Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

How Higher Education Incubated the Eco-Socialism of the Green New Deal

Rachelle Peterson

Sustainability is an ideology in which protecting the environment also concerns protecting society from dangers of any kind. But at what cost?

Divesting Freedom: The Fossil Fuel Divestment’s Campaign Against Civic Debate

Rachelle Peterson

NAS Policy Director Rachelle Peterson spoke in New Orleans, LA on the future of divestment.

Extinct Experiments

Peter Wood

NAS celebrates a victory as the Divestment Student Network closes. 

The Environmentalists Versus Trump

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle Peterson discusses Trump's possible environmental policies and what where the college environmentalist movement goes next.

Are Colleges Wasting Endowment Funds on Virtue-Signaling?

Rachelle Peterson

Political posturing is inappropriate to institutions of higher education.

This Changes Everything?

Rachelle Peterson

Naomi Klein's new movie admits conservative critics of the environmental left were right. 

Peter Wood and Rachelle Peterson Interviewed on Leaders with Ginni Thomas

NAS

Virginia Thomas takes viewers inside the NAS report, Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism. 

Will Pope Francis Privilege the Privileged?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood warns that the Pope's expected encyclical could perpetuate climate conformity that would hurt the poorest nations.

Prince Ea Is Sorry. Me Too.

Rachelle Peterson

Prince Ea's "Dear Future Generations" video is moving, but it neglects some important facts.

President Obama, Not Green Enough for the Hardcore Greens

Rachelle Peterson

It doesn't take much to be accused of being a climate change "denier." You don't even have to deny climate change.

Environmentalists vs. Babies

NAS

Ashley Thorne wrote for World Magazine on environmentalism's anti-reproductive attitude.

Scared Green: Sustainability Lies We Tell Our Children

Peter Wood

Environmental messaging targeting children sets the stage for the ubiquity of "sustainability" ideology in colleges and universities. 

Eco-Marxism: Deception 2.0

Peter Wood

Sustainability provides colleges an all-encompassing worldview. 

Earth Day, 2015

Peter Wood

The earth is in better shape than it has been for many years. Let's celebrate the human innovation that made this possible. 

Call Your Broker, Save the Planet

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle Peterson writes for National Review Online on why climate activists' latest cause has them sounding like stock market analysts. 

Don't Underestimate the Eco-Worriers

Rachelle Peterson

Climate activists have become experts at selling their secular salvation myth to millions of young people.

Environmental Colonialism

Rachelle Peterson

A team of youth is calling for a return to the "eco-friendly" Aztec tradition.

Integrity and Objectivity: The Shaken Pillars of Environmental Science

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle DeJong writes on the compromised peer review process used by the EPA.

Eh? The Rise of the Environmental Humanities Movement

Peter Wood

Environmental Humanities, a new academic sub-division of the sustainability movement, encourages scholars in all disciplines to fight climate change.

Short-Circuiting Peer Review in Climate Science

Peter Wood

The integrity of science depends on rigorous and transparent peer review—both of which may be compromised in climate change research. 

Food Justice Programs Popping Up Like Mushrooms

Marilee Turscak

Over the past two decades, food-related courses and food justice programs have become a hot trend in academia.

Godzilla vs. Godot

Peter Wood

Godzilla and Godot have more in common than a first syllable. They are the two opposing faces of despair: a god that is pure wrath and a god that never shows up.

Happy Earth Day

Rachelle Peterson

How many institutions of higher education are celebrating Earth Day?

DeJong in Commentary Mag on Campus Sustainability Nudging

NAS

NAS research associate Rachelle DeJong has published an article in Commentary Magazine on the behavioral modification inherent in the campus sustainability movement. 

Top Five Environmental Themes in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah

Rachelle Peterson

The recent movie reimagines Noah as a prophet of environmental sustainability. 

Divestment’s Gettysburg?

Rachelle Peterson

The divestment movement suffers a devastating defeat at Hamilton College.

The New School’s New Wail: A Visit to Campus Sustainability Day

Peter Wood

At a sustainability festival at The New School, students complacently accepted pseudo-scientific claims and the nationwide campaign to divest holdings from oil companies. 

Barry Commoner, Connected

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on the career of a Founding Father of the sustainability movement.

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 6th Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 6th edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

Green Acres

Peter Wood

Colleges and universities tend to spend lavishly on diversity and sustainability initiatives, but is this really the best use of their (and taxpayers') money?

Take Back Sustainability

Antonio R. Chaves

Sustainability is too important for us to let it be undermined by politics and polarization, writes Antonio Chaves, who teaches environmental science.

Ruminations at the end of the semester

Daniel Asia

I have recently returned from a trip abroad.  In receiving my peanuts, pretzels and drink during the flight, I also received two napkins.

