According to a live running list of Trump’s actions pertaining to the environment by National Geographic, the administration means to go “back to basics” in their environmental agency and action. However, many—including an environmental scientist who retired from the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of March— see this idea as a less inflammatory phrasing of “working to dismantle EPA and its staff as quickly as possible.” After all, just a few days ago, the advisors and Cabinet members of Trump’s administrators agreed to discuss the possibility of the U.S. leaving the Paris Agreement, which happens to be the first legal and universal global climate deal. While this particular discussion did not have any foreseen effects on the EPA, established proposed cuts and the strongly established sentiment exemplified by this development seem to ensure a future where the Environmental Protection Agency is drastically reduced. Thus, one can see the logic in the growing anxiety, especially within the scientific community, with every cut that is to be made.
Coincidentally, now fast approaching is the arguable zenith of the yearly cycle of environmental and scientific fervor. After all, the month of April, the beginning of spring—plausibly the easiest period to garner support for the newly beautified landscape—is the official Earth Month. April 22, more specifically, is Earth Day, and also holds the March for Science. National Parks Week in fact ends on the 23rd of April, and the People’s Climate March takes place just a week following the March for Science on April 29th.
With the abundance of available science-themed events, and the rather controversial current political climate to boot, one would think that a growth of support for the scientific community would be a given. After all, not only can most of the country unite behind the platform of opposition to the current chief-of-staff, but also they can now pick a flower and snap photos of a cherry blossom during their participation in a march. However, outside the scientific community, there has been little to no buzz following these events at all. Why, with issues as well-known and controversial as those contained in science—climate change, sustainable energy, protection of National Parks against oil drilling—would there be so little care for the events that could prompt positive action? Why does nobody know?
Simply: as a nation, we don’t care as much. Like it or not, those issues that directly touch and affect our lives are the issues that garner the most note. Women’s equality, economic policy, and foreign policy all seem much more immediate than the improvement of a decaying environment, or even the direst threats of climate change. While by no means are the issues above less or more important, they attract much more attention due to their intrinsic link to everyday occurrences, as well as simply having more media coverage. The scientific causes for the most part lack this relationship, and therefore lack support. Regardless of the intellectual belief of the importance of scientific action and support, emotional priorities allow these scientific dilemmas to take a backseat to the flashier, more present problems. As a nation, we don’t mean to not care as much. It just sort of happens.
However, America needs to care more about its natural landscape. It needs to care more about scientific research and developments, and it needs to care enough to mobilize in their vital protection. The political problems concerning science are still issues of gravity, so a move towards a lifestyle where the immediacy of these issues is more emphasized is necessary.
And how does somebody make the wide world of science a larger participant in their daily life? Dive into science. Spend time in nature. Find the parks and protected areas around you, and educate yourself on the plants and animals there. Learn about the effects of the wildlife in the area; learn what would be missing without them. Engross yourself with the wild, natural culture of the region where you live. Keep up with scientific news and new discoveries. Be aware of the issues facing your area and around the world scientifically. Donate to wildlife protection funds. Care. Anything that allows the progress and well-being of science and nature to inhabit a place in your life allows science to become more important in your life. And then, only then, will we begin to see impassioned action and protection of the science and of the environment. And only then will we be able to change America.