Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

Today, fossil fuel companies have engaged in a similar propaganda war—funding questionable research, donating questionable curriculum to hard-pressed schools, and touting their contributions to the public welfare in advertising campaigns—for similar self-interested reasons. Recent reports out of Oklahoma exposed the oil and gas industry’s science curriculum and the incentives like fully-funded field trips and free supplies and lab equipment. This echoes a similar story about coal-funded classroom materials published and later withdrawn by Scholastic, Inc., in 2009. Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

Sarah S. Elkind: Air Pollution and Prosperity

I was recently interviewed for a series of radio essays called “We Used to Be China,” on China’s air pollution, by Sarah Gardner at American Public Radio’s Marketplace. These stories got me thinking about China’s air pollution problem, and about Marketplace’s premise. Did we, the United States, used to be China? In what ways? Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: Air Pollution and Prosperity

Sarah S. Elkind: The Allure of an Inefficient Government

“Beltway politics” are not the only barrier to efficiency in government. Despite what they say, the American people have long preferred an inefficient federal government that they could shape rather than an efficient government that they could not. Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: The Allure of an Inefficient Government

Sarah S. Elkind: Los Angeles and the History of Air Pollution

We have become so used to hearing of regulations–particularly consumer protections like banking rules or the proposed controls on mercury emissions—as threats to prosperity that it has become nearly impossible to imagine these debates in any other way. But in 1940s Los Angeles, controlling air pollution and creating a healthy environment was understood as essential to prosperity, and the business community led the regulatory effort. Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: Los Angeles and the History of Air Pollution