Rick Santorum Is Right

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s controversial remarks about higher education.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Nature

William H. Young

In the second of four articles on the goals of the sustainability movement, William Young examines its impulse to return to a pre-rational, mystical experience of Nature.

Earth Day Thoughts on Campus Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Cross posted from Phi Beta Cons

The National Association of Scholars has issued an official statement critiquing the campus “sustainability” movement and suggesting paths to improvement.

Video: Terry Anderson on Sustainability and Free Market Environmentalism

A professor emeritus of economics makes a case for markets as the true path to future generations' prosperity.

Are Organic and Green Products a Scam?

Alex B. Berezow

More and more scientific research is showing that organic and green products don't live up to expectations--or even to the label, for that matter.

For Goodness Sake: Sustainability Ponders Ethics

Ashley Thorne

“Being sustainable has become more-or-less synonymous with being good,” two professors write. But even sustainability can be either virtuous or vulgar, depending on your motive.

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 4th Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 4th edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

Dust Bowl Dust-Off

Ashley Thorne

Do errors and bias distort the findings in a key environmental history book? An expert investigates.

Sustainability News 5-17-10

Ashley Thorne

This week’s news includes a debate at small college over whether to sign the ACUPCC, a free sustainability issue of NAS’s journal Academic Questions, student eco-reps who work to change their peers’ behavior, and a sustainability graduation pledge.

Radio Segment on 'Indoctrinate Our Kids and Green My Parents'

Ashley Thorne

A discussion on the consequences of urging children to monitor their parents' energy and water use in the home.

Indoctrinate Our Kids and Green My Parents

Ashley Thorne

Today kids are taught to be eco-warriors...and re-educate their parents.

Earth Day and Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

This week's stories include Green My Parents, Earth Day's observance by college students, sustainability college rankings, and how to help your pets do their part for the environment.

Ark of Hope for the Earth Charter...No Comment

Ashley Thorne

The UN sustainability manifesto endorsed by many U.S. colleges and universities has its own 200-pound "ark" for transportation.

Going Green is Part of Social Integrity? No Comment

Ashley Thorne

"An Honor Code must link social integrity with ecological sustainability," says a student. Is that really so?

Radio: "The Green Movement and Its Discontents"

Ashley Thorne

Listen to NAS communications director discuss the rise of the sustainability movement in higher education.

Florida Students Petition to Make Mandatory Sustainability Course Optional

Ashley Thorne

Florida Gulf Coast University students say mandated eco-propaganda actually fosters anti-environmentalism.

The Green Police, They Live Inside My Head

Ashley Thorne

A Super Bowl commercial prompts confusion as to whether the sustainabullies are good or bad.

Swamped: Florida's Earth Charter U

Ashley Thorne

Florida Gulf Coast University centers its curriculum on sustainability and the UN document the Earth Charter.

Businesses Move From Greenwashing to Sincerity, Business Schools Adapt

Ashley Thorne

The Financial Times has an article on how corporations, which formerly touted their commitment to the environment as a marketing ploy, now really believe in the eco-cause. More and more business schools have "infused" sustainability into the curriculum due to student and corporate demand:

A cynic might question how deeply companies believe in the value of social responsibility but Tom Lyon, director of the Erb Institute at University of Michigan who holds an endowed chair at the school from Dow Chemical, insists that companies that approach him are “sincere”. “I am sure there’s some degree of reputation and image building, but there is also a sincere effort to be connected with a university. These companies want to be up to speed on the latest thinking, to know what students are thinking and to understand how to get the next generation’s best and brightest to come work for them.”

A sustainability director at Yale said, “We know you can get filthy rich destroying the planet, but now we’re starting to think about how you can make lots of money saving the planet.”

Popper on Plato, Social Justice and Political Correctness

Mitchell Langbert

I have been reading Karl Popper's Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume I and am awestruck with Popper's scholarship and its relevance to currently percolating issues such as social justice education, political correctness and climate change research.  Popper shows that Plato is at the root of totalitarianism.  Plato re-defined justice to mean the individual's existence for the good of the state; conceived of a ruling elite given politically correct indoctrination; and advocated total social control of day-to-day life.  Popper argues that Plato bases all of this on his tribalist and naturalist morality, that is, his belief that morals are rooted in nature.   Much like today's environmentalists, Plato favored a return to primitive olden times before the innovation that had occurred in Athens. Plato defined justice just as social justice educators do, namely, that the just is what is socially good.  The guardians, the ruling elite, were to receive a social justice-based education.   Plato intensely disliked Athenian democracy and the steps that Pericles and others  had made to define justice as equality before the law.  Rather, public morality would be defined by the politically correct guardian class. Morality,  moderation and justice would mean adherence to one's place and obedience to authority. Like Plato, today's environmentalists believe that the primitive is best and that human innovation is evil.  Much as the cap and trade bill attempts to assert nationally centralized authority over day-day-life, overseen by a Platonic "administrator" or philosopher king, so  Plato believed that the greatest virtues were to be obedient or to lead others.

