Science rally held in Boston to oppose Trump's "anti-science" rhetoric
Hundreds of scientists congregated to protest President Trump’s “anti-science” rhetoric on Sunday, Feb. 19. They demanded that he begin tackling climate change instead of ignoring it and overturn his gag-orders on the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). Others were present to protest Trump’s selection of Scott Pruitt to head of the EPA. Pruitt has previously been publicly opposed to the EPA and environmental protection. The rally was held at Copley Square in Boston, just outside the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting.
Protesters held signs that read serious messages such as “Science Matters” and “Scientists Pursuing Truth, Saving the World,” and some with comical phrases like “Make America Smart Again.” One protester, Geoffrey Supran, said “We’re really trying to send a message today to Mr. Trump that America runs on science — it is the backbone of our prosperity and progress.” This science rally comes amidst several demographics, including women, Democrats, the LGBTQ community, and the latino community protesting some aspect of the Trump administration and its policies.
One of Trump’s first actions as president was to place a gag-order on the EPA, preventing it from communicating with the public. This falls in line with Trump’s views, as he has stated he believes global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese to weaken the American economy.
The Trump administration seems to care little for the environment. This is evident in its decision to allow construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline — the Obama administration had rejected its construction. Furthermore, the appointment of ExonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state confirms the new government’s rejection of clean energy initiatives.
It is generally accepted that this presidential term will be a challenge for the science community. For the first time in eight years, environmentalists will have to fight their government to protect the environment effectively. Governmental science organizations, such as NASA, can expect their budgets to be tremendously slashed, as Trump funds his other initiatives like the estimated $25 billion border wall and a costly mass deportation force.
The government has steadily reduced its scientific and technological research budget since the space race. NASA, for example, receives 0.5 percent of the federal budget at the moment. This trend will continue under Trump, squeezing researchers even more into the corner.
Despite the seemingly gloomy next four years for science, it has much to look forward to.