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We were surrounded by white lab coats, safety goggles and crazy Einstein hair with posters pleading, “I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues” and chants cheering “science not silence.” How did we end up here?
On Earth day, April 22, over 40 students and faculty members from Wayne State traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the March for Science.
Despite the march being the weekend before finals, we embarked on an incredible journey to pledge our dedication to science and humanity. This trip was an invaluable experience for all of us, and I am indebted toward my decision to support science.
Although there were many satellite marches around the metro Detroit area, marching in Washington, D.C. was definitely more tempting. How often do college students who are science enthusiasts get the opportunity to exemplify their civic responsibility to humanity, while exploring the capital of bureaucratic affairs? This extraordinary opportunity only occurs once in a lifetime. I must admit, it was quite surreal to challenge the implementation of policy that reflects science in our nation’s legislative core. It was also a great adventure to experience the breathtaking monuments and museums that highlight America’s grandeur and history.
The purpose of the march was not to fight against anyone or an institution. Rather, it intended to provide support for each another and implement technological and scientific advancements regarding social policy that induce catalytic development, such as improving public health and reducing our ecological footprint. Information presented incorrectly or not at all may forge detrimental consequences. For example, the Flint water crisis plagued a community so close to home. Even though local activists quickly jumped to help, the residents were exposed to various diseases before there was any significant help from the state and federal government. Water is a necessity. It is a human right. With the testing technologies already available today, there was no reason anyone had to suffer through it.
Engineers, scientists and similar disciplines have an obligation to serve and protect humanity. Quite often, breakthroughs in technology, health or industrial institutions veil an important question these professions fail to ask. That question is should we? Should we implement this information into policy and how would it impact society? To successfully protect humanity, improvements modeled by scientific information must be carefully examined for potential dangers that may surface over time. Therefore, being mindful of the ethical and moral implications are imperative for social growth.
Attending the march was extremely important to me, because I often fear the world slowing creeping into a deep, dark abyss. Lately, there has been too much division, discrimination and hate. The march stood for everything this world craved for a long time: love and support. The March for Science gathered hundreds of thousands of people across the nation to remind our fellow neighbors that we are all one. There are questions and debates regarding science that pose a threat to human identity, and we must resolve them together in order to thrive without limitation. Robert Ingersoll, an American lawyer and Civil War veteran, illustrated this notion perfectly by noting that “We rise by lifting others.”