Science Matters

First they came for the climatologists, but I did not speak out because I was not a climatologist

There are many groups of people who are being affected by the actions of the first week of the new Administration, and scientists are among them. Donald Trump has signed executive orders calling on the EPA to remove their climate change information, halting the discussion of climate research on social media, and instigating an overall attack on the scientific foundation of the US government. Many of his supporters call it “reorganizing priorities,” but I’ll call it what it really is; a War on Science and Scientific Fact.

The War on Science is nothing new. It has been ongoing for decades. But, with the inauguration of Donald Trump, the War on Science and facts has been codified. So many groups have not seen as formidable and staunch an opponent as Trump all at the same time since, well, a long time. Trump is knowingly and actively incapacitating the US government by silencing scientists. This will invariably have a huge (yuge) impact on the US government’s ability to do absolutely anything.

Then they came for the ecologists, and I did not speak out because I was not an ecologist

Listen, I am not a scientist. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the significance of science on our nation’s ability to adapt, innovate, and continue our presence on the global stage. In 1957, the Soviet Union surprised us by launching the first man-made satellite into orbit. And since that day, the US has vowed to never let anyone surprise us again. The best way to keep from being surprised to be ahead of the curve at all times. With such efforts as the Manhattan Project, and Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, we solidified science and R&D as a foundational part of the government. The success of such scientific endeavors is not in the boot prints in the Sea of Tranquility, but in the technological developments that has made modern life easier, more accessible, and economically prosperous for people all over the globe. We cannot afford, literally and figuratively, to suspend the vital technological and scientific functions of government. To turn a blind eye to the fact that climate change is the Apollo of our time is to knowingly distort the truth, to benefit those that have and forsake those that have not.

Then they came for the astronomers, and I did not speak out because I was not an astronomer

Let’s not kid ourselves, “alternative facts” are lies. Plain and simple. To operate government on a set of fundamentally flawed and incomprehensibly stupid assumptions, as the Trump Administration is doing, is not to the benefit of anyone but those whose pockets are lined with oil and coal. Science has rarely been a political act in recent years, until now. So it’s on scientists and supporters of science to lace up and be ready for a long fight. The next two years won’t be easy, and we very well have an extremely difficult decade ahead of us, but we are not without a great cause.

There are already a number of great organizations that are working to fight for science during this Administration. 314 Action, named after the first three digits of pi, is one such group. Not to sound like too much of a plug, but these people are great. 314 Action is trying to do for scientists what EMILY’s List does for women; encourage more people to run for office. We need you, the scientists, to help inform government action. And not just as legislative assistants and panelists, but as the members themselves. As of today, I have donated $20.18 to 314 Action, to commemorate the year that I hope science will take back the Congress. Alongside that, there are activists across the country planning both a March for Science (TBD) and a People’s Climate March (April 29). I encourage you to get involved in any way that you can, lest our future become grimmer.

In 100 years, when Hurricane Sandy might look like a April shower, oil derricks lie derelict across Yellowstone, and there are only 49 states because Florida has been engulfed by rising sea levels, we will look back on today and ask what more we could have done. Let’s not ask that question. Let scientists of all walks and fields, from astronomy to zoology, biology to botany, ecology to oncology, join together with friends and allies in a united call for an end to the War on Science.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me