From The Guardian (15.7.22):
Hundreds of teachers have pledged not to take their students to a new exhibition at the Science Museum in London until it cancels its sponsorship deal with a company linked to the coalminer Adani.
More than 400 teachers and educators have so far signed an open letter to the museum warning that it faces a widespread boycott over a deal with Adani Green Energy, whose parent company, Adani Group, is a major operator of coalmines and coal-fired power stations.
Ian McDermott, of Harris Westminster Sixth Form in London, said: “I’ve brought many thousands of students to this place over the last 25 years. It makes me so sad that this magical building, that has done so much to benefit and inspire young people, is now actively harming them by allowing coal giants like Adani, who are destroying the future of the world’s young people by expanding mining, to greenwash their reputation at the expense of the reputation of the museum.”
Meryl Batchelder, of Corbridge middle school in Northumberland, said: ‘Through environmental education young people are becoming increasingly aware of the damage caused by the fossil fuel industry. As a teacher I try to lead by example and live my life as sustainably as possible. The Science Museum is hugely influential, so it would be an incredible step in the right direction if they became a leader in promoting decarbonisation and turned their backs on Adani and their ilk.”
Adani Green Energy is due to sponsor the museum’s Energy Revolution gallery, which will open next year.
The museum’s director, Ian Blatchford, said: “We agree that climate change is the most urgent challenge facing humanity but we don’t agree with the argument from some who say we should sever ties with all energy companies with an association, direct or indirect, with fossil fuels. We believe the right approach is to engage and challenge companies and other partners to do more to make the global economy less carbon intensive.”
Last October a former director of the museum, Prof Chris Rapley, a climate scientist, resigned from its advisory board over oil and gas company sponsorship.
A month later 40 prominent figures including a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and several leading scientists, many of whom have worked closely with the museum in the past, said they were “deeply concerned” about its fossil fuel sponsorship deals and announced they were severing ties with the museum until a moratorium was announced.
Two prominent scientists have refused to allow their work to be included in the Science Museum’s collection because of the institution’s links to Shell. And in December Indigenous leaders urged the Science Museum to cancel the Adani Green Energy deal.