by Sukhmani Kaur
Since 1970, on April 22nd we have celebrated our Mother Earth and the beauty that we are fortunate to be surrounded with and live on. However, this year marked a special Earth Day Celebration. In 600 cities throughout the globe, thousands of people walked with uniquely shaped signs in the form of beakers or test tubes to raise awareness about an important subject that is unfortunately not being taken seriously by our government: Science! The goals for the march as directly stated on the March for Science website (www.marchforscience.com) include: “Science is first and foremost a human process — it is conducted, applied, and supported by a diverse body of people. Scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community. It is an enterprise carried out by people who seek to expand our knowledge of the world in the hope of building a better, more informed society. Our wealth of personal experiences and perspectives is our greatest strength. In putting the people who do science at the forefront of this discussion, we can show that scientists come from all cultural backgrounds, belief systems, orientations, genders, and abilities.”
Sadly, our leadership is denying climate change as being a real phenomenon. They refuse to believe the mountain of evidence that climate change is a result of man-made activities such as the of fossil fuel which has set into motion elements of climate change that will be responsible for huge changes in weather patterns, plant and animal habitats. When we use fossil fuels either coal or petroleum, it releases carbon dioxide, methane, or other green-house gases that all result in a gradual rise in the temperature. It is akin to having a thermal blanket around the earth. Carbon dioxide has been traditionally taken up by trees. However, human induced deforestation has reduced the beneficial effect of trees on carbon-dioxide levels. The warmer temperatures have resulted in melting of the polar ice caps and a rise in sea levels. Thousands of miles of coast, animals, plants, and humans are vulnerable to the rising waters. Climate change also have adverse effects on health including malnutrition, increase in respiratory and diarrheal diseases, and malarial borne diseases amongst others.
Western countries like the United States are some of the major producers of greenhouse gases. However, our administration refuses to give up the profits generated from fossil fuel businesses. They are attacking the evidence for climate change and called the March for Science a planned “political event.”
Scientists and supporters took to the streets with inspirational signs such as, “No Taxation without Taxonomy”, “Alternative are not statistically significant” and “What Do Want? Evidence. When do want it? After peer review.” Scientists wanted to galvanize support for their endeavors as they have witnessed millions of dollars of funding cut for research and scientific work. As James Balog, an ice photographer , said to a Washington crowd, “We shall never, ever surrender.”