Science Takes Starring Role for Earth Day 2017

The view of Earth from orbit is never the same – from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, NASA says. This iconic image of the "Blue Marble" was composed in 2002 from an image originally captured from the moon in 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 mission. (Image by NASA's Earth Observatory)


WASHINGTON, DC, April 21, 2017 (ENS) – In celebration of Earth Day 2017, Earth Day Network and Google are joining together to spread knowledge and content about environmental issues and Earth Day events to mobile devices, desktop computers and into people’s homes.

Earth Day Network will be posting directly on Google Search for the days surrounding Earth Day, April 20 through 23. Content will change eight times a day and will include videos, important information, and Earth Day messages as well as a broadcast from the Earth Day March for Science on the George Washington Monument Grounds in Washington DC on Saturday, April 22.

The view of Earth from orbit is never the same from minute to minute. This iconic image of the “Blue Marble” was composed in 2002 from an image originally captured from the moon in 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 mission. (Image by NASA’s Earth Observatory)

Just Google “Earth Day” and watch as the customized user experience comes alive.

“Google continues to astonish us with their innovation,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, “and we hope that together we can bring Earth Day and environmentalism into more people’s lives and encourage deeper exploration of today’s world.”

Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 50,000 partners in nearly 200 countries to build environmental democracy.

More than one billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

The importance of science is the central idea that animates all activities this year on Earth Day’s 47th anniversary, April 22.

A worldwide March for Science will take place in more than 500 locations to counter the denial of well-established climate science and other scientific facts affecting the environment.

Marches for Science are happening in Washington and in 517 communities across the United States and around the world, including in: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, and throughout the European Union.

Each satellite march is organized independently, but all are united under shared principles and goals. Click here to read the Marchers’ Pledge.

In Berlin, Germany, March for Science participants prepare their signs. April 20, 2017 (Photo by Manuel Krane/Freie Universität Berlin)

“We are growing a global grassroots movement for science, and we are all in this together,” say the March for Science organizers.

“We’re excited for this event that brings together people from all walks of life to stand up for science together,” said Valorie Aquino, co-chair of the March for Science. “Through my work as a scientific researcher, I see how sound science and the relationship of science’s services to society are at risk.”

“Science can improve and save lives, and that’s why scientists, doctors, mothers and fathers, teachers, students, and concerned folks around the globe feel compelled to act on April 22. So much is at stake,” said Aquino, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

“It is no coincidence that Earth Day, April 22, marks the March for Science and the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network.

“Since its inception, Earth Day has served as a day of action and mobilization. Without science, there would be no Earth Day, which is why Earth Day Network is partnering with March for Science for the Earth Day March for Science Rally and Teach-Ins on the National Mall,” Rogers said.

Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, has 20 years experience as an environmental attorney and advocate. (Photo courtesy Earth Day Network)

Using the teach-in concept deployed during the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network and the March for Science are co-organizing a rally and teach-in on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The rally and teach-in will focus on the need to hold political and scientific leaders accountable to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, and integrity.

Speeches and trainings with scientists and civic organizers, musical performances, and a march through the streets of the nation’s capital are all on the agenda. In Washington, DC, the crowd will gather at 8:00 in the morning at the Washington Monument, and the teach-in will begin at 9:00.

March for Science organizers say they want a wholly peaceful expression of the marchers’ support for science and do not condone violence. “We value inclusion, diversity, equity, and access,” organizers declare. “We do not condone harassment within or without the March for Science community. This includes expressions of sexism, ableism, racism, xenophobia, intolerance regarding religious, agnostic and atheistic beliefs, and other forms of abuse in person, online, or in signage.”

“We request that supporters at the D.C. march and satellite marches respect all relevant laws where they are participating as they exercise their right to assemble, speak out, and petition their leaders for change,” the organizers say.

One important change the Earth Day Network is seeking is for the Trump administration to reconsider its threat to back out of the Paris Agreement on Climate, unanimously agreed by world leaders in December 2015. It took effect at record speed in November 2016.

The Earth Day Network is gathering signatures on a petition to the Trump administration to support the Paris Agreement.

In a message today, the Earth Day Network said, “The United States was a leader in crafting the historic Paris Climate Agreement – now the Trump administration is reviewing whether or not to back out of it. It’s up to us to urge U.S. leaders to maintain our momentum in this vital climate accord.”

University of Georgia marine biologists James Hollibaugh and Sylvia Schaefer found that rising water temperatures could disrupt ocean food webs and lead to the release of more greenhouse gases. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/University of Georgia)

“The Paris Agreement unites all nations around a common cause for our planet – to reduce the pollution changing the Earth’s climate and causing dangerous global warming that affects human health and our environment… “The United States can’t afford for other countries to take the lead on the new climate economy, and the world cannot afford for the United States to abandon its role as a global leader in meeting this challenge,” said the Earth Day Network.

