Growing up in California, my friends and I would sit on the famous Venice Board Walk and watch street performers along with the throngs of sun burned tourists that would visit from all over the world. Hare Krishna’s held parades there with giant colorful floats pulled by elephants, and devotees rang bells and chanted “Hare hare” while they threw bags of peanuts and raisins to the kids. People would tell jokes, play music, juggle chainsaws, walk on glass, and do all types of strange and bizarre acts for a little spare change. They would roller skate and disco with ghetto blasters, spray paint murals, and set up skateboard ramps and see who could launch the furthest into the air. Surfers wore neon wetsuits, girls wore bicycle shorts, and break-‐dancers looked like time travelling pirates with cardboard dance platforms. During the awesome 80’s the beach was the place to be.
I grew up surfing the beaches in the Santa Monica Bay. My parents kept a jar of paint thinner by the back door so that people could get the tar off their feet after going to the beach. I later realized that some beaches where not covered in tar, but local officials insisted that the tar was due to naturally occurring seepage and not due to the offshore oil derricks or the nearby Chevron refinery. Besides having the beaches often covered in tar, we also had a Hyperion plant that was constantly spilling raw sewage (feces) into the ocean. Our storm drains also flowed openly into the ocean, and during those days people would sweep trash and dog doo right into the drain. We would often watch as the ocean turned from blue to brown and smell like feces after every rain. Unfortunately, when it rained was also when the waves were good for surfing. My friends and I would surf until they closed the beaches, usually a few hours after the water had turned brown. People would often get sick after this happened and one of my friends even got hepatitis from surfing just before the beach was closed.
At the Hyperion plant in the nearby city of El Porto they kept the raw sewage in open containers and every time it rained it would overflow and spill into the ocean. The fines the city paid for spilling the sewage were less costly than actually treating the sewage so they were allowing it to happen on purpose. The locals began to protest and I was about ten years old when I got my picture on the front page of the Los Angeles Times wearing a gas mask and carrying a surfboard for a protest. California State Assemblyman Tom Hayden also made a speech at the same protest. Our local TV news stations covered it, and everyone was exited to see their friends on the TV. It worked, the protesters formed environmental organizations that successfully won a multi-‐million dollar law suits forcing the city to fix many of the problems and restore the beaches. And in my ten-‐year-‐old mind, I was convinced that by walking to the protest wearing a gas mask, I had saved the beach!
Teaching and How Learning Got Left Behind
Maybe it was this experience that made me want to go into environmental studies and teaching. I moved to Santa Cruz, California where the locals will argue they have that best surfing waves in the world. I got a degree in Environmental Studies, and then a teaching credential. I’ve worked in California public schools for the last 15 years.
First, I worked as a special education aide. Special Education teachers earn more money and for a good reason, teaching children with learning disabilities is hard work! There has been a huge explosion in learning disabilities, autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, food allergies, asthma, lung problems, heart problems brain tumors, and brain cancer in children. The students with autism almost always have lots of allergies to food and other things in their environment.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve most likely heard that autism is growing at an exponential rate. Many in the media are trying hard to deny this fact by suggesting that real learning disabilities like ADHD are over-‐diagnosed as an excuse to sell drugs such as the now infamous Ritalin. I would argue it’s just the opposite, and that the problem is worse than most people would like to admit. No parent wants their child to have a learning disability, so they deny that it exists. The bottom line is that the special education classes are growing by the year, and it’s clearly due to children being born in an increasingly toxic environment.
Now teaching in regular education is no walk in the park either. No Child Left Behind and the Common Core Curriculum were never the ideas of actual teachers. Public schools were not given the choice of teaching to the standards, they had to adopt a standardized curriculum or lose all federal funding. These laws were pushed onto the schools by the federal government, who adopted them under pressure from private testing industry lobbyists, or basically the publishing companies.
All the modern research in the field of education confirms that using project based discovery learning is the most effective way to teach. Yet Federal law forces us to use outdated route learning as our main teaching method. Simply put, we teach students how to take multiple-‐choice tests. Rather than writing an answer to a question that explains how well they understand a subject, students are forced to fill in a bubble next to the most popular answer. This is by no means an accurate way to assess a student’s intelligence or subject knowledge. Instead these formats are catered to the types of machines used to grade the tests. The private companies charge the schools for every student who is tested, and because the private testing companies can save money by using machines instead of hiring teachers to grade papers, we teach the students how to take multiple choice tests. The tests used to be on paper, but now they are just part of a software program. The private contract awarded for creating and grading the standardized tests is worth a fortune.
The first subjects to go under NCLB were history, art and music. In some districts all the these teachers got pink slipped or forced into teaching other subjects, some after decades of experience. They didn’t test these subjects so they were thrown into the same category as P.E. They’d given the larger groups of students and it would be treated as a fun elective. This was especially true at the schools that were under Program Improvement, where they were literally forced to teach to the test by federal observers.
Under the same basic law with a new name “CCC” Common Core Curriculum they no longer count the science test scores. You still have to teach to the test, and it’s still tested, but the test scores don’t go into the all-‐important score that the school has to maintain to stay out of Program Improvement. It is complicated and to explain it in detail I’d need to write a book. Lets just say that the bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. There is now an expanding bureaucracy in education based solely on analyzing multiple choice test results, and if you want to move up the academic ziggurat the only way to do it is to never question the validity of the all-‐knowing standardized test scores.
