Good morning and Happy Monday! Got your caffeine drip going?
I hope you all had a relaxing and or/fruitful weekend. When I wasn’t fighting with the laundry machines in my building, I spent part of mine standing in the rain. On purpose. Well, okay, not for very long. I’m a wimp and it was cold out.
On Saturday afternoon, I went down to the Boston Common to take part or at least bear witness to the “March for Science”.
April 22 has been designated as “Earth Day”, the unofficial environmental holiday, since 1970 when Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson organized the first one in response to a massive oil spill of the coast of Santa Barbara, California the year before. He came up with the name because he thought it sounded like “birthday” and held it in the spring which represents the earth’s annual “rebirth”. The first year brought together local and national leaders, and rallied over 20 million people across the country.
This year Boston, the home of MIT, some of the world’s leading research hospitals and a booming scientific community, marked the occasion by participating in the “March for Science”. (Though it was called a march it was actually a rally. Something about safety concerns for thousands marching through the streets.) The March celebrated the role of scientific inquiry in American life, with many carrying signs that listed advances the world would lack without it — antibiotics, the eradication of polio and smallpox, dentistry, and beer among them.
It was just one of more than 600 events held around the world that included volunteers planting trees and community gardens, picking up trash and building parks and playgrounds.
-(un)official theme song of Boston and the Charles River
Just the day before, on April 21, more than 3,000 volunteers in Massachusetts picked up trash along the Charles River and its tributaries. As Gina McCarthy, the recently departed head of the US Environmental Protection Agency told the crowd at the rally, “As Americans, as New Englanders, as Boston Strong — we care about our natural world!”
In addition to McCarthy, speakers included Dava Newman, former deputy administrator of NASA and George Church, a professor at Harvard and MIT who developed methods used for the first genome sequence.
All the speakers argued against proposed budget cuts, which would result in major drops in funding to the EPA and other scientific endeavors, but their message went beyond simple support for continued funding. They offered encouragement for everyone — scientist or otherwise — to participate in the national dialogue on science.
Mr. Church urged people to contribute to scientific advancement by volunteering for studies as guinea pigs.“Science is not optional,” he said. “We have big decisions to make, and need everyone engaged in this conversation, not just the elite.”
Ms. Newman had a better idea, at least for me. “All of you artists, you visionaries,” she said. “You paint the picture of how we get to Mars. You tell the history. We need all of you. Everyone’s in.”
This last pretty much sums up why I was there. On Saturday afternoon, I went down to the Boston Common to take part or at least bear witness to the “March for Science”. A lot of history has happened and continues to happen in Boston. Whenever possible, I should at least go watch.
Since I left my phone (which of course doubles as my camera) at home, here are some photos, courtesy of the Boston Globe, of some of the best signs.
Did you do anything special, either in your community or your own backyard, for “Earth Day”? Have a great last week of April! Thanks for reading. Here’s some adorable animals to perk up your day: