Earth Day, A Time to Value "Science Not Silence"
by RALPH ROSENBERG on Thursday, April 20, 2017
This Saturday we celebrate Earth Day -- timely in light of the urgent need to take greater action to protect our orb. This year’s event launches a campaign in Iowa that is nationally focused on promoting environmental and climate literacy, “Science not Silence.”
We have seen the value of science-based research ‘tested’ and access to data curtailed by current officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. At the national level, we are seeing many threats to government-sponsored science, and hearing that we can just rely on information from private business and industry.
We are seeing a similar antagonism to science and environmental knowledge here in Iowa, with huge cuts to citizen- and professional water monitoring, and the closure of the Springbrook Environmental Education Center for teachers and youth. This past week, in Des Moines, we have seen legislators question the need for any more science as they eliminate a nationally recognized center of research on sustainable agriculture at ISU (The Leopold Center), and propose major cuts to the Flood Center at the University of Iowa, which has brought many millions of grant dollars to Iowa to help prevent and better prepare for future floods.
Greater understanding of the history and trends of environmental degradation and protection efforts will contribute to effective solutions. Greater climate literacy will translate into more rapid and appropriate transition to clean energy, replacing fossil fuels. This type of literacy is more important than ever. So, we have to stand up, ourselves, and teach our children.
Saturday, in honor of Earth Day, the Council will be part of the Downtown Earth Day Tour. Look for us upstairs at the Science Center’s Founders Hall, where we’ll be from 11 to 3. We encourage you to come prepared to share a note about a favorite outdoor place in Iowa and bring your children for a fish painting activity.
We also encourage Iowans to take one action to care for the earth, wherever you are. Here are a few ideas on how to get involved:
- March for Science at the Iowa Capitol on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
- Find an educational event near you by checking your local county conservation board website.
- Consider taking part in Good Neighbor Iowa, a new statewide public education campaign being launched this Earth Day to reduce children's exposure to lawn pesticides. The effort is being coordinated by a team of University of Northern Iowa students, faculty and partnering organizations. Join them in Cedar Fall’s Seerly Park at 10 a.m., April 22. Learn more or get your lawn on the map, where you can find research-based information to help protect your family and pets.
- Sign up to stay connected with IEC for news about action alerts and events.
- Finally, learn more about the national Earth Day campaign for environmental and science literacy. Because after all, every day is Earth Day for those of us who live on this planet.