This Earth Day Defenders is joining with groups and citizens around the world in the March for Science.
This April 22nd will mark the 47th celebration of Earth Day. This year’s festivities take on extra special significance in that this year, Earth Day also incorporates the first-ever March for Science rally in Washington, D.C. and locations around the world.
The March for Science event is an international celebration of science and the critical role it plays in our daily lives. Recent anti-science agendas focused on discrediting scientific work, misconstruing scientific findings as partisan, and threatening to restrict or eliminate scientists’ ability to conduct research and communicate their findings undermine our ability to understand the world around us and make decisions for our future.
This Earth Day, Defenders is proud to participate in this first-ever March for Science and to lead a teach-in to celebrate the contribution of science to our work, our cherished wildlife and our world.
Earth Day’s Origins
In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson thought up the idea of creating a mass environmental movement. Inspired by the anti-war protests of the late 1960s and spurred by growing public understanding and outcry over the effects of pollution on the environment, Senator Nelson announced the idea for Earth Day at a conference in Seattle in the fall of 1969 and issued a call to the entire nation to get involved—the nation did not disappoint.
Wednesday, April 22, 1970, Denis Hayes, the National Outreach Coordinator for the first Earth Day, mobilized over 20 million people across the United States to rally on behalf of the environment. Following that tremendous outpouring of support and grassroots mobilization of people, the 1970s became a hallmark decade for environmental priorities.
Among the major environmental milestones achieved during the ensuing decade was the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970 and passing of the seminal wildlife conservation legislation, the Endangered Species Act in 1973.
Earth Day was a remarkable turning point for environmental policy-making 47 years ago, but as we look out over the current political landscape, it seems as if we are now losing our way. We are facing a very stark turning point where a lot of our successes are being challenged or rolled back. For instance, the Endangered Species Act was the target of more than 130 legislative attacks during the 114th Congress, a trend that we are already seeing continue into the current Congress. In addition, the EPA, which in large part grew out of that first Earth Day movement, is under intense threat with the new administration’s budget proposal seeking to cut more than 30 percent of the agency’s budget and downsize the staff by more than 3,200 people. This shift in priorities from concern for environmental impacts to a greater focus on exploitation of our natural resources is alarming. We could very easily find ourselves backsliding toward those much darker days.
This year’s Earth Day celebration and the March for Science rally in D.C. carry a similar weight to that pioneering Earth Day in 1970. What we need to ask ourselves is will we stand up and steer this ship back on course like those first Earth Day participants, or will we sit back and wait until there’s nothing left to save?
We Will March On
Defenders is proud to be a part of this Earth Day event, and to fight to protect our planet and our wildlife from climate change and advocate for critical legislation like the Endangered Species Act. We will march in solidarity with conservation and scientific organizations, scientists and our fellow citizens in voicing our commitment to science and championing the need for it to be adequately funded and freely and publicly communicated.
Science is a pillar of human freedom and prosperity that should and must be used to address critical issues facing the health and survival of our world, like climate change. The March for Science is a reminder to our policymakers that science is independent and non-partisan, and if we ignore scientific evidence we endanger human life, wildlife and the future of the planet.
Without a strong commitment to science we would not have the Endangered Species Act and the essential knowledge and tools necessary to protect the imperiled species and critical habitat we all hold dear. Without science, we have no chance to act on critical challenges facing the future of our world’s rich biodiversity. Without science, wildlife doesn’t have a chance for survival.
We are at a pivotal time in our nation’s history when science and its role in our society have been called into question. The March for Science is a way to demand politics stays out of unbiased science and to show our leaders in government how vital scientific research is to our future.
Can’t join us? Follow along with us on the day of the march via social media using the hashtag #NoScienceNoChance.
Not in Washington, D.C.? Check out other events in your area.