Federally Funded NASA ‘Educates’ Children About Global Warming on ‘Climate Kids’ Web Site

May 20, 2011 - 4:00 AM

earth

Planet Earth. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Web site network includes “Climate Kids: NASA’s Eyes on the Earth,” which use cartoons, games, and other activities to teach children about man-made global warming and climate change.

According to NASA’s budget request for fiscal year 2012, totaling $18.7 billion, the agency would dedicate $145.8 million to educational programs. The “Climate Kids” site is supported through NASA’s educational programs, according to a spokesman with the agency.

“Climate Kids” is part of a NASA-affiliated Web site operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a research and development and NASA field center that is managed by the California Institute of Technology.

One of the features on the children’s pages is a “Climate Tales” cartoon, “Adventures on a Changing Planet: Will our heroes ever find their way home?”

The cartoon features a polar bear and a fish. In the cartoon, some of the following dialogue occurs:

“Hey, it looks like your ice is melting,” the fish says.

“I had to swim for miles to find a chunk of ice to climb onto,” says the bear. “If I don’t get to rest once in a while I won’t have enough energy to hunt my next meal.”

“All the ice is melting,” the bear says.

After being transported to the South American rain forest, the fish and the polar bear meet a monkey.

“Where did all the trees go?” the bear asks.

“Funny story,” the monkey says. “The humans cut them down and burned them.”

“And now it’s a trash dump,” says the bear.

The monkey informs the bear that the humans tried to grow crops and “it didn’t take long for the humans to use all the rest of the life in the soil.”

“After a few years the humans moved on, leaving a dead and lifeless landscape,” says the monkey.

CNSNews.com asked NASA about “Climate Kids” and why the federally funded agency was promoting the idea of global warming and, specifically, man-made global warming in the cartoon and through other activities on the Web site.

Ming Ying-Wei, program manager for education and public outreach in the earth science division at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., said that education has always been one of the space agency’s goals since the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 was signed into law.

Ying-Wei cited Section 203 of the law, which says the agency should “provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof.”

When asked by CNSNews.com why “Climate Kids” only provided one point of view on global warming, Ying-Wei said she had not seen the cartoon but that she did not believe the agency shows any bias.

“I don’t think NASA actually really has a specific point of view that we’re trying to promote,” Ying-Wei said.

Ying-Wei said she believes education projects are promoted by all federal agencies and that “Climate Kids” represents only a small fraction of many education and outreach programs NASA provides.

Other features on the “Climate Kids” Web site include a “Green Careers: You Can Help the Planet” portion and “Earth Now,” which promotes solar energy and explains how global warming causes sheep to “shrink” and marmots to “get fat.”

Among the games on the Web site is “Go Green,” which tells kids to finish a mission by using the “least polluting” forms of transportation.