The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) just launched a new program called Energy IQ, aiming to take materials funded by Canada's largest oil and gas lobby group into classrooms across Canada. CAPP is one of the most fervent voices in favour of tar sands and fracking expansion, a powerful lobby group that has been linked to the gutting of Canada's environmental regulations, worked with the government on expensive pro-tar sands lobbying and more. Find our more about CAPP and Energy IQ here.
Classrooms are for students, not big oil's spin machine. Add your name to support the open letter to CAPP and Canadian Geographic below.
To the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Canadian Geographic,
We are a group of Canadian high school students writing this letter to formally express our concerns regarding the Energy IQ Program that was launched in schools this October.
The Energy IQ program is of serious concern to us as current high school students, 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. The content of your program appears to be highly focused on the oil and gas industry, yet it is presented as something that deals with all possible types of energy. When your definition of the tar sands is the verbatim definition used by Oil Sands Today, the message that sends is that you’re there in their interest, rather than in the interest of our future. We have our doubts that any program funded by CAPP would focus on types of energy other than oil and gas: this concerns us.
With the incredible ease that young people have in terms of accessing large amounts of knowledge and information very quickly, we are hopeful that most young people are - if not completely aware of the specifics of the issue - aware of the implications of fossil fuel exploitation. Huge amounts of verified, peer-reviewed scientific data are out there to show that, without a doubt, we should have started reducing our carbon footprint a long time ago. There are very few actively publishing and reputable scientists who believe otherwise, and those who present themselves as skeptics of climate change are usually affiliated with the oil and gas industry in some way. CAPP had a significant role in influencing the Harper government to drop out of the Kyoto Protocol, claiming that people are unwilling to pay carbon taxes. Canada is currently one of the least progressive countries in terms of our resource extractions and our emission reductions, and failing to meet the terms of the Kyoto Protocol by a long shot was yet another major step in the wrong direction. As young people who are taking the issue of global warming and Canada’s position on the issue very seriously, this is incredibly disappointing.
We are aware that CAPP has a history of very questionable, if not outright discountable, ethics. We know that the biggest names in the oil and gas industry today are associated with the exploitation and abuse of Indigenous peoples and their ancestral territories. Families are being pushed out of their homes. Toxic water, air, and soil are all contributing to a huge increase of cancer rates in these regions; we know that lung cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan are double the expected number, and several other cancers are present as well. Traditional resources such as berries and fish are suddenly disappearing. A program in public schools that is funded by multiple corporations who are willing to turn a blind eye to these tragic injustices for profit is completely unacceptable.
We demand that our education system continues to maintain a progressive perspective when discussing energy-related issues. As such, we, the undersigned, ask that the Energy IQ Program is not used at our school.
Sydney Emo & Sophie Yamauchi,
Windermere Secondary School.
(Add Your Name Below)
According the Press Progress:
“CAPP is funding “Energy IQ” teaching materials that are currently being distributed to schools across the country by Canadian Geographic magazine. The materials includes a giant floor-sized map to map out pipeline routes. Absent from the map are the locations of the safety incidents involving pipelines, even though they’ve doubled over the past decade."
To be honest; my problem is not necessarily that kids are exposed to a sales pitch by a corporation. After all, if we lived in a country where education was prioritized and critical thinking was encouraged, we should expect students to be informed enough to see a slant for what it is.
My problem is that we have a provincial government that the B.C. Supreme court recently accused of forcing the BC Teacher’s Union into a strike…. and we have a federal government that makes no apologies for spending $24 million dollars on a Tar Sands advertising blitz.
…$24 Million taxpayer dollars.
With a government that puts a premium on profit, the prospect of students having an evidence-based education that will counter misleading propaganda goes out the window.
We need our kids to be smart enough to prosper in the 21st century.
But we are sacrificing their education in order to turn our country into a hawker of fossil fuels.
Kids deserve better than this.
Sydney Emo & Sophie Yamauchi have done an excellent job in writing their petition and deserve our full support.