They Blinded Us With Science

Ashley Thorne

This is a guest article from Alex Berezow, a Ph.D. candidate in microbiology at the University of Washington. The opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the official position of the National Association of Scholars. Remember when President Obama said that he was going to “restore science to its rightful place”?  Apparently, that statement needed to be translated from the vagaries of “hope and change” to modern English:  Right-wing anti-science policies are out; left-wing anti-science policies are in. To Mr. Obama’s credit, he has extended federal dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research far beyond what President Bush allowed.  However, that executive order marks both the beginning and the end of his love affair with sound science. For starters, President Obama appointed Cass Sunstein as the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  Mr. Sunstein believes that all recreational hunting should be banned.  He also believes that meat consumption should be phased out in the United States, and he holds the unique belief that animals should have the right to sue humans in court.  Naturally, the animal would be represented by a human lawyer—a policy other than that would just be silly.  But who exactly would represent the animals in court is unclear at this point.  Dr. Doolittle might be available, though. All satire aside, with someone this disconnected from reality working in the White House, one wonders what impact he could have on the ability of scientists to conduct biomedical animal research. Also, remember Mr. Obama’s obsession with creating green technology jobs as a way of leading us out of the recession?  According to a report described by George Will in his Washington Post column, Spain’s massive subsidization of renewable energy has cost that country 110,000 jobs.  Far from helping Spain’s economic crisis, this foolish subsidization appears to have contributed to its mind-blowing 19.3% unemployment rate. As if this weren’t bad enough, a fantastic op/ed by Joel Frezza brought up several more examples of “junk science” coming from the White House, a few of which I’ll summarize and expand upon. Firstly, the administration has given in to unsubstantiated claims by the Left that certain vaccine components are unsafe, despite the fact that studies have proven the claims to be false.  (For instance, medical experts like Jim Carrey insist vaccines cause autism.)  Unbelievably, the Obama Administration has ignored the research findings of modern medicine and issued a decree that our nation’s swine flu vaccines should have lower amounts of thimerosal.  (Thimerosal is the preservative erroneously believed to cause autism.)  This last-minute decision has caused backups at the pharmaceutical companies making the vaccine, and it has contributed to the swine flu vaccine shortage.  Additionally, the Obama Administration has neglected to remove a federal ban on the use of certain adjuvants (immune-stimulating chemicals) which can help stretch limited vaccine supplies.  This, too, has contributed to the national flu vaccine shortage. Mr. Frezza goes on to describe how the Obama Administration is asking for areas of Alaska to be deemed “critical habitat” for polar bears.  This move could severely limit the ability to drill for oil and gas in the region, in a time when our nation is in desperate need of energy sources.  It appears that, once again, Mr. Obama has caved to propaganda-spewing environmentalists who have ignored recent evidence indicating that polar bear populations are increasing.  In fact, polar bear researcher Mitch Taylor claims that of the 19 populations of polar bears, only two have exhibited declining numbers.  As a side issue, it’s also interesting to note that people like Captain Planet (Al Gore) who refer to polar bears as “endangered” don’t even have their facts straight:  Polar bears are officially listed as “vulnerable”—an entirely different conservation status.  This status is given to animals which may become endangered if conditions don’t change.  Arguably, however, conditions are changing because their population has been increasing. Finally, Mr. Frezza points out the economically ludicrous and scientifically unsound subsidization of biofuels.  Liberals see the subsidization of biofuels as killing two birds with one stone:  Fixing the planet and helping out America’s farmers.  However, science has something entirely different to say about biofuels.  The production of biofuels emits nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas.  The planet, unfortunately, doesn’t find it very funny, since nitrous oxide is a much more potent contributor to the greenhouse effect than is carbon dioxide.  As The Economist points out in this article, a policy meant to make things better is merely an expensive way of making things worse. Honestly, this list could go on and on.  What is so infuriating is the fact that Mr. Obama self-righteously proclaimed to be the protector of science, when the truth is that he simply replaced Mr. Bush’s special interests with his own.  In what has to be the most stunning broken promise in Mr. Obama’s presidency, instead of “restoring science,” he has simply resorted to “politics as usual.”

