For most of us, Earth Day is a time to celebrate our planet and focus on solutions to our many environmental challenges. Teachers and schoolchildren in particular embrace Earth Day as an opportunity to learn about ways all of us can make changes large and small to protect the environment and conserve our natural resources.
And then there's Assemblyman David Hadley (R-Torrance). Hadley (who calls himself an “environmentalist,”) wrote in an opinion piece in the Torrance Daily Breeze that schools should be discouraged from teaching environmental education because it is “quasi-religious Earth worship.” He also referred to a school’s Environment Pledge of Allegiance as “Stalinist,” and said teaching kids about the environment makes children “unduly pessimistic about the planet’s future.” Further, he called environmental studies “too complex” for grade school children to understand.
Most significantly, as we celebrate Earth Day, Hadley wrote that we don’t need to focus on the environment because we have already “achieved cleaner air, cleaner water” in our communities.
Surely there are many children in Assembly District 66, including Gardena with its well-known water problems, who would disagree that our water and air are already perfect. These issues require a thoughtful Assemblymember who not only understands the most urgent environmental problems we face every day, but will also make them a priority both in our communities and in our classrooms.
Hadley’s opposition to environmental education in schools is just another example of how extreme and out-of-touch he is with the needs of the communities in this district, which also includes a significant stretch of the California coastline. As an Assemblymember, Hadley voted against laws to protect our beaches and air from pollution and oil spills, took $25,000 from the oil companies, opposed clean air regulations, and opposed protections for voters. He received a dismal 45% on our most recent California Environmental Scorecard.
David Hadley was elected by a 0.5% margin in the lowest turnout election in recorded California history with the aid of nearly $1 million of outside spending from polluters and their allies, and has repeatedly voted against the interests of constituents. This Earth Day, let's pledge to elect true environmental champions who will stand up for our values -- like Al Muratsuchi, a former South Bay Assemblymember who has a lifetime environmental score of 96 percent. I think our planet would approve.