To make a long story short, science has now been thrown in the same bin, with history and the arts. Under CCC the idea is that students will learn little bits and pieces of science, and history, and culture as they are learning math and grammar. They learn only what a machine can test, and so they memorize answers like a machine. When tested, students are forced to choose between four choices and the message is clear. The student’s real understanding of the material, and their own thoughts and opinions don’t matter. Memorize the correct answer, even though you have no idea why it’s correct. And I am reminded of the words of Carl Sagan when he said,
“Science is…a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.”
America has been known for its charlatans since the days of Mark Twain. There is always someone who is ready to sell you radioactive water, or invisible clothes if you’ll buy them. There will always be people who will try to convince you that swimming in raw sewage is perfectly healthy, or that its fine to breathe toxic metals. But when you learn how to think critically, you learn how to separate reality from the schemes of charlatans.
When you teach science under a standardized curriculum you are teaching students what to think, rather than how to think. You are expected to teach very specific science “facts”. These facts are boring, outdated, and encourage memorization rather than a deeper understanding of the material. For example you are not allowed to discuss the health effects of GMO’s or processed food during the health units, instead you have to focus on calories. You are not allowed to encourage students to observe nature, or come up with their own ideas. You are forced to teach science as if it was a cookbook written in the 1800’s. Mentioning anything that’s happening in the 21st century, for example it you try to discuss global climate change or geo-‐engineering you will get labeled as a “conspiracy theorist.” This will set you against all the parents and administrators who wish to remain in their confortable paradigm and continue to believe that nothing is changing and that nothing is wrong. The teachers and students have no choice but to conform to the most popular answers and are simply not allowed to question anything. This nationwide approach to education would explain why so few people today can question anything they are told by authority figures or basically any person on TV.
Geo-‐engineering, or Climate Engineering
The first time I noticed geo-‐engineering I was at a March Against Monsanto in Santa Cruz California. The planes flew really low and basically crop-‐dusted the protesters. Almost everyone at the protest got sick and was coughing up black soot for days. Unlike the usual geo-‐engineering days, on that day there were little fibers falling from the sky that looked like laundry lint. When you put one on your finger and touched water you’d get a little shock. Apparently they don’t always spray the same stuff. After that I looked on the Internet and was overwhelmed by disinformation. I finally found Dane Wigington a credible researcher who made sense. I read everything I could on the topic and listened to a few of Dane Wiginton’s lectures online. Then I began to document the days they were spraying by taking pictures and I tried to figure out the pattern. Back then military helicopters would often fly ahead of the spraying, so you’d know when you heard those big loud helicopters coming that they were about to spray. Over the next few years, the military helicopters stopped showing up, but the spraying in Central California went from a random event to a daily event.
As most of you now know, Monsanto has purchased the “Climate Corporation” and invested millions in geo-‐engineering. They also hold patents on “drought resistant” and “aluminum resistant” GMO seeds. The drought in California could earn Monsanto a fortune selling their drought resistant and aluminum resistant seeds to farmers who now have no other alternative.
I’m in New Zealand, we see plenty of planes fly overhead the same size, and altitude as the commuter planes in California, but they do not leave long white chemtrails, or even the tiniest contrail. There is not a mile, nor an inch, nor even a millimeter, of contrail left behind the planes here. But we still get geo-‐engineered clouds. These chemical clouds come from over the ocean and move in corduroy patterns against the direction of the wind. When it’s really bad I get a ringing in my ears, I get the same ringing in my ears if I stand under a really strong WiFi signal. It’s important to note that they use different techniques and various degrees of geo-‐engineering in different locations.
Now the mainstream media is receiving tons of money from corporations with a vested interest in geo-‐engineering. Energy companies don’t want to de-‐commission dirty coal plants and oil refineries. Monsanto doesn’t want to lose the payoff from all of their investments in drought resistant and aluminum resistant seeds. So just like people once said it was perfectly normal to have raw sewage and crude oil spilling onto the beach, people are now saying it’s normal to have hundreds of white lines across the sky. The only difference is that instead of destroying one community’s clean water, they’re destroying everyone’s clean air.
Proponents of Geo-‐Engineering will say that they are only testing out this technology and that they’re not really applying the technology to it’s fullest. If that’s true, if covering the sky with hundreds of white lines is only a test, I’d hate to see the real thing! Advocate of geo-‐engineering David Keith said it best when he stated “It’s like freeriding on our grandkids.” In other words the children have no future if the geo-‐engineering programs continue. We can let the children continue to grow more and more sick. We can let the sky fill with grey haze. We can try to live in a world without bees or wild animals. We can try to hide inside and live without sunlight.
Or we could hold massive protests at City Hall. The corporations are paying the media to make anyone with a conscience and an understanding of what’s going on look like crazy “conspiracy theorists” because they know that if we speak up, they know if enough ten year old kids in gas masks show up to protest, they will lose. Then they’ll have to stop making profits from their dirty schemes, and we’ll get our clear skies, clean air and real weather back.