Monday, February 16, 2009

Is Academic Freedom Dead in the US?

From the Ecowaste Egroup:

This Action Alert came from Ann Leonard (co-founder of GAIA) who helped the EcoWaste Coalition a lot in terms of introducing us to grantmakers in US who are into public health and environmental justice issues. The Time Magazine in its 6 Oct 2008 issue cited Ann as one of the "heroes of the environment" for her work on Zero Waste and, of course, "The Story of Stuff." Thanks in advance for your support. Manny C. Calonzo

Dear Friends,

You all know that U.S. consumption rates are out of control and driving much of the ecological devastation on the planet. With 5% of the world's population, the U.S. uses 30% of the world's resources and creates 30% of the world's waste.

I created the film The Story of Stuff to inspire people in the U.S. to think about the hidden environmental and social impacts of our out of control consumption patterns here. I have been delighted that many teachers have adopted it for use in classrooms in the U.S. and around the world.

Recently though, a high school teacher in Missoula, Montana showed he Story of Stuff to her high school biology class. An irate parent complained to the school board, which late last month voted that showing the video violated district policy-in effect banning the film.

You can read about this growing controversy here: and we will post updates to our blog at

This is a dangerous precedent.

At a time when every reputable scientist and organization agrees that the future of the planet is at risk, educators need to help students to think critically about the causes and consequences of environmental degradation, especially climate change. School textbooks and mainstream media have failed to adequately address the environmental crises we face, and teachers like Kathleen Kennedy in Missoula should be commended for seeking out alternative materials like The Story of Stuff to encourage critical thinking and action for sustainability.

Fortunately students, parents, and teachers in Missoula and elsewhere are organizing to demand the school board revere its decision. Please join them!

Please take a minute to send an email to the Missoula school board to ask that they reconsider their vote. I've pasted a sample letter below or you can write your own comment.

Email the school board at and send a copy to the local newspaper, the Missoulian, at Please blind cc me at

Stay tuned and thank you for helping!


Annie Leonard
The Story of Stuff

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

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