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article imageScience community fights back over Trump gag orders

By Karen Graham     Jan 26, 2017 in Politics
Scientists and citizens who believe in science all across the country are fighting back against the Trump administration's attempts to keep public-funded scientific research from the public, and they are using bold tools — running for office and marchin
Donald Trump has surrounded himself with cabinet picks that have repeatedly questioned or outright denied the science behind climate change and our environment and cast doubt on the many studies showing vaccines are safe. Trump's team has also frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency and gagged researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As the Los Angeles Times is reporting today, "Trump is at war with science and knowledge, and that should terrify you." Scientists from all fields, including medical doctors, chemists, hydrologists, nurses and other fields too numerous to mention, asked themselves: "What can we do?"
Political action committee formed
The answer was the formation of a new political-action committee called 314 Action. The goal is simple: Get elected. If you're wondering, the group takes its name from the first three digits of pi.
Founder Shaughnessy Naughton told the Atlantic, "A lot of scientists traditionally feel that science is above politics but we’re seeing that politics is not above getting involved in science. We’re losing, and the only way to stop that is to get more people with scientific backgrounds at the table.”
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314 Action
Naughton is a chemist and former breast cancer researcher and actually ran for Congress in Pennsylvania in 2014 and 2016. But she says her inexperience in politics led to her losing both primaries. This is why she created 314 Action.
“Partly, we’re making the case for why they should run — and Donald Trump is really helping us with that,” she says. “Then, we’re showing them how to run, and introducing them to our donor network.” The group also has a Twitter account, and while it was just formed, already has almost 5,000 followers.
Scientists' March on Washington
A few days ago, a Reddit thread was having a discussion on the changes being made to the White House web site. One commenter wrote: "There needs to be a Scientists' March on Washington."
That statement quickly turned into an initiative and a "March for Science." Scientists and ordinary people, from journalists to housewives and religious leaders chimed in with the comment: "I will march."
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March For Science
One commenter wrote: "PhD candidate in social science here. I agree with the comments about making the movement broader. A march for science, in general, can engage undergraduates and graduates in STEM and social science, policy makers, MDs, PhDs of all kind, lab staff, health care workers, environmentalists, citizens, and the list goes on. The message should be all inclusive about anyone who cares about or respects science. I will certainly be there and promote this to my network of scientists and students."
There is now a web page organizers have set up and a Twitter account called March For Science.
Now that scientists and like-minded people have begun organizing, keep in mind the importance of science in our everyday lives, and what will happen if we are not allowed access to the studies and research that explain what is happening in our world.
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March For Science
Alex Parker, an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., observed in a tweet this week: “Barring public communication from science agencies reduces their visibility, which masks their value, which makes them easier to dismantle.” We certainly don't want this to happen.
More about Scientists, Trump administration, taxfunsed research, Climate change, Vaccines
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