March for Science, the Climate Program

March for Science and Earth Day 2017, Washington DC, Climate Program

In short, it is going to take a lot of work by a lot of people on all levels to move forward the funding of science and progress in preventing climate change. Calling your congress people, and voting are crucial. I like the local approach of finding science funding and environmental threats in your district to communicate with your representatives. For those of us in Universities or Labs, the whole system has to speak out, in order to take the pressure off of individuals. You can also speak out through funding environmental and science organizations. And individual actions, and community education and action are a necessary part of the whole.

Derek Mutter was the master of ceremonies to introduce the speakers. Here are short descriptions of the speakers, and some key motivations of their talks.

Prof. Michael Mann, an inventor of the Hockey Stick graph of CO2 and world temperature rise, seemed to still be in good humor. He was one of a few climate scientists that had to bear the brunt both as a scientist and personally of the cruel anti-climate science forces, which are well funded by the fossil fuel oligarchs.

James Balog, who sets up cameras at major glaciers around the world and records their melting. He says that we have an inalienable right to clean air and water. He added, that “we will never, ever surrender”.

Mark Tercek of the Nature Conservacy spoke. Today’s cars are 99% cleaner than when the clean air act was passed. Scientists have to get engaged in politics and to speak up. Call your congressman. (I would add that educating people is a multiplier, when they then speak up.)

Heidi Cullen serves as Chief Scientist for Climate Central, and started the first Climate show on the network.

Brook Bateman of the National Audubon Society spoke. (I saw a documentary on Audubon’s life and dramatic paintings of American birds. During his lifetime, the destruction of the American forests into fields was very disappointing to Audubon as he saw the destruction of birds and other wildlife.)

Julia Olson of Our Children’s Trust is suing the government to guaranteeing our children a decent environment. This will happen by reducing our greenhouse gases to 350 ppm CO2 equivalent. In the court, they will point out that “alternate facts” are perjuries.

Rachel Kyte of Sustainable Energy for All said that renewable energy is now available to the poor around the world who earn less than $2 a day. We should have energy access for all.

Snowboarder Elena Hight of Athletes for the Earth showed a movie o the importance of watching the effects of climate through snow.

Dr. Joe Romm, a physicist and founding editor of spoke. That is an excellent source for scientific treatment of climate science issues. He talked about “Nerd Power”. He pointed out that the countries founders were scientists. Washington started as a surveyor. Jefferson said that “Science is my passion, but Politics is my duty”. He ended with the “live long and prosper Nerds” Star Trek salute.

Anousheh Ansari, astronaut and CEO and co-founder of Prodea Systems, who came from Iran, emphasized that science does not discriminate on the diversity of who practices it. She said that our planet is so beautiful from space, and that you see no borders. We have to protect it.

Rush Holt, CEO of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), was a Congressman for four terms. He was a Physics Professor, and an Administrator for a National Lab. He said that science needs ample public funding to thrive. Scientific evidence is the only way to make public policy. Science is our governments best friend.

Amy Purdee of Athletes for the Earth showed the beautiful scenery of snowboarding.

Christiana Figueres was the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. She is the convener for Mission 2020, and is concerned with food security. We know that climate change is here. The US just achieved that ½ or our energy is renewable. (I’m not sure that I heard that right.). India’s goal is 60% renewable in 10 years. China closed their last coal plant around Beijing. We have to bend the curve of emissions by 2020. Our kids may ask us “what did you do?”

Pope Francis sent out a tweet:
Lord, bring healing to our lives,
That we may protect the world
And not prey on it,
That we may sow beauty,
Not pollution and destruction.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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