There are many climate “solutions” out there that are marketed to us consumers. These “solutions” are given to us as a sense of comfort in this existential dread that looms over us. However, they are not as beneficial as they might seem, and not all solutions are actually helpful. The goal of this continuous conversation is to assist students in distinguishing between genuine attempts to address the situation and the numerous pseudo-solutions that, upon closer inspection, turn out to be greenwashed products or practices that are more concerned with protecting the profits of polluting businesses than with protecting people and the environment.

Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: Resist False Solutions to Climate Change is a 60 paged booklet developed by by a coalition of grassroots environmental justice and climate change groups. Hoodwinked is filled with cartoons, infographics, and links to grassroots organizations. It has a clear and structured analysis of market based fallacies and it is rooted in the experience of frontline activists. This booklet calls out solutions like carbon-pricing, offsets, biofuels, and more that are marketed to us by corporations to make us feel like they are fighting against climate change. The authors of Hoodwinked argue that these solutions are claiming to address the crisis while avoiding the underlying causes that brought forth this mess — corporate greed, endless growth, enclosure of land, and the exploitation of life.

Hoodwinked’s study consistently focuses on the experiences of the majority BIPOC communities, who bear the brunt of the adverse effects of the climate issue, as well as the technology and practices that are purported to be solutions. For example, climate offsets are a key component of carbon pricing regimes. They enable industries to continue polluting by purchasing offsets, also known as “allowances,” which are used to support projects that are presumably beneficial for the environment in other locations. Companies then are free to not clean up pollution “in areas disproportionately populated by communities of color and poor communities” and these projects themselves frequently exploit and limit the land sovereignty and rights of Indigenous Peoples and restrict land access for other BIPOC and low-income communities.

Tim Swinehart teaches at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon details in this article called “Debunking False Climate Solutions in Our Classrooms” how he uses Hoodwinked in his classroom. He instructs students to investigate one incorrect solution and one fundamental concept for valid solutions from Hoodwinked. Afterwards, they engage with prompts to ready themselves for individual discussions with peers during the research mixer. Swinehart gives a more detailed explanation in this article from Rethinking Schools.

This booklet is free online and can be downloaded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Arabic on this website.

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