The article was written by Cath Kestler, activist and resident of Silver Creek, NY
The Science March held on Earth Day provided us with an actual picture of the participating masses filled with an untiring enthusiasm in unity for the need to save our planet, for there is no planet B; we only have one chance and that time is now because time will run out for we are very close to that line in the sand.
Those who are passionate about science exude a quest to understand the universe and science; it is ever-changing and evolving as I type this column. I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy in his lab coat and bowties with my daughters back in the 90’s thoroughly enjoying the looks on their faces filled with amazement as he explained science in a fun way that made them eager to learn more.
Today, Bill Nye is like a rock star to those kids that are passionate about science and he is always willing to engage in conversations with our younger generations and has never turned down an opportunity to pose for a “selfie” to satisfy his fans.
My mentor as I was growing up was my eighth grade science teacher, Mrs. Burch who ignited my passion for science and my thirst to drink up all the knowledge I could find at that age. I drove my mother crazy with all of my questions and I was frequently at the library in search of the answers. I hope some of you out there advocate our young generation to seek the answers and develop a deep love for science.
During the March on Saturday in DC as well as other marches happening in conjunction were filled with scientists, doctors, educators and activists all with science related goals in mind. It was reported that some 500 to in the government 600 other satellite marches took place to put the focus on varying scientific concerns depending on where the march took place.
Some of the goals in which the spotlight needed to shine upon were for funding for science education; promoting open outreach to further promote education and supporting diversity in different scientific fields. Though the scientists reached out to state and local politicians to participate, only the Democrats responded to the call.
According to Laurie Krug, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at SUNY Stoney Brook who marched Saturday in NYC stated in Live Science that “Scientists are going to be more active, we tend to be passive so that we are seen as non-partisan. We need to keep STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field strong to keep young people interested in research.”
A website has been introduced that has advocacy news and tools to help scientists get connected to the political process. There are mountains of information that scientists need to be better at opening up and communicating the information we need—not everyone is science minded. Get some information: https://www.forceforscience.org/
This March was born and motivated by Trump who disparaged climate change as a hoax and voiced suspicions of the safety of vaccines. Cabinet members were appointed to head up departments that are skeptical if not outright hostile to the sciences. In an administration that relies on polls, a recent poll stated that the majority of the citizens trust and depend on scientists and their works.
Recent budget cuts hit the sciences straight to the bone. The National Institutes of Health which is already cut to the quick will be further cut by 18 percent. We are on the verge of life-saving breakthroughs in a lot of areas in medicine and diseases.
The Environmental Protection Agency headed up by Scott Pruitt (who is an open science denier) and has sued this agency 20 times will see a 31% cut to funding and a quarter (25%) of the EPA’s 15,000 employees will lose their jobs. Bringing back polluted rivers, streams and lakes, not to mention rolling back regulations on dumping toxic waste and breathing in smog…I remember the 70’s and don’t want to go back there.
According to Denis Hayes an organizer from the first Earth Day in the 1970 stated in the NY Times, “You have a clear enemy,” he said. “You’ve got a president who along with his vice president, his cabinet and his party leadership in both houses of Congress have a strong anti-environment agenda. He’s basically trying to roll back everything we’ve tried to do in the last half-century.”
Let’s be clear, we can no longer afford a government that dismisses or denies science. The People’s March for Science is scheduled for April 29th in DC and I’m sure there will be sister marches to coincide with this march as well—if you missed the march on Earth Day, consider making a sign and letting your voices be heard this Saturday. Hope to see some of you there.
Science is vitally important. Where would we be without science? It is used in absolutely every aspect in the lives we live…