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Outdoors

March for Science

A push for climate control

Attend

What: Bellingham March for Science

When: 12 pm Sat., Apr. 22

Where: City Hall, 210 Lottie St.

Info: http://www.sciencemarchbellingham.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Late last week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt called for an exit from the climate change-related Paris Agreement.

Dubbed a “historic turning point” in the goal of reducing global warming by France’s foreign minister, the language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries—including the United States—and was adopted by consensus on Dec. 12, 2015. It was opened for signature at a ceremony in New York City on Earth Day 2016, and the agreement went into effect days before November’s election.

While nearly 200 countries are already acting to reduce their emissions by investing in renewable energy and other initiatives, Pruitt, a man hired to protect the environment, is instead questioning whether carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. This, despite the fact that 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past 100 years are extremely likely due to human activities.

On Sat., April 22, more than 500 cities around the globe—including Bellingham—will participate in the March for Science, in part to draw attention to the fact that when it comes to the environment, they’re more likely to believe scientists rather than politicians looking to lessen environmental restrictions for big businesses and cut funding for protections already in place.

“There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives,” Bellingham March for Science organizers say. “The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable. An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.

“Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics,” they continue. “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. This is a nonpartisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science.”

Before setting out on Saturday’s march, those in attendance in front of Bellingham City Hall will hear from retired naval aviator and NASA astronaut Captain Wendy Lawrence, who logged more than 50 days in space over the course of four shuttle missions. Additional speakers include Dr. Melissa Rice, an assistant professor of planetary science at Western Washington University and participating scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission, and Sonni Tadlock, a descendant of the Colville Tribe who serves as a liaison to indigenous communities, tribal colleges and universities, and tribal and state natural resource departments to facilitate community engagement with citizen science.

Following the one-mile march through downtown Bellingham, both scientists and science supporters can stick around for an interactive Science Fair, partake of food truck fare and discuss the next steps to protect this globe we call home. 

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