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Earth Day was initiated on 22nd April 1970 when 20 million Americans took to streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Heady days indeed in those days. But now, we have newly elected President Donald Trump threatening to rescind all gains made to reduce dangerous climate change pollutants and pushing for “full steam ahead” for coal to provide energy. 

And that same President blaming climate change as a plot by the Chinese to take jobs away from America. China has denied, and so goes the political tennis ball hit back and forth oven the ever more sagging net of our environmental requirements. 

Perhaps a bit of intravenous revival was given to the most recent Earth Day with the glimmer of a revival of “science” to guide conservation policies. But still we have the current employees of political expediency sitting in the driving seat of the bus.

 Truth be told, governments like to use “science” to guide policy as long as such “science” fits expedience. That means that governments maintain lists of “good scientists” providing information “acceptable” to them and then ignore all others.

Remember Galileo? The scientist who said the Earth revolved around the Sun? He was right of course, but he was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", and forced to recant. He then spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Perhaps Galileo was the first to suffer from what is now called “alternative truth”.

Consequently and sadly, many “scientists” these days continue to be greatly influenced by their “masters” – their funders. Objectivity goes out the window when confronted with the prospect of poverty caused by loss of funding.

The general public still seems to believe that Science is good and incorruptible. Sadly, it is not. 

So- how do we go forward?

We should insist on scientific evidence of course, and make a differentiation between “good science” and “bad science”. 

 Difficult? Not really – just look at who pays the scientists.

 As in the scientists who say smoking is good for you paid for by the tobacco companies? And the scientists who say there is no evidence that global warming has human causes paid for by the energy corporations? And those scientists who say that trophy hunting conserves endangered wildlife paid for by the likes of Safari Club International, the Dallas Safari Club, the European Conseil Internationale pour la Chasse?

The march for science is a great initiative.  We should all get behind it – perhaps then good science will win? 

 

Picture credit – guardian.com

 

Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 18:27