There are many mysteries in this world that we won’t be able to uncover them all in our lifetime. Many questions will remain unanswered because we aren’t meant to know the answers in the first place. But despite the uncertainties of life, we continue to live and enjoy everything that life has to offer. Many of our questions actually have to deal with science. It’s quite obvious from the very beginning as we question the beginning of the world and of life that baffles us the most.
It’s funny, though, that we tend to forget the very essence of life and our own mortality as technology advances. We feel superior above other species on the planet because we feel that we know the answer to all of life’s questions. Money and power have a lot to do with this power trip. And it also happens that Donald Trump somehow is the closest personification to this that we can all relate to.
Donald Trump may be the US’ first “post-fact” president, but is he also the first “post-science” president? And should we be alarmed?
Ask many in the scientific community in the United States, and the answer is a deafening “Yes”.
Ask anyone looking for US leadership to constrain the environmental harm being done by climate change, and you would be deafened, too.
Scott Pruitt, Trump’s appointee as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has sued the agency 13 times and repeatedly called for its dissolution. Its staff have created an “alt-site” to preserve data on global temperature trends in the face of threats to wipe government websites clean of such data.
Rick Perry, Trump’s new Energy Secretary, five years ago called for the Department of Energy to be disbanded. He is now tasked to head it.
The technological boom in the US, mainly from tech start-ups in Silicon Valley initially gained support from the US government looking for investments in the field of pure science. And over the years, the US has pioneered in many scientific and tech advancements that catapulted the country as a global scientific leader.
On Monday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt declined to renew the terms of nine of the 18 scientists on the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. According to an EPA spokesperson, this change was made in order to bring different scientists into the mix, including industry ones.
This dismissal, which is unprecedented in recent presidential history, represents yet another data point in the Trump Administration’s trend away from science as the backbone of the EPA and other key federal agencies. It is appropriate to have one representative from industry on the panel that reviews the EPA’s work — after all, those industry researchers know best how they will be affected by particular regulations.
But the remainder of the board should be made up of research scientists who understand the effects of chemicals and whose primary concern is ensuring standards that will not harm human health and the environment. Ongoing research and development cannot be dominated by those who have an economic interest in the outcome.
The dismissals are particularly troubling since they are one of a number of developments in an administration which appears to take a diminished view of science.
Aside from budget cuts including the EPA, the hiring of relatively junior and inexperienced scientists is detrimental to the environment and to America’s efforts in addressing global warming and climate change. After all, Trump has been quoted in the past to think of these issues as a mere hoax to get more money.
Two scientists who advised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have resigned over Donald Trump’s environmental policies.
Dr Carlos Martin, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, and Dr Peter Meyer, President and Chief Economist of The EP Systems Group, both resigned citing political reasons.
As Mr Martin told The Independent, he simply could “not be a future prop for bad science”.
Mr Martin posted their joint resignation letter on Twitter, and in it the pair said they felt the EPA was “watering down credible science” by putting politics where it did not belong.
On several occasions, Mr Trump has called climate a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese and is considering withdrawing the US from the global Paris Agreement on climate change. The US is one of the world’s top emitters of carbon dioxide.
Aside from the March for Science protest held last month, two EPA scientists also resigned from their post because they can no longer turn a blind eye to Trump’s disrespect of their cause and the lack of support they likewise receive especially when it comes to the funding important scientific programs.
The Trump administration continues to ignore the pressing issues of climate change but it does not mean it’s not real. We see and experience it first hand. Natural calamities get stronger each year and both lives and properties are lost to them in the absence of sufficient planning and preparation. We don’t want anything bad to happen to the country but we can’t help but wonder what the effects of Trump’s nonchalant attitude towards the sciences and how it will affect everybody’s lives over time.