In Washington and around the country on Saturday, scientists and concerned citizens will march to defend science and champion its role at the heart of sound public policy.
As the event website puts it, “The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”
There are 14 satellite marches planned in Michigan. Click here to find one near you.
The marches come as many members of Congress and top federal officials—including the head of the Environmental Protection Agency—dismiss basic climate science. And they take place on Earth Day, which is appropriate, because we can’t protect life on the planet without the tools science provides to understand our world and develop solutions to environmental problems.
Good science is fundamental to our work at the Michigan Environmental Council. Time and again, MEC has partnered with university researchers and others to inject the latest science into debates at the state Capitol about policies that affect public health and our natural resources.
As we look forward to this weekend’s demonstrations, here are five examples of how science has played or is playing a central role in safeguarding the health of Michigan families and protecting the wild places and natural communities we have a responsibility to care for.
1. Dr. Mona’s simple experiment
There was nothing fancy about Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s experiment that proved Flint residents were being poisoned by lead-tainted water, but it was good science that had a huge impact. As we wrote in a piece about why MEC chose her as the recipient of our 2016 Helen and William Milliken Distinguished Service Award, “Hanna-Attisha ran a simple before-and-after analysis of hospital records, which revealed that children’s blood lead levels had doubled—or tripled, in some parts of the city—following the drinking water switch. She called a press conference to announce her findings, but state officials immediately tried to discredit her announcement in the media as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘near hysteria.’ A week later, they acknowledged that Hanna-Attisha’s findings were accurate—that, in the middle of the Great Lakes, an entire city’s drinking water had been poisoned.”
Fittingly, Hanna-Attisha has been named honorary co-chair of the March for Science.
2. Michigan scientists stand up for biodiversity
In the past two legislative sessions, MEC and allies have beaten back proposals that would have prohibited state agencies from designating land to protect biological diversity, even though science tells us diverse ecosystems are more productive and more resilient in the face of disaster and disease. Read more