Trump’s 2018 Budget Proposal Spurs March for Science


Thomas Howell, Op-Ed Editor

This Earth Day, April 22nd, 2017, protesters will fill the streets of almost 500 cities around the world, including Washington D.C., with the stated goal of defending “the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.” Partly inspired by the Women’s March, the movement was catalyzed by President Trump’s views and policies with regards to science and the budget that he proposed on March 16th that threatens to cut funding for science research, diminish the size and influence of environmental protection agencies, and reduce spending on clean energy initiatives.

Scientists and ordinary people around the globe are infuriated that, in order to increase defense spending by about $54 billion, the Trump administration plans to take that money out of agencies and programs like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Department of Energy (DOE), and climate research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These cuts will divert efforts away from solving the issues of climate change and pollution and represent a real threat to the future of science research. As made evident by his comments throughout the 2016 presidential race, President Trump does not take global warming as seriously as he should, and this stance is only reinforced by his recent budget proposal. In addition, he aims to cancel the Paris Agreement, which was negotiated as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Calling it an “attack on science,” scientists and ordinary people around the world fear for the future of science research and for the safety of the world in the aftermath of President Trump’s inauguration and hope to make their voices heard, calling for “science, not silence.”

Many are criticizing the protest for conflating science with politics, but others maintain that science research plays an important role in everyday life and that this role must be protected at all costs. The movement’s leaders go on to say that the fight to defend science will not stop with the march, but will continue until the protesters’ demands are met. They implore the Trump administration to make science research a priority and to fund efforts to combat climate change in order to ensure that future generations have a clean, healthy, and prosperous world to live in.