State Farm: Stop Sending My Money To Heartland Institute
Update May 14: State Farm corporate headquarters called me at home today to let me know they received my letter and to assure me that they will no longer be funding Heartland Institute. Very impressed they called. Thank you, State Farm for doing the right thing.
Update 10 PM ET May 7: STATE FARM HAS DROPPED HEARTLAND INSTITUTE. Image below from SF Face Book page:
This blog post contains a letter that was sent to State Farm Insurance along with key New York elected officials. I intend to end my 21 years as a State Farm customer if State Farm does not pull their funding from Heartland Institute. I do not wish my money to be sent to Heartland Institute – a group that recently compared climate scientists and those concerned about climate change to “murderers, tyrants, and madmen” such as Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber), Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and Osama bin Laden. Although Heartland stated that they will remove the public billboards, their official statement offers no apologies. It is obvious that the billboards represent Heartland’s true feelings.
May 7, 2012
State Farm Insurance
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710
Dear State Farm,
As per a recent conversation with Tony Ardise, my State Farm agent, I provided him two weeks’ notice that I intend to cancel all of my policies with State Farm Insurance because of its support of Heartland Institute. I have been a loyal customer for over 21 years and currently send almost $4500 per year to State Farm. I do not wish my money to be sent to Heartland Institute – a group that recently compared climate scientists and those concerned about climate change to “murderers, tyrants, and madmen” such as Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber), Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and Osama bin Laden. Although Heartland stated that they will remove the public billboards, their official statement offers no apologies. It is obvious that the billboards represent Heartland’s true feelings.
This indefensible and un-American assault on climate science is just the latest attempt by Heartland to discourage action on climate change, but there is a long history. As has been widely reported in mainstream media, Heartland Institute has been leading the charge for years to confuse our policymakers, the general public, and our school children about well-understood climate change science.
The United States National Academy of Sciences tells us that the climate is warming, humans are responsible, and that this behavior is increasing risks across a broad spectrum of society. Every international academy of science agrees and recent studies show that 97-98% of publishing experts concur.
Who else is concerned? Military and intelligence experts warn that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions and health officials warn us that climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. These are experts who are warning us of a serious problem. We need to listen to these experts and not to Heartland Institute.
State Farm states: “We’re working with organizations all across the country – organizations like the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Protecting America – to help protect you and your family from the human injuries, property destruction, and financial impact that can result from natural disasters.” Climate change has been shown to have increased the frequency and intensity of droughts, fires, heat waves, and floods. Along with sea level rise, these types of disasters have already cost your industry many billions of dollars according to financial experts. I find it quite disturbing that State Farm would send money to a group that is clearly hurting its bottom line. Would the American Lung Association send money to Philip Morris?
General Motors and AT&T have publicly stated they will no longer fund Heartland Institute. State Farm should immediately do the same. If so, I will remain a loyal customer. Otherwise, I will take my business elsewhere.
Scott A. Mandia
cc: Tony Ardise, State Farm agent
Charles Schumer, Senator (NY)
Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator (NY)
Tim Bishop, Congressman (NY)
Kenneth P. Lavalle, NY State Senate
Dan Losquadro, NY State Assembly
Sarah S. Anker, Suffolk County Legislature
A list of Heartland’s coporate sponsors appears here: http://pinterest.com/climatebrad/heartland-institute-sponsors/
Another way to send a strong message to Heartland Institute and other groups who attack scientists is to support the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund with your tax-free donations. (Or visit Rocket the Hub to donate and receive cool gifts.)
Maybe I will call Geiko at the suggestion of Bryan Killett of JPL who commented: “I’d guess that geckos are less likely to support contrarian think tanks, as their habitats are currently shifting faster than they migrate.”
Thank you to Sean Lawrence Otto for publishing this letter at Huffington Post.