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Mother Nature’s Representatives Speak Up

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On April 22, 2017, Earth Day, scientists of all ages and statuses all around the nation marched to communicate their position on the importance of science to the American society and government.

The goal of the March for Science was to voice that science is a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. The marchers pushed past their political affiliations and were united in the belief that science is not a subject that can be manipulated by political leaders. They proclaimed that science is for the common good and policy makers should only enact policies based in the public interest. Marchers strode the streets of cities across the nation with the goal to encourage the public to value and invest in the future of science because they believe a future based in science will be a healthy, safe, educated, and economically profitable future.

The March for Science was a response to multiple setbacks in the science community following the election of President Trump. Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement , which is a United Nations convention dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to freezing research grants, Trump’s first budget contained major funding cuts to NOAA‘s research and satellite programs, the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, the DOE’s Office of Science and energy programs, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Institutes of Health, and other science agencies. On top of legislative and economical changes in environmental policy, Trump initiated a gag order on scientists in the EPA regarding dissemination of their research findings. This restriction of the sharing of information with both the public and other scientists has created a massive hole in one of the most important steps in the scientific method.

The people of the science community declared their disapproval of the turn in national government scientific policy by their signage. The motto of the movement was, “Science not Silence,” but there were multiple additional protesting statements. One blow directly to the Trump administration was the “I’m with Her” sign that depicted Mother Earth but had correlations to Hillary Clinton’s campaign mantra.

VHS senior and Washington D.C. march participant Anna Shea was inspired by the Clinton sign and had her own: “Mother knows Best.” Anna stated that her sign had the message that “it’s the Earth’s world and we’re just living in it, so we really have no right to inflict the amount of harm that we do on the environment.” Other signs stating “I cannot believe I am marching for facts” and “Science saves Lives” reinforce a disbelief by the marchers that simple scientific fact has become complicated by politics. As VHS senior and NYC march participant, Sally Short, plainly states, “When a scientists finds a cure or vaccine for a disease, it is tested again and again making sure this discovery is absolutely true. Then people flock to their doctor’s offices to get treatment or a vaccine for their disease. When scientists say climate change and global warming are real, people choose to disbelieve it. Why is it that there are some people willing to trust scientists that cure diseases but not ones that want to cure the earth?”

As a follow up to the March for Science and as a continued push for public pressure on elected officials to hear their concerns, the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice was held on the 100th Day of the Trump Administration, Saturday, April 29, 2017.  Its  purpose is to demand advanced solutions to the climate crisis rooted in racial, social and economic justice. This march further exemplifies that environmental issues are a part of every area of society by  extending past environmental resolutions and calling for social reform as well.

 

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Mother Nature’s Representatives Speak Up