing into the Gulf.
Now, thanks to the folks at the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, we are learning even more about BP. The global oil, gas, and chemical company is playing a significant role in what is being taught about climate change in the public schools of America.
Apparently, BP has close links to the Alliance for Climate Education, Inc. (ACE), an Oakland, California-based group that is the "nation's largest provider of climate change education in public schools." According to a PR Watch report, ACE "offers high schools free multimedia assemblies on climate change that utilize 'cutting-edge animation, music and video'." PR Watch notes that ACE's featured web content on the oil spill "does not even mention 'BP'," although it conceded the unimpeachable fact that the spill was a "disaster." Carefully-chosen images include a swimming dolphin, a rescued pelican, a clean-up worker, and a photo of the effort to extinguish the Deepwater Horizon rig fire.
According to the PR Watch report, ACE came up with some suggestions for activities that "young people can engage in to address their feelings of helplessness about the spill," including that they "get a hair cut" and donate it "to a group that makes hair-filled booms to soak up oil." (The government's Deepwater Horizon Response office rejected the use of hair-filled booms in the Gulf months ago.)
Another ACE suggestion? "Find a beach and participate in Hands Across the Sand—a big demonstration in favor of protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife and fishing industries." Other ideas include, "Write a letter to Congress and ask them to fully-fund larger coastal restoration projects" and "share info online."
ACE's website is "also sprinkled with corporate names, logos, and subtle, green-themed cross-promotions." The PR report maintains that, "ACE recommends a climate change curriculum, for example, called 'Facing the Future' funded by Hewlett-Packard. Most people know about HP due to their ink-eating printers, but HP is also in the oil and gas business…[and] has worked closely with BP and other companies in oil exploration." There are also "logos from soft drink and snack food companies that are eager to ensure their brands have maximum exposure to teens." At its website, ACE points out that it is "in the running" for a $250,000 grant from the "Pepsi Refresh Project–Do Good For The Gulf," which is part of the soft drink giant's $1.3 million giveaway to communities impacted by the oil spill. Another page urges kids to participate in environmentally-themed bicycle ride promotions for Clif Bars.
ACE claims to have "reached 421,571 students at 891 schools," and "set up ten offices throughout the country in Oakland, New York, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, New England, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, and Austin." It has "a marketing expert (Matt Stewart) and a national campaigns manager (Michael LaFemina)," and last year (its first year of existence) it "awarded $130,000 to students in the form of grants and scholarships."
ACE had a presence "at ESPN's Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado (a commercial event), the Earth Day Celebration on the national Mall in Washington, DC (whose sponsors included Disney, T-Mobile, and FedEx), and at the Governor's Conference on Climate Change. The organization also has a retrofitted school bus complete with corporate logos that it has funded for a 'BioBus' concert tour, stopping in places like skate parks, beaches, and summer camps…. Thus, in a remarkably short time, ACE has managed to turn itself into one of the most powerful, well-funded organizations teaching high-school students about climate change in America today."
ACE's start-up funding of $2.6 million came from Michael Haas, the group's founder, who made his career in wind power, most notably from Orion Energy. "In 2006," the report points out, "Haas sold Orion to BP Alternative Energy for an undisclosed sum. The price has not been publicly disclosed, but what is known is that BP acquired two companies in 2006, Orion Energy, LLC, and Greenlight Energy, Inc., paying a combined total of $688 million for both. As part of that deal, Haas continues to serve as President of Orion Energy, which is now a subsidiary of BP."
Haas is chair of ACE's Board of Directors, which has two other members: Haas's father, Robert Haas, and Jim Elsen, who is also Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for BP Alternative Energy. Anne Landman and Ross Wolfarth, authors of the PR Watch report, point out that, "The lack of transparency about ACE's ties to BP and its remarkably well-funded nationwide reach into public schools is raising eyebrows among climate change educators."
In late June, ACE's executive director, Pic Walker, wrote a "Year in Review" column, which pointed out that "ACE had a terrific first year." In his "FinalNote," however, Walker wrote that "ACE had been fortunate to expand our base of support this year through generous grants from a variety of individuals, foundations, and government agencies and will continue to do so in the year to come. We recently heard from partners who received false information claiming ACE is intimately tied to BP, in that all our funding and organizational oversight comes from BP. I want to clarify that ACE has no connections financially or otherwise with BP. We are an independent 501c3 with a diversity of funders and will always develop our programs and manage the organization free from influence from outside organizations or companies."
The authors of the report note that Walker's "denial appears to be very carefully framed.... By defining the claim as 'all' funding 'and' oversight come from BP, ACE can easily state that the purported claim is untrue. This leaves room for much funding and oversight from the two men who spend some of their work week in the BP executive quarters upstairs. At the same time, Walker states that ACE has 'no connections financially or otherwise with BP,' which means the corporation does not directly give money to ACE. BP, however, does not appear to mind having the president of its subsidiary spend 25 hours a week helping ACE while paying him an undisclosed sum."
Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering conservative movements.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.