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The Doctor Is In





Why I Will March

 By Anastasia Rowland-Seymour

Some say scientists should not march because it will trivialize the importance of our work and marginalize us so that we are seen as just another group with a political agenda. Others suggest that to march will feed into a corrupted version of Science (with a big S) and perpetuate a broken system. Others still, muse about how science has become political with or without scientists consent, and there is a need to address that reality and speak up for objective evidence that influences policy.

It takes a lot to pull me away from my work of educating and taking care of patients. As my friends will tell you, something really has to be amiss for me to revisit my younger revolutionary days. I am appalled by the sheer number of alternative facts that are being bantered about as if they were real, and upon which our futures are being decided.

Since the beginning of the 45 administration, there have been an astounding number of occurrences that are adversely affecting science. The Union of Concerned Scientists has done a wonderful job of putting this list together: http://www.ucsusa.org/center-science-and-democracy/attacks-on-science?_ga=1.199671085.207693361.1491694751#.WOl4zBiZOYU

These are the reasons why I will march:

1) Under pressure from a DOW Chemical subsidiary, a nerve damaging pesticide- particularly harmful to children has been take off the ban list, and the EPA won’t be required to revisit the pesticide’s safety until 2022.

2) NASA Earth Science Missions are being defunded, which will impact the ability to accurately measure climate change and discern whether natural repositories for carbon dioxide are keeping pace with emissions or slowing down.

3) Deep cuts are occurring in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which likely will prevent accurate weather forecasting, undermining disaster management, and can affect our food supply.

4) Government agencies are being forced to withhold information from the public, which allows for policies to be put into place using alternative facts as evidence.

5) EPA Climate Change information removed or altered.

6) EPA contracts and grants were frozen, potentially violating the EPA scientific integrity policy.

7) EPA was blocked from sending staff to Alaskan conference on Climate Change.

8) Use of the Congressional Review Act is being planned to dismantle public health policies.

9) 45’s plan to require federal agencies to repeal two existing regulations for any one new regulation issued. This will be especially concerning for agencies that deal in public health regulations.

10) Media Blackout ordered days after the National Parks Administration posted side by side images of 45’s and Obama’s inaugural gatherings.

11) CDC cancels conference on climate control, setting a precedent for governmental agency self-censorship.

When I think of all of these actions, I am distressed that the new administration approaches scientific information as if it is fungible. “These attacks are so bad that even the most introverted scientists are gearing up to march.” That pretty much sums me up.

I plan to march, even if I end up being lumped into the group of ‘discredited scientists who cross the line of objectivity into the realm of activism’.

You might even hear me chanting, MARCHING, MARCHING, MARCHING ON!