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Minnesota: A lakeside view of climate change

To the land of 10,000 lakes next, where the March for Science, Minnesota tells us why they're marching for science.

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It’s often perceived that we must look to footage of falling ice shelves in the arctic or longitudinal photos of receding glaciers to see any visible evidence of the deleterious effects of our changing climate.

Further, there seems to be a persistent myth that those who haven’t studied in the climate sciences are unable to understand or gain sufficient evidence to believe that real, man-made changes to our global ecosystems are underway. 

Maybe this is because scientists have done a poor job communicating their work to everyday people.<strong>Science not Silence. </strong> Rather than functioning to promote the common good, science has been muzzled to further corporate interests. This Earth Day, march to show you demand policies based on the soundest science. Courtesy March for Science, Minnesota.

Or perhaps it is because influential policymakers have worked diligently to quiet the collective voices of the members of the scientific community.

But there is ready evidence, available to everyone, to support what scientists have been telling us about the reality of climate change.

One of our organizers, Satish Desai, shares his own experiences with watching his climate change before his eyes.

When I was in grad school, I would drive by a couple of wide, shallow lakes on my way into the lab. They were popular fishing spots.

One very hot summer, they dried up and became mud flats. It was 2005, maybe, but I hardly took note of the year.

When the weather cooled down a bit the lakes recovered a bit, but just weren't the same.

As the years went by, the expanses of placid waters disappeared permanently.

It was a long time before I realized that this wasn't just one of those strange things you see with the weather sometimes, but probably a consequence of our warming planet.

Yet it fits right in with the stream of stories in the news from the lengthening of the tick season to glaciers disappearing from our national parks.

We are already seeing the impact of climate change today.

Science and technology offer the greatest hopes for finding solutions to this bleak reality. But this is only possible through proper funding and uncensored dissemination of scientific research.

These two critical elements are under threat and are experiencing political suppression that will hurt us all.

The Trump administration has already engaged in early attempts to censor scientific agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has proposed massive cuts to critical agencies: 31 percent for the EPA, 17 percent for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 20 percent to the Department of Energy's Office of Science, 18 percent to the National Institute of Health, and so on.

These proposals are only the latest and most dramatic example of a decades-long degradation of support for science. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, federal spending on research & development is about the same now as it was 14 years ago. As a share of GDP it has steadily declined from 1 percent in 1976 to 0.8 percent in 2016.

This is incredibly short-sighted.

<strong>Back to basics. </strong> Do you enjoy clean air, water, and food? So do scientists — show your support on Earth Day by participating in a March for Science in your area. Courtesy March for Science, Minnesota.

Science is not only our best chance to stop climate change, but is key to maintaining a prosperous and healthy society. From ensuring safe food and drugs, forecasting hurricanes and tornados, to developing cures for diseases, science improves our lives in countless ways every day.

This represents one of the many perspectives and motivating factors for community members from Minnesota to join together to march for science on our state’s capitol on April 22nd, 2017.

The march, anticipated to draw up to ten thousand individuals from diverse backgrounds, will communicate to state and national policy makers that the state’s strong legacy of science, research, and innovation should not be subject to political maneuvering.

There is too much at stake for our health, our environment, and our society to allow science to be silenced and we will make our voices heard.

~ Satish Desai

~ Nichole Morris

~ Angela Carpio

Follow the March for Science -Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook here.

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