Science is under attack

LETTER

In our world of fake news and “alternative facts”, science is being attacked. Scientists have been shaken up by President Donald Trump and his team’s anti-science actions, particularly on climate change policies.

Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day. More than 100 cities around the world will march for science, celebrating it and the very real role it plays in our everyday lives. Science and scientists deserve respect and encouragement for the research they do that gives insight into our world.

We will host the world’s first marches for science. Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Palmerston North will all hold events.

Scientific fact-resistance exists in New Zealand here as well, for example:

• Over the past six years, repeated prompts from the Prime Minister’s science adviser for stronger climate change action have netted low-key responses.

• PM Bill English openly says he is wary of “extreme” views about the appropriate response to climate change.

• Sir Peter Gluckman produced a recent report highlighting a serious degradation in New Zealand’s freshwater quality. It is not getting the urgent consideration deserved by the Environment Minister.

• Nick Smith earlier altered water standards to double the number of swimmable waterways.

Why have a science adviser if his advice is to be ignored?

New Zealand aims:

• to highlight that science is international;

• to acknowledge that good scientists can be political;

• to promote greater inclusion in science; and

• to bring awareness that science includes social as well as physical sciences.

Today we have anti-science politicians and others manipulating our world. We the people must speak out in defence of science. The future depends on what we do now.

BOB HUGHES

In our world of fake news and “alternative facts”, science is being attacked. Scientists have been shaken up by President Donald Trump and his team’s anti-science actions, particularly on climate change policies.

Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day. More than 100 cities around the world will march for science, celebrating it and the very real role it plays in our everyday lives. Science and scientists deserve respect and encouragement for the research they do that gives insight into our world.

We will host the world’s first marches for science. Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Palmerston North will all hold events.

Scientific fact-resistance exists in New Zealand here as well, for example:

• Over the past six years, repeated prompts from the Prime Minister’s science adviser for stronger climate change action have netted low-key responses.

• PM Bill English openly says he is wary of “extreme” views about the appropriate response to climate change.

• Sir Peter Gluckman produced a recent report highlighting a serious degradation in New Zealand’s freshwater quality. It is not getting the urgent consideration deserved by the Environment Minister.

• Nick Smith earlier altered water standards to double the number of swimmable waterways.

Why have a science adviser if his advice is to be ignored?

New Zealand aims:

• to highlight that science is international;

• to acknowledge that good scientists can be political;

• to promote greater inclusion in science; and

• to bring awareness that science includes social as well as physical sciences.

Today we have anti-science politicians and others manipulating our world. We the people must speak out in defence of science. The future depends on what we do now.

BOB HUGHES

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