An Open Letter to Those Who Support the Censorship of the EPA

Yesterday, the Trump administration instructed the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) not to give any press releases, publish blog posts, or release anything on social media. In the meantime, the administration will look through the agency’s website to determine if any information should be discarded, despite its scientific validity. There are also conversations about the cutting and vetting of grants that go towards scientific research. In response to the looming threat, I must underline two things.

  1. Science is, hands down, non-partisan.

Science is neither liberal nor conservative. It is not opinion. It is not a feeling. Science is an iterative process that consistently proves and disproves past experiments in order to reach some semblance of objective truth. Yes, there are scientists who have their personal agendas, and yes science has been used as an excuse for oppression in the past (like the creation of ‘race’ as a way to separate those in power and ‘others’). But guess what stops psuedo-scientific studies with agendas- more science. Good data is good data, and data does not lie. Data does not have an agenda. Data is not out to get your conservative values. Data does not care how you vote.

An attack on science is not just a political move, it’s a refusal to accept the rigorous research it takes to come up with anything of substantial significance. What you do with scientific findings is politics, however, the objective nature of science itself is non-partisan. Research methodology consistently strives to be objective or account for any subjective influence.

Please understand that 2 hours of internet research is not more valid than literally thousands of years of rigorous research done through scientific methods, peer reviewed by millions of other scientists, and validated by thousands of similar studies that achieve the same results. Not to mention the interdisciplinary studies that are able to corroborate those same findings from different entry points. People spend years of their lives fighting to get closer to the truth, and believe me when I say that their findings are much more valid than your Google search.

Yes, scientists are fallible. They have their own agendas and motivations. But good science is the closest we can get towards objectivity. Trust the data.

  1. Anthropogenic climate change is already happening now. And people are literally dying.

Let me get this straight, we’re not going to experience the effects of global warming hundreds of years in the future when we’re all dead and gone. It’s happening now. Beyond the fact that over 97% of scientists from all different disciplines believe anthropogenic climate change to be indisputable, there is still a considerable amount of doubt from politicians (I wonder which group has the most vested interests and personal agendas: scientists or politicians?). Although difficult to measure because of the absolute enormous amount of direct and indirect effects of climate change, according to the incredibly comprehensive report by DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the “combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade”. And those that are worst affected are those in the poorest countries. Isn’t it funny how our rampant and unchecked capitalism and development is affecting the poorest countries the worst? Maybe in the past we didn’t know better, but now we do.

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.27.34 PM.png

Number of Deaths in the year 2010 and the year 2030 due to the Climate-Carbon Crisis (Climate Vulnerability Monitor).

But it seems like those realities are not relevant. In the international development field, thousands of NGOS are scrambling to mitigate and adapt to the looming threat of climate change. Even in programs focused on just women and girls empowerment, there is usually a section that explores the threat of climate change and how it can be met. One only needs to spend a few weeks in the Sahel, a Ghanaian coastal fishing town, a low lying area in Bangladesh, or the sinking Maldives to see the damage already being done. Or check out these comprehensive reports to see the effects of climate change in your home state now (thanks EPA!). 

Look, you can believe what you want in terms of your values and religions. But, the data does not lie. You can erase its traces on the internet, you can pump more money into fossil fuels, you can ignore the impending threat. You can do all of that, but whether you like it or not, anthropogenic climate change is real and some day you will regret not leaving a habitable planet for your children and grandchildren.

Photo: A picture of the beautiful Cameron Highlands that I took during my travels. It is of utmost importance that we preserve the beauty of our land and the safety of all that lives on it. 

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