Censoring Science

Jan. 25, 2017

I really was trying to remain hopeful about this new administration, but after the first week, I am struggling to hold on to my hope. After the enormous efforts of many citizens to prevent it, the Keystone pipeline has been re-enacted. And after our brothers and sisters who occupy sacred lands in North Dakota put their bodies on the line as water defenders, the Dakota pipeline is now an executive order. The National Park service Twitter accounts were blocked, but many resisted by posting on personal accounts. Then today, January 25th, 2017, the Trump administration purged all information regarding climate change from the EPA websites.

A hallmark of fascism is censorship. I am trying to resist the notion that dark days are ahead, but each day of this administration brings an onslaught on science and censorship of scientists. And the irony is that I think they are beginning to believe their own spin and that 97% of the scientists on this planet are conspiring to create some kind of New World Order. Do they somehow believe purging the information will change the reality? Has anyone in this administration calculated the increasing costs of extreme weather on our continent? The increasing impact on the health of our citizens? The loss of life in tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires. The loss of crops and livestock to flood and drought.

The sad truth is, they are more concerned about the loss of profits to coal, petroleum and utility companies. Sustainable energy will create human-scaled economies that will cut out the middle men who are sucking the life out of this nation and out of the democratic process (though lobbying and campaign funding). Sustainable energy is true energy independence, but I hold little hope true energy independence will occur during this administration. “Drain the swamp”? He filled the swamp with big chomping alligators.   

I love my country, but this administration does not uphold the values of our founding fathers or the constitution. The first amendment in our Bill of Rights states the most basic freedoms of a democracy: freedom of religion (Trump is restricting immigration from Muslim countries), freedom of the press (Trump has taken away press passes from CNN and has discussed moving the press corps out of the White House), and freedom to assemble (many conservative state legislatures are working to make protesting against the law). I truly loathe to make this comparison because I think it is often over exaggerated, but this really is the way Nazi Germany began under Hitler, fascist Italy under Mussolini, and communism under the USSR. I don’t think I am overstating today. It is frightening. There won’t be any checks and balances until the mid-terms. And I do hope you show up to vote in the mid-terms.

I was heartened by the women’s marches this past weekend. There are more marches planned. Scientists will be marching as soon as a date is set. We cannot allow the censorship of science in our government. NOEA and NASA and NSF are most likely at risk next. I hope they are backing up their files as fast as they can before the heavy hand of Trump purges their data files. If the NSF, which funds so many graduate students, is censored, there will be a brain-drain in this nation. What next? Book burnings? 

Update: Congressional Republicans are working to declaw the Endangered Species Act that protects 1,600 species. According to the Federal Wildlife Service, which is responsible for enforcement of the act, the law was passed because “Congress…recognized that our rich natural heritage is of ‘aesthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.’