Sunday, April 23, 2017

"March for Science" Protests Spread Across America for Earth Day

Earth from Space with Stars

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey Flickr Page:

The old button from the Environmental Club days which I just happened to find on Earth Day! It is a little beat up (particularly the ends of the ribbon), but no worse for the wear, I think. And it is one of the few items that I have left from those days, so it carries a lot of great memories for me! Nothing Changes Until You Do!

Here is a picture of a very similar logo, with the same message, that was on the t-shirt that I purchased from the BCC Environmental Club and, if memory serves me correctly, may even have helped to make. There were a few projects like that which club members, myself included, were regularly involved with. It has been so long, however, that I no longer recall specifically if I actually helped to make these or not, although I do believe so, since I remember seeing the process of the t-shirts being dyed. In any case, I loved this t-shirt, and have kept it ever since, even if I do not regularly wear it. Since it was part of my experience with the BCC Environmental Club days, as well as more generally having an environmental theme, it seemed appropriate to share it here. 

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed."

~Mahatma Gandhi

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
~John F. Kennedy  

There were "March for Science" protests around the country yesterday, although the biggest one took place in the nation's capital. Still, it was estimated that, in fact, well over 600 protests for science took place across the country yesterday.

Definitely a positive sign.

Bill Nye (the Science Guy) tried to articulate the message of the protests. He said that "science and the useful arts" are a strong tradition in America, even to the point of being embedded in the Constitution. But he suggested that science is under attack like never before:

"Yet today we have active politicians deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science. Their information is misguided," he said.  

"Our numbers here today show the world that science is for all."


Cody Echert, a comnsultant from Arlington, Virginia (near Washington, D.C.) expressed his views to NBC News:

"We are in a system where science is thought of as a joke or a belief." 

"But science is facts and it's reality. To deny reality and deny facts is absurdity and I refuse to live in a system that's absurd."

Denis Hayes, president of The Bullitt Foundation and an original coordinator of the first Earth Day way back in 1970, felt that this march was especially relevant right now, when an anti-science spirit seems to prevail at the highest echelons of government in Washington, and perhaps especially in the White House. He said:

"America has had 45 presidents but it has never before had a president who is completely indifferent to the truth," said Denis Hayes, president of The Bullitt Foundation and a coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970."

President Trump's administration tried to fight insinuations that they are anti-science in a statement released yesterday:

"Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. 

"My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate."

This seems more than a little disingenuous, coming from a president who claims that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to hurt America's economy, and who explained his own scientific beliefs about how hairspray used inside of the home cannot possibly hurt the outside environment. There are plenty of other science deniers who agree with him on those issues, however, and many feel that creationism should be taught on an equal footing in our schools with evolution. 

Hayes clearly expressed cynicism towards the position on science held by Trump and his administration:

“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-environmental agenda. He’s basically trying to roll back everything that we’ve tried to do in the last half-century.”

For my part, I regretfully did not attend any protests yesterday. However, this was not because I did not want to, but was the result of some pressing personal business that needed to be attended to. But I honestly would have loved to go to one of these protests with my son, one of those who will inherit the future.

Despite my own absence, however, I feel that the protesters are absolutely right, and that President Trump and his party, who now control all three major branches of government, are a very serious, even grave, threat to science and intellectual honesty and integrity in general. We need more protests and activism like this, and we need real people showing that Trump not only does not represent all of America, but that his destructive policies and anti-science approach will not go unchallenged.

Some of the protesters suggested that they are the real patriots, and I agree. Often times, those who speak scary or harsh truths that not everyone wants to hear are accused of "hating America" or of being anti-patriotic. However, what can possibly be more patriotic than actually truthfully and openly examining the issues and problems that the country faces, and trying to take a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach? These people are trying to address the problems that the country is facing before they spiral out of control and become crises. 

On this, the day after Earth Day, I applaud the protesters, and stand by them in spirit, if not in body.

The following are the two articles that I obtained much of the information and quotes used for this particular blog entry:

Scientists, Feeling Under Siege, March Against Trump Policies By NICHOLAS ST. FLEURAPRIL 22, 2017:

March for Science Demonstrators Say They’re the Real Patriots by MAGGIE FOX, April 22, 2017:

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