Local News

Utahns March for Science on Earth Day


-Audio below-

(KCPW News) Like Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, they spoke for the trees – as well as for air quality, melting glaciers and medical research funding. Thousands of scientists, doctors and lay people marched to the Utah State Capitol Saturday, in solidarity with other marches for science around the world.

The rally coincided with Earth Day and featured Nobel prize-winning geneticist Mario Capecchi, San Juan County rancher Heidi Redd and skier and environmentalist Caroline Gleich as speakers calling for action against climate change and for a better understanding between scientists and people outside the lab.

Although the march was organized as a non-partisan demonstration, Nalini Nadkarni, a biologist at the University of Utah, says a lack of support from political leaders has impacted the public perception of scientists, something march organizers hope to improve.

“Science requires funding. Science requires infrastructure. Science requires people to believe in it and people to believe that it is being supported,” Nadkarni said. “So, when Trump brings forward a budget that cuts the National Institutes of Health, for example, by 18%, that’s kind of an expression of non-support and for the kinds of activities that go on in a scientific research institution like the NIH. ”

Brigham Young University law professor Brigham Daniels also spoke at the rally, addressing the intersection between faith and science. Daniels called science a blessing and stressed the correlation he’s found between practicing his religion and believing in scientific efforts, specifically in regards to Utah’s air quality issues.

“One thing you can say is [the air quality] is bad for public health, but personally I believe if I really want to love my neighbor, I need to think about loving my neighbor’s lungs,” Daniels said. “I’m trying to shorten my [car] trips. I’m really trying to repent. I really believe that that is an ethic that needs to sweep over these valleys.”

Pres. Donald Trump did not respond directly to the marchers’ efforts, but in his Earth Day address called scientific research “critical to [his] administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection.”

    Music Song