Dystopia has arrived early! For many years I've worried that, one day, Pepsi will commission "scientific studies" telling us that sugar intake has nothing to do with diabetes, and that they'll be able to teach that in public schools by giving said schools enough money. But here's something even worse: Scholastic InSchool Marketing lets corporations design curricula so kids can "learn" about their products in school. Coal companies, for example, design a "curriculum" for kids about coal without telling them anything about, you know, pollution. This kind of crap reaches over 60,000 classrooms, so says Scholastic. And the punchline? Scholastic gets paid for it, and schools pay Scholastic, so schools don't even save money! Public interest groups are already fighting this madness, to the point where Scholastic has agreed to stop selling the "United States of Energy" program promoting coal, but we need to shame Scholastic more. So change.org helps you tell Scholastic to end their corporate propaganda program. Scholastic has a rep, you know -- I can't tell you how many books I got from them when I was a youngster -- and it's a rep they'd probably like to keep.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Club helps you tell President Obama to jack up fuel efficiency and emissions standards. Perhaps you're saying to yourself, self, didn't we just raise fuel efficiency and emissions standards? Yes, we did, under the authority of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. But this law requires our government to phase in standards over time, and the EPA and the National Transportation Health and Safety Administration (NHTSA) are already discussing what standards they'll begin implementing six years from now. The Sierra Club helps you advocate for cars that a) average 60 mpg by 2025 and b) cut climate change-related pollution by 6% per year. Given that a) we already have cars that get 60 mpg and b) electric cars have advanced considerably in recent years, I don't think either one of these goals is outlandish. Car manufacturers will tell you differently, but they know better, too. And if you know better, you ought to do better.
Finally, if you're in the Philadelphia area, the EPA will hold a hearing on their proposed mercury/arsenic air pollution rules this coming Tuesday, May 24th, at the Westin Hotel on 99 S. 17th St., from 9 am to 8 pm. (No, you don't have to be there the whole day; you can attend at any time.) You may RSVP with either CREDO or Penn Environment; both organizations will help educate you further on the issue at hand. Also, you may want to refer to the first paragraph of this post, as well as the fourth paragraph of this one. Try to make this if you can, even if it's only for a short time -- after all, the coal industry will be putting as many of their flacks in the room as they can.