PBS NewsHour Highlights Scientists Taking To The Streets And Running For Office To Protect Their Work

From the April 19 edition of PBS NewsHour

Video file

MILES O’BRIEN (SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT): Geoffrey Supran is a renewable energy modeler at MIT. He was there among a few hundred protesters in Copley Square, one of several protests staged by scientists since Donald Trump became president.

The administration has proposed double-digit cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health, and a 20 percent across-the-board cut to research on climate change.

GEOFFREY SUPRAN (MIT SCIENTIST): As scientists, it’s actually our responsibility, and as citizens, to warn the public when we see danger. You know, if you see something, say something. And we feel the civic duty.

O’BRIEN: The protesters here hope this rally is merely a prelude to something much bigger, a march en masse in Washington and hundreds of other cities all over the world on April 22. Kishore Hari is one of the organizers of the Earth Day events.

KISHORE HARI (MARCH FOR SCIENCE ORGANIZER): Science has been political since the time of Galileo. Nothing has changed between now and then. But it’s important that we are nonpartisan because this is a march for science, and that unifies everyone around the world.


RUSH HOLT (CEO, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE): This would be -- it’s purported to be a demonstration for science, the very idea of science, the essence of science. Isn’t that a wonderful idea?

NAOMI ORESKES (HARVARD SCIENTIST): This rally isn’t about promoting a particular policy. It’s about promoting the idea that the scientific enterprise as a whole improves our lives. … We lost the sense of a kind of civic obligation, or reciprocal obligation, that if we expect the taxpayer to pay for what we do, that we also should -- that they have an expectation that we should be spending time explaining it. And I think that breakdown, that reciprocal communication breakdown, has had real consequences in our lifetimes.

O’BRIEN: During that same time, the political pushback against science grew, whether the realm was evolution, acid rain, the ozone hole, or climate change.

ORESKES: The scientific community made a mistake in not taking that more seriously. And so now we’re in a situation where it’s become a crisis. And now the scientific community, I think, realizes that we have a very serious problem on our hands.

HOLT: Scientists, as a rule, are not comfortable being out there politically, but we should. Putting science into politics and into society is something that they can do and should do, probably must do.


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Quartz: The March For Science Isn’t About What You Think It’s About

NY Times: The Trump Administration’s War on Science


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