2017 Boston March, photo by the author
“What do we want? Evidence-based science! When do we want it? After a peer review!”
Over 1 million people participated in the March for Science on April 22 (Earth Day), 2017. Three Deerfield students, myself included, attended the march in Boston, which had an estimated 70,000 attendees in total. This made for a powerful demonstration of support for science and education.
The movement’s mission states: “We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy-makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.”
After the appointment of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, many felt the need to speak out. Pruitt has stated repeatedly that he does not believe man-made carbon emissions are responsible for global warming, which is a scientifically inaccurate statement. Those responsible for protecting the environment cannot be in denial of its condition. (Please see our article on global warming for more information.)
President Trump’s initial federal budget proposal was also cause for concern. With massive cuts to EPA, the Federal Drug Administration, and the Department of Education, I believe speaking out continues to be vital. Regardless of one’s political background, it is apparent that the proposed cuts to science and education-oriented programs reflect a lack of concern. With the accelerated effects of global warming, committing to the goals of the Paris Agreement, funding education, and maintaining waste regulations are vital.
We need to support evidence-based thinking in our policies. The whole point of science is to eliminate bias by performing experiments over and over, constantly trying to disprove what we already know. Everything is asserted through a due process of reasoning, evidence, and statistics. This same system of thought is what the movement advocates. Science is a way to supercede party loyalty, not to reinforce it. Science is universal, and we need to start treating it accordingly.
If you would like to learn more, please visit www.marchforscience.com.
Published by Deerfield Academy's science journalism magazine Focal Point.