Nearly everything we encounter, every day, has its roots in public funding of science. Did you eat today? Thank your government for funding agricultural research that makes food safe and plentiful. Take a pill for those springtime allergies? Thank your government for funding medical research. Enjoying clean drinking water and smog-free air? Thank the ever-vilified EPA for enforcing regulations that keep us healthy (and their continued research to learn more about our environment). Without government investment in science, there would be no internet to lead you to this blog. If we are to continue advancing technology, learning more about our world, improving human health, and conserving the Earth, we need federal science funding. Despite this, the administration's budget deals a whopping $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health and a 31% cut to the EPA, jeopardizing every citizen's health.
In addition to continuing funding for science, we must craft policy informed by science. Despite decades of research, overwhelming evidence, and worldwide consensus and commitments, those in power in the US seek to dismantle nearly every safeguard we have against climate change. If nine doctors tell you that heart problems are imminent if you continue eating hamburgers every day and one doctor tells you that, in fact, you can eat even more burgers and you'll be fine, what will you order for lunch tomorrow (metaphor brought to you by federally-funded medical research)? Legislation that ignores climate science for the sake of political ideology both puts our country at long-term risk for environmental and financial loss, and increases shorter-term health consequences of increased pollutant emissions.
Beyond the budget cuts, our current leaders also seek to de-legitimize science. Instead of crafting evidence-based policy, they choose to uphold a world view that attacks scientists and scientific discovery, relying on "alternative facts" whenever evidence disagrees with ideology.
My education is made possible by federal science funding; these issues are personal. Many of our friends and family will survive an illness cured by federally-funded research; these issues are personal. Most of you reading this will have to deal with the effects of a changing climate; these issues are personal.
I am a scientist. I resist. I march for my future. I march for your future. I also march to show that I am a citizen, just like you. I am honest in my research and accessible. This Earth Day, Saturday the 22nd, my voice will join those of thousands of scientists and allies who are fighting back. I invite you to join me.
Check https://www.marchforscience.com/satellite-marches/ for information on a march near you.