Earth Day 2017, in 480 cities across the globe, scientists, science advocates, and environmental champions will come together in a united movement to defend science and the role it plays, or should play, in guiding our health, safety, environmental, economic, and government policies.
The movement, is the March for Science.
The March for Science is, at its origins, a clear and direct response to Trump’s election, his cabinet appointments, the apparent dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency, proposed budget, and rhetoric in general.
While the intentions of the March for Science remain true to its genesis in the political sphere, organizers have taken a non-partisan stance and positioned the movement to be, on a greater level, simply about supporting evidence-based policymaking. In direct contrast to evidence-based policymaking, there’s this:
March 9, 2017 – In a sharp break with scientific consensus, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that carbon dioxide’s role in the Earth’s changing climate remains unclear. U.S. and international scientists have repeatedly connected rising carbon emissions to the Earth’s changing climate. A 2014 review by the National Academy of Sciences, the United States’ preeminent scientific advisory body, observed that the Earth’s warming since the 1970s “is mainly a result of the increased concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.” – National Geographic
That, among other issues, is precisely why it is so important for scientific community and its advocates to stand together and start this movement for the sake of the planet and the policies it deserves. Apart from electing a climate change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency, here’s a small snapshot of what else has been going on.
The First 100 Days
- President Trump signed executive orders approving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines
- ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was confirmed Secretary of State
- The Trump administration calls to exit the Paris Agreement
- A resolution is signed rolling back an Obama-era rule that gave the Bureau of Land Management power to conserve public lands for future use
- The Environmental Protection Agency begins withdrawing and rewriting the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, frozen construction of new plants and replaced them with vast new wind and solar farms
- Trump lifts the ban on leasing federal land for coal production, while House Joint Resolution 38 scraps an Obama administration environmental rule to protect waterways from coal mining waste and begins dismantling the Clean Water Rule
- Scott Pruitt rejects a decade-old petition asking that the EPA ban all use of the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos
- The EPA begind moves to reconsider and rollback vehicle fuel efficiency standards set forth by the Obama administration
- EPA withdraws a request for more detailed information on oil and natural-gas facilities aimed at better tracking the industry’s methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions
- The first preliminary budget under Trump outlines deep cuts to U.S. science and environmental agencies, specifically the EPA and NOAA, in an effort to increase defense spending by $54 billion
- The EPA’s Office of Science and Technology even went as far as to remove the word “science” from its mission statement
If you’ve been paying attention, this is what it looks like to undo 8 years or more of environmental protection progress in less than four months. For more on how the Trump administration is attacking science and the environment, visit National Geographic’s running list of issues.
I get it that every presidency is a push and pull, forward and backward, between conservative and liberal agendas. And when it comes to tax plans, what’s done can always be undone and vice versa. But at this stage in the game for what’s at stake environmentally over the next 50 years, we’re already beyond when serious, dramatic global action should have taken place. 4 to 8 years of these types of environmental moves, could push the planet to a place that cannot be undone. A place that cannot be preserved.
March for our winters. March for our coral reefs. March for our mountains, for our sharks, and for our marine invertebrates. March for our polar bears, our glaciers, and our ice caps. March for our kids and their chance at experiencing a pristine planet. March for science.
Can’t make this Saturday’s March for Science? Don’t fret, there’s another march next weekend, which may potentially be even bigger. That is the People’s Climate Movement.
Mark your calendars.
Let’s hope this is the year that American policy makers begin respecting the scientific community. And taking action to protect and preserve the environment becomes not a political issue, but a human issue.