Make 'Em Walk

Ashley Thorne

Watch for this new eco-trend on campus: parking restrictions. At the University of Toledo, according to the Reformer's Blog, the best parking is reserved for  hybrid vehicles, making drivers of regular cars walk further. And the University of Colorado at Boulder is "seriously considering" a ban on parking on campus. The proposed ban would be part of UC-Boulder's efforts to fulfill its ACUPCC commitments. Although it would reduce emissions, it would not save the university money, but would cost over $1 million in parking permits. It also costs the students, who already pay a fee to cover bus transportation and who would, under a parking ban, be forced to pay for alternate parking and transportation to campus.

Found: A Fellow Sustainability-Challenger

Ashley Thorne

NAS has published an interview with Holly Swanson, the founder and director of an Oregon-based group called Operation Green Out! (the exclamation point is part of its name!). We first learned of Operation Green Out! while researching Second Nature, an organization that seeks to make sustainability the “foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.” We found that thus far Operation Green Out! seems to be the sole challenger of Second Nature’s education for sustainability agenda, and that it has launched a campaign “to get green politics out in the open and out of the classroom.” Holly Swanson, the organization’s founder and director, is the author of Set Up and Sold Out: Find Out What Green Really Means, and she is a nationwide speaker on the “Green movement” and its “plan to use public education to politically indoctrinate.” By way of introducing NAS members and readers to Ms. Swanson and Operation Green Out! we present this interview.  We are glad to have found an organization that sees the dangers the sustainability movement (Swanson calls it "the Greens") poses for education. As Ms. Swanson puts it,

The Education for Sustainability movement is harmful because this movement is swiftly changing the role of public education in America from a ‘politically neutral system’ to a ‘politically driven system’ rooted in the ideology of the Greens and designed to produce mass compliance and predictable support for one ideology or single party rule.

It's good to know we're not alone in saying this.

An Interview with Holly Swanson

Ashley Thorne

An Oregon-based organization called Operation Green Out! works “to get green politics out in the open and out of the classroom.”

We Didn't Call it Communism

Peter Wood

“Sustainable Sausage,” a blog that promotes “sustainability for twenty somethings” features the views of three New Zealanders, Lisa, Kavi, and Janelle. One of the Kiwi sausage-makers found her way to Ashley’s and my provocative press release from a month ago, Sustainability is a Waste:  10 Reasons to Oppose the Sustainability Movement on Your Campus, and was appropriately provoked.  She imagines we invite “huge piles of garbage all over the world,” and also accuses us of confusing Soviet communism with the Green movement.  Ah, no.  Communist regimes proved themselves in the last century to be the most environmentally destructive in human history.  The Soviet Union gave us not only Chernobyl, but massive pollution in the Urals; uncontrolled radiological releases including the now famous Chelyabinsk-65 release in 1957 that contaminated 20,000 square kilometers and the Tomsk-7 release in 1993 that poisoned another 100 square kilometers; chemical dumps on the Baltic Seabed; the attempt in the 1970s to re-channel northern-flowing rivers with nuclear explosions; and the destruction of the Aral Sea to irrigate deserts.  The modern West has not always been a good steward of the environment, but there is nothing in the West in the last century remotely on the level of heedless destruction of the environment carried out by communist regimes.  It might, however, be a good thing if promoters of the sustainability movement with its emphasis on central planning and an ideology of shared sacrifice showed a little awareness of where public policy based on those principles has led in recent times. We never drew or implied a comparison of communism with the sustainability movement.  Yet Lisa-Kavi-Janelle are so baffled by our criticisms of the sustainability movement that they jump to the idea that when we said “sustainability” we really meant “communism.”  Sorry, Kiwis.  When we said “sustainability” we meant “sustainability.”  And we are not at all keen on having “huge piles of garbage all over the world.”  We are just keen on making sure that people like you—people who seem ignorant of recent history and determined to promote the latest feel-good cause without any understanding of its larger social implications—are put on the spot.

Welcome Freshmen!

Peter Wood

What you won't learn in freshmen orientation.

UNESCO-topia: Sustainability's Big Brother

Peter Wood

What does gender have to do with climate change?

The Sustainability Movement in the American University

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood presents a scholarly paper synthesizing NAS's work on sustainability.

Wal-Mart's Eco-Index

Ashley Thorne

The retail giant teams up with the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University to find ways to measure products' social and environmental impact.

Thursday Vert-Degree

Ashley Thorne

Green news: go asparaguses, intelligent life isn't sustainable in outer space either, and messages from AASHE.

Green Goblins

Ashley Thorne

Kids fear a looming eco-apocalypse and learn in school, "every day is Earth Day."

Tap Dancers: Bottled Water and College Students

Ashley Thorne

Sustainability's latest wave on college campuses: ban the bottle, drink tap.