Ken Kimmell, president of the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, is a former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the first U.S. cap-and-trade program to cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Reacting to President Donald Trump’s March executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first-ever limits on global warming emissions from power plants, Kimmell said, “We estimate the cumulative effect of repealing the Clean Power Plan and the vehicle standards will be a nine percent increase in energy-related emissions in 2030, or 439 million metric tons. That means emissions will go up in the U.S., just when the rest of the world is transitioning to a cleaner, healthier economy.”

“This is terribly irresponsible. But it won’t alter the scientific reality – that climate change is real, already happening, caused by burning fossil fuels, and requires immediate action to limit its worst impacts,” said Kimmell.

Scientific organizations partnering with the March for Science are stressing the need for scientists to connect more directly with policymakers and the public both now and in the future to build support for science and explain its value for society.

More than 220 organizations, representing many leading scientific organizations and academic research powerhouses, are supporting what has grown into a global event.

“We can’t simply sit back complacently and assume that everyone understands how valuable science is for the economy, for national security, for environmental sustainability, for human health and the list goes on,” said Eric Davidson, president of the American Geophysical Union, and a biogeochemist by training. AGU and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are among science organizations that have partnered with the march.

“We live now in an age where scientists do have to become engaged in the communication of the value of their science,” Davidson said. “I see this march as a watershed moment where we really focus on that, emphasize how important it is and that we do have a voice and need to use it effectively.”

Another supporter of the March for Science is Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., head of the Hip Hop Caucus, who is marching in support of black scientists.

Sandia National Laboratory materials scientist Jon Madison was named Black Engineer of the Year 2013 (Photo by Randy Montoya)

“From George Washington Carver to Mae Jemison African American scientists have made tremendous contributions to America since its inception. That is why it is imperative and critical for the Hip Hop Caucus and young people of color to not only stand up for scientists but to ensure that their work is protected and respected for future generations,” Yearwood said.

“We march for countless individual reasons, but gather together as the March for Science to envision and sustain an unbroken chain of inquiry, knowledge, and public benefit for all,” said March for Science organizers.

Yet the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) is warning that contrary to the March’s stated aims, some people still believe that the March is a partisan statement.

CSLDF has seen well-meaning scientists and academics experience problems after advocating for science or taking a personal political stance, so the organization has suggestions for scientists to help them avoid ending up in the political crosshairs.

First, scientists must separate their work and private lives. They must participate in demonstrations as private citizens and make statements on their own behalf, and not on behalf of their employers.

Maintain distinct personal and professional email accounts. Even discussions with work colleagues about the March should take place via private email. Engage in organizations or discussion about the March after work hours.

Check out whether your institution or employer is supporting the March. The best approach is to directly ask the employer.

Do not use government-funded computers, printers, or other supplies to prepare for the March. When marching, says CSLDF, do not wear a university sweatshirt or a work-issued lab coat.

Click here for a complete list of suggestions.

Potential scientists of the future are fascinated by the chemistry lab at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (Photo by Desirae)

March for Science organizers say they are taking a decisive step “toward ensuring a future where the fullness of scientific knowledge benefits all people, and where everyone is empowered to ask new scientific questions.”

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, and a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Bill Clinton, is supporting the March for Science.

“Scientific research is critical to ensuring that our water is safe to drink, our food is safe to eat, our air is safe to breathe and that our environment is free of toxic chemicals,” she said. “It is essential to helping us understand and respond to the effects of climate change and plan for its impacts on people, communities and wildlife.”

“Put simply,” said Clark, “the public benefit of sound science is immeasurable. Yet science is being attacked by those who don’t like or don’t agree with what we’re learning.”

Marches have already begun.

In San Francisco, residents and grassroots groups from urban, rural, and Indigenous communities most harmed and at-risk from pollution will lead a major protest today at noon beginning with a rally in front of EPA Region IX at 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco.

Organizers say they are already suffering from pollution and injustice, and they are alarmed by the Trump administration’s attacks on environmental protection, health, and justice.

Over 62 diverse organizations including community, Indigenous, environmental justice, climate, health, and environmental groups are joining together in the Earth Day Action for Environmental and Climate Justice.

The rally will be followed by a march to the Federal Building to demand that the Trump administration expand, not cut, the US Environmental Protection Agency and federal and state environmental laws and regulations. The demonstrators are demanding that U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt be fired for his denial of the well established facts of climate change and his support of slashing his own agency’s staff and budget.

The crowd will demand the removal polluters and billionaires from Trump’s cabinet. They want an end to Trump’s attacks on immigrant communities, Indigenous sacred sites, civil rights, and justice. Instead, they are calling for support of public health, science, and justice.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2017. All rights reserved.


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