I’m deeply introverted with a profound need for a large buffer of personal space, but I had the good fortune to spend my day on Saturday at the March for Science in Washington, D.C. with several thousand other people – although rainy and not particularly warm, the vibe was overwhelmingly positive. Will it accomplish anything? Time will tell. And like all things, it will require continuing effort to keep the momentum going. But, to those who refer to it as a protest – it very much wasn’t – it was a promotion of science, critical thinking, evidence based policy making. Political? Perhaps – but scientific research often relies on public funding for public benefit, and public health, and environmental, policies are science based – politics cannot be ignored. And unfortunately, we have a entered a disturbing time where neither our legislative or executive branches seem to have much respect for, or use for science. Were some of the signs overtly political? Yes, but definitely not the majority. The speakers included a mix of Earth Day activism, but the message was overwhelmingly pro-science and pro-critical thinking.
It is critical to the planet, to other species, and to us humans that our long national descent into willful ignorance reaches its end. Honestly, this march was long-overdue. We have long been descending into the abyss, and something should have been done by those most qualified years ago. Perhaps that would have preventive things from reaching this point. Hopefully, this will serve as a wake-up call that we can’t sit around waiting for someone else to fix things. That the scientific conclusions cannot be left to speak for themselves when people, especially those responsible for policy, are actively refusing to to consider those conclusions as valid because the conclusions run counter to what they want them to be.
On Earth Day, even as the EPA is being gutted and environmental protections being rolled back, President Trump issued an Earth Day message that proclaimed his commitment to protect the environment despite quite a bit of evidence to the contrary, and stated that economic growth is beneficial to the environment. Even Richard Nixon was pragmatic enough to recognize that environmental regulation is necessary, and a number of businesses agree. Personally, I do not want to see a return to the pre-EPA state of the environment, and yet that is the path the we are heading down as a nation. The high levels of lead in the water in Flint are a direct consequence of letting politics and economics rule over environmental concerns.
It is past time to act, but hopefully it is not too late.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” — Jane Goodall
Here are a few of the pictures that I took at the march.