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The American Museum of Natural History, one of the world’s largest, has maintained a faculty of scientists and educators that have been long time advocates for the potential dangers of climate change. Recently, it was discovered that one of the museum’s leaders, Rebeckah Mercer, has been funding millions to organizations that are skeptical to climate change.
Ms. Mercer’s contributions are made from the Mercer Family Foundation, which have amounted to nearly $8 million to organizations that reject scientific consensus on climate change, like the Heartland Institute in Illinois. Ms. Mercer is not only a trustee on the board of the American Museum of Natural History, but also on the board of the Heritage Foundation, which debates whether human behavior is the cause of climate change.
Ms. Mercer refused to respond to any requests for comment while the museum’s president, Ellen Futter, had only one statement in regards to the controversy. Futter states, “The scientists at the museum are the ones who are responsible for the interpretation and presentation of scientific content.”
The article describes how the institution was unaware of Ms. Mercer’s philanthropic history, and many scientists expect her to resign from the board as they argue, “there is no room for promoters of anti-science.” There are questions centered around integrity to be asked of Ms. Mercer and her intention to fund two organizations with very different beliefs on climate change.
There hasn’t been any public response to Ms. Mercer’s beliefs on the environmental issues, but her background as a donor to Donald Trump’s campaign and previously mentioned organizations that deny climate change might suggest her opinions. Her position as trustee on a board fighting to raise concerns about climate change are inconsistent with what is assumed to be her beliefs.