Note: the views expressed here are only mine, and not necessarily the opinions of anyone else on this site or the University of Utah.
One plus two equals three. The global sea temperature is rising. Han Solo shot first. Some things are true no matter how you look at them, and we call those facts. Indeed, 2016 is officially the hottest year on record, and I wrote all kinds of horrifying statistics about global warming in a past article. I promise you, climate change is not a Chinese hoax. We’ve reached a point where the problem is here and now, and we need to do something drastic if we don’t want New York City to be underwater in less than a century.
Are you scared yet? That’s not really what I’m going for, because all hope is not yet lost. But something that is worrying me and a lot of people is the Trump Administration’s ambivalence towards this issue. I don’t care what you think about his immigration or economic policies, because people can disagree on those political questions, but science isn’t political.
It was recently news that the new administration told many governmental organizations to stop giving data to the public. This included the Departments of the Interior, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and the EPA. Badlands National Park revolted, and continued to post climate change facts. However, this is not exactly how it happened. Every administration change comes with an order to stop releasing press until it can be okayed again by the incoming administration.
Am I trying to say that everything is okay and we shouldn’t be worried about the direction of science for the next four years? Absolutely not. As I will explain, I think there is a lot to be stressed about. I believe it’s important to have all the correct information, especially when the news seems to confirm what you already want to believe.
His pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, doesn’t believe in climate change either. He has worrisome connections to the oil industry. He also thinks the EPA has too much power, which is, you know, not a great sign.
Scientists are so worried about this that there is a Science March on Washington planned for Earth Day, that is akin to the Women’s March. An expected 800,000 people will attend. This isn’t meant to be a political march, the same way that this isn’t meant to be a political article. Science doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican.
So, as concerned citizens, what can we do? Follow what legislation is based on sound science, and call your senators to give them your opinions. Become a citizen scientist. Support scientific organizations. And most important of all, double and triple check everything you see on the news.