March for Science – Earth Day 2017

 

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Hundreds of thousands marched worldwide in the first ever March for Science on Earth Day 2017 – capitalizing on the major science influence present at the 2014 People’s Climate March. The statement on the official March for Science site describes the march’s mission as the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.

Science March 4Many have characterized this march as non-partisan, however that’s not completely accurate since a fundamental driver for the Earth Day’s turnout is this particular US Administration. As the April 22nd NY Times headline reads; Scientists, Feeling Under Siege, Marching Against Trump Policies. The recent defunding of the EPA (31%) and cuts to National Institutes of Health (18%) are just a few examples of what the general, and scientific communities are responding to.

 

“Organizers said they hoped the day’s demonstrations result in sustained, coordinated action aimed at persuading elected officials to adopt policies consistent with the scientific consensus on climate change, vaccines and other issues.” –  NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR,  NY Times

 

Bill Nye the "Science Guy"

Bill Nye the “Science Guy”

Beyond the catastrophic realities of climate change and the relentless pace of environmental degradation evidenced worldwide, the Science March exposes the glaring challenge that must be acknowledged: an inability to communicate scientific ideas, triumphs and relevance to the average person. In other words, Science needs a PR firm. Stat.

Bill Nye, not surprisingly, was the man of the hour in DC on this momentous day. But why do we only think of Mr. Nye or Neil de Grasse Tyson in these moments? There are no less than 55 science expert speakers listed on the official site for the March for Science, however, news coverage focused nearly exclusively on Nye. Why? Because he is the one scientist most people know – and that’s disappointing.

“When you have people that don’t know much about science, standing in denial of it and rising to power – that is a recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy.”  – Neil de Grasse Tyson

photo courtesy of NY Sun Works

photo courtesy of NY Sun Works

Some of the lack of recognizable representatives for science can be traced directly to our inability to lift science education to the status it deserves. In NY public schools, science is not a required subject until third grade. I feel that students should be exposed to the most basic science, if not environmental science, beginning in kindergarten. Full disclosure: I work for a nonprofit, environmental science organization, (NY Sun Works). We use hydroponics and technology to educate students and teachers about the science of sustainability. These labs come with a K-12 environmental science curriculum. So, I’ve got ‘skin in the game’, as they say.

Marching with science teachers!

Marching with science teachers!

When addressing our NYSW partner school students, I try to get them to connect the dots between the technical science they are being exposed to in the lab and how it applies to their greater environment. In other words, every living thing is dependent on its particular ecosystem for survival. The same is true for humans. I’m not completely sure why so many of us selectively choose to deny this fact. We must embrace the reality that our greatest power and strength is housed in the inovative portion of our brains and has less and less to do with our brawn. Our current representatives do not appear to embrace this notion.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 10.20.32 PMIf you’re feeling hopeless and powerless, look for show times of the film TOMORROW in your area. The documentary film begins with the premise that there are no perfect democratic or economic models to address climate challenges throughout the world. Examples representing ‘power’ in this film are grassroots movements within autonomous communities and individuals taking matters into their own hands, managing their resources and future for themselves.

 

 

A young scientist represented at the March for Science, NYC

A young scientist represented at the March for Science, NYC

What can YOU do?

FlowerIconTinySupport education AND science education in particular. States are going to have to start stepping up as the Federal government withdrawals funding to vital educational programs. Go to naaee (North American Association for Environmental Education) for information and materials on how to most effectively petition your representatives for support. And promote girls in science whenever and wherever possible. Without the participation of girls in the discipline, we are utilizing only 50% or our potential.

FlowerIconTinyBe diligent and relentless in vetting products and companies before you support them or buy their product. Dig to discover their environmental footprint. Divestment can be personal. You don’t have to be on a corporate board to exercise your voice.

FlowerIconTinyBe vocal! It’s not enough to simply not buy that particular product – you also must let the company know why you are withholding your business.

FlowerIconTinyBe responsible to your personal environment. By not introducing toxins into your home, office…schools, you are taking the first steps to protecting the greater environment.

Be the Change!

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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

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