Four things scientists can do to stay relevant
John Holdren, Obama’s former science advisor referred to Trump’s presidency during the annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The president, has a history of denying scientific facts or believing for example, global warming is a Chinese conspiracy. Also, the immigration ban bars scientists from the country and there’s already a bill on the House floor to dissolve the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We appear to have a president now who resists facts,” said Holdren during the panel. Even if he didn’t speculate on what will Trump’s scientific policy will be like he advised scientists on how to stay relevant under his administration.
Quartz listed his advises in this way:
Don’t be discouraged or intimidated; keep doing your science, because the work is important.
Become more broadly informed about science and policy issues.
Give over at least 10% of your time to public service, public policy, and activism.
Be strategic. Simply calling out daily inaccuracies won’t be enough; larger-scale organization is key.
During the panel, Professor Barbara Schaal , president of the association and Dr.Rush Holt, chief executive expressed concern about the use of the phrase “alternative facts” by Trump administration officials.
“When officials use the phrase ‘alternative facts’ without embarrassment, we know there’s a problem,” said Dr. Holt.
“What I hear now are concerns that are an extension of what I would call an ongoing trend that goes back many years or decades, where ideology and ideological assertions have been crowding out evidence in public and private debates and in policymaking,” he concluded.
Nonetheless scientists have started embodying some of Holdren’s advises. After the inauguration they organized a march in Washington DC to stand up for facts, planned for Earth Day, April 22. They also formed the 314action group which helps non-politicians run for office and has many scientists applicants.