Letter to the editor: J. P. Lawrence

Posted on Apr 26 2017 - 1:31pm by J. P. Lawrence

On April 22, hundreds of thousands of concerned scientists and science-supporters from around the country and the world participated in the March for Science, which is pretty unprecedented.

While many detractors would paint this movement off as a partisan stunt, it is anything but. There has been simmering concern in the scientific community about how science is used, or not used, in informing policy.

Science is objective and needs to be used as a tool to help advance our society.

It is important to note that this was not because of the inauguration of Donald Trump, but that did provide a catalyst to make it happen. His proposed budget, with deep slashes to the sciences (such as the EPA, NIH, NASA and NOAA), raised alarms in the scientific community.

But this did not start with him; these have been issues stewing for years. We have big problems facing our society and the planet.

With issues such as climate change, GMOs, and vaccines, all of which the science is settled on, we need policy informed by science to avoid what could very well be a global disaster. We cannot afford to write off scientists as out-of-touch liberals in their Ivory Towers.

For all of these reasons, I found myself very disappointed upon opening my Daily Mississippian on April 24 and seeing absolutely no coverage of the march that happened here in Oxford (nor could I find it online). At least 200 people marched from the Lyceum to the Square to help advertise the importance of science in our society.

Science touches us all, and when thousands of scientists found around the world, with one voice, say there is a problem, we need to listen. And the press needs to give voice to those people.

J. P. Lawrence is a Ph.D. student in biology from Oxford.