Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Signs of the Times

Although I didn't participate in last Saturday's March for Science in St. Paul, I definitely support what it was (and continues to be) all about.

And what exactly is it about? Well, the march's organizers describe it as "the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments." What's not to support about that?

Saturday's march in St. Paul drew 10,000 people and was, as Liz Sawyer writes in the Star Tribune, "the largest Minnesota arm of a global effort to champion independent research and scientific fact at a time when many people feel that both are under attack by those seeking political gain."

More about the "political gain" bit at the end of this post. First, though, here are some of the more creative (and humorous) signs that folks around the country and the world brought along to the March for Science. These images, all found online, are accompanied by an excerpt from the march's Mission Statement.

The March for Science is a celebration of science. It's not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world. Nevertheless, the march has generated a great deal of conversation around whether or not scientists should involve themselves in politics. In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?

People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.

The application of science to policy is not a partisan issue. Anti-science agendas and policies have been advanced by politicians on both sides of the aisle, and they harm everyone — without exception. Science should neither serve special interests nor be rejected based on personal convictions. At its core, science is a tool for seeking answers. It can and should influence policy and guide our long-term decision-making.

The March for Science champions and defends science and scientific integrity, but it is a small step in the process toward encouraging the application of science in policy. We understand that the most effective way to protect science is to encourage the public to value and invest in it.


Why target President Donald Trump? Well, I'll let Tod Perry from the website Good explain.

Since taking office in January, some people have felt President Trump has been a bit hostile to the science community. His administration has put policies in place that silence federal agencies from publicly discussing climate change and has proposed massive budget cuts to the National Institute of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy. The President himself has voiced anti-scientific views by calling climate change a “Chinese hoax” and has supported the anti-vaxxer movement in the past.

To combat this systemic rejection of the scientific process, tens of thousands of people in over 600 cities on seven continents across the globe came together last Saturday at the March for Science.

Related Off-site Links:
At Least 10,000 March for the Love of Science in St. Paul – Liz Sawyer (Star Tribune, April 22, 2017).
Why They March: "Science and Scientists Are Now Under Attack" – Sharon Lerner (The Intercept, April 22, 2017).
Photos from Around the Country Show Just How Massive the March for Science Really Is – Mathew Rodriguez (Mic, April 22, 2017).
Planet Breaches 410 ppm as Back-to-Back Protests Demand Trump Wake Up – Lauren McCauley (Common Dreams, April 24, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Earth Day 2017
"It Is All Connected"
Something to Think About (and Embody)
A Record High
The Paris Climate Talks, Multilateralism, and a "New Approach to Climate Action"
Earth Day 2015
Quote of the Day – September 19, 2014
Photo of the Day – Earth Day 2013
Superstorm Sandy: A 'Wake-Up Call' on Climate Change
Quote of the Day – May 31, 2011
Thomas Berry (1914-2009)
At the Minnesota Capitol, Signs of the Times

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