Went to the March for Science Chicago today. Saw many great signs — in fact, here’s one observation: scientists are big on clever signs, and not particularly into chanting. So it was a quiet, polite, and civilized march. Not as many came out as for the March for Women — but then, so much else is going on right now ….
Once again, a glorious day in Chicago for a protest march. Couldn’t ask for nicer. And we actually marched: it wasn’t just a stand. Marching is nice: a lovely walk with several thousand of your closest friends concerned about the same thing: data, the planet, evidence-based decision-making, climate change, the weather, new cures for whatever ails us, and so forth.
The fact that these marches happened all over the world is not just dismay over the current political situation in the United States — though that is a large part of it. It’s a global dismay that our dear leaders are not valuing science to any great degree. What is valued is money and corporate power. Art and science are getting left behind. And our world may not survive that choice.
When we can’t do anything about climate change at a governmental level, it’s left to individuals to make choices to protect the environment: and while individuals can do a lot, they cannot do it all. It is more powerful when the governments come in and prevent corporate entities (and themselves) from pushing harmful emissions into the air — and when the push for non-harmful, green efficiencies come not just from consumers but from government standards.
Plus, what good does cutting funds to the Center for Disease Control bring? More people dying from preventable illnesses, less tracking of epidemics, less support for communities experience epidemics: more death.
Add in the EPA, the NIH, the NSF, NOAA, NASA … and the consequences are damning. More people will die who needn’t have died. More people will have less quality of life than need be.
Bottom line, this world is going to suck if we don’t do something. Stand up and march, write your legislators, stop using plastic bags, take public transportation, ride your bike — but we need to keep funding research and we need to have government regulation to prevent disaster.
The Dark Ages were not man’s finest hour. Let’s not return to them.