EPA Gag Order Forces Scientists To Plan Their Own March

by Jerriann Sullivan
Image via Twitter

EPA gag order prompts scientists to plan their own march

Get your sneakers and signs ready because there’s another march in the works. This time scientists (and anyone who cares about Mother Earth) will be taking to the streets to peacefully protest Donald Trump’s war on science — and facts.

“A number of people had the independent idea to have a March for Science on Washington and throughout the country,” Caroline Weinberg, a public health scientist and co-organizer of the march, told CNN. “We all connected through Twitter, as many of these things seem to start!”

“We are currently crafting a mission statement collaborating with a diverse group of scientists to ensure that our movement is all inclusive,” Weinberg explained. But the group has launched its website, Facebook group, and Twitter account. And science lovers in other cities like Seattle and Phoenix have already committed to marching locally to show solidarity with the scientists in D.C.

Organizers are still working on a date, but have narrowed their focus and goals for the march. “There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution,” their site reads. “Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable.”

Scientists were motivated to action when Trump’s administration told the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s main research branch to stop communicating with the public. Trump also issues a gag order for Environmental Protection Agency employees, who were told they couldn’t release information on social media or talk to the press without the administration’s approval.

Both gag orders are in direct conflict of everything scientists believe in. In fact, both agencies have scientific integrity policies that highlight the importance of transparency between the public and the scientific agencies that spend tax dollars conducting research, Mashable reported.

“Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics. Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy,” the organizers shared online. “This is a non-partisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science.”

If you’re thinking “wait, isn’t science apolitical” don’t fret because march organizers already addressed that saying, “Yes. The march is non-partisan, but it is absolutely intended to have an impact on policy makers.” They also noted who is invited to the march: “Anyone who values empirical science. That’s it. That’s the only requirement.”