Science Should Lead The Way

To The Reader’s Forum:

I must loudly disagree with Mona Charen’s April 25th commentary critical of a “March for Science” held on Earth Day, April 22. I contend that a march, or whatever broad publicity one can generate on behalf of science, especially environmental science, is needed more than ever. What has concerned me is that environmental science has been put under the rug, so-to-speak, for decades, ever since the first Earth Day, which was supposed to be a great wake up call for preserving the planet for posterity. The environmental mantra of “reduce, re-use and recycle” has been hard to hear because of the clamor favoring conspicuous consumption, regardless of the consequences.

Mona admits President Trump “has been reckless and heedless of the truth” on matter of science, beliefs he holds that will have great impact on how science is treated in America and the world, yet suggests he should be ignored because “he hasn’t said those things lately”. “Lately”? Fortunately, there has been progress on promoting and implementing positive, science-based change, but I believe it has been slow because Americans, me included, have not done enough marching or otherwise speaking up for science. The election of Trump and his words and actions to date tell me there is no better time than the present to sound a clarion call of warning. Not only is Trump poised to turn back the clock on science by ending or undermining national and international plans to counter climate change, he also believes coal should make a comeback as fuel for electric power production. As Jamestown knows, there is no such thing as “clean” coal.

Mona also believes that “progressives” are hypocritical because they don’t object to nuclear power. What?! Opposition to nuclear power has been a mainstay of the environmental movement. Does anyone recall the failed Nuclear Fuel Services waste “reprocessing” demonstration project in West Valley? Many area residents opposed it because it is the uncontrollable waste that makes nuclear power dangerous. Also, just ask folks around the infamous Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukashima facilities what they think of “safe” nuclear power. If true, progressives who believe nuclear power should be expanded are as delusional as those who believe in “clean” coal.

In my opinion, science should be leading us towards a more sustainable planet – finding ways to make the promise of Earth Day a reality. Maybe a march is the catalyst we need.

Paul L. Demler