At the annual gathering of The American Geophysical Union in fall of 2016, more than twenty-three thousand earth and space scientists from around the globe met to present their research and to share with one another the latest discoveries, trends, and challenges in their respective fields. The meeting was the largest international gathering of climate and space scientists to date.
The American Geophysical Union is a century-old organization dedicated to the generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge and the free exchange of ideas and information. Its stated mission is “respect for a diversity of ideas and approaches, accountability to the public, and excellence and integrity.”
During the gathering a videographer asked participating climate scientists to articulate a message to then-candidate Trump about the role of science in meeting the challenges of global climate change. Seven scientists came forward to warn the Republican candidate about the folly of dismissing facts, the scientific data, and even the scientists themselves. Incredibly, one speaker felt compelled to point out what should have been obvious to any individual running for the most powerful office in the world—that “our entire civilization is based on science.” The range of messages in the video run the gamut from guardedly hopeful to cautious to sounding the alarm about the very real possibility of suppression of scientific data by the then-incoming administration. The scientists featured in the video are male and female. They are young, and they are old. Each, in his or her own way, articulates a sincere and heartfelt call to reason at a time when unreason and willful ignorance were well on their way to sabotaging our national political dialogue.
Below are some highlights. The full video is well worth a listen. You can bet that the admonishments—and wisdom—of those who know the most about the science of climate change will continue to be dismissed by now President Trump and the climate deniers in his administration. For the rest of us, these warnings should serve as a rallying cry.
“A thermometer isn’t Democratic or Republican. It doesn’t give us a different answer depending on how we vote.”
“The challenge is not fighting about the science. The challenge is how are we going to respond to the real threat, the real risks that climate change poses.”
“It [the earth] gives us the air that we breathe. It gives us the food that we eat. It gives us the water we drink. It gives us the place where we live.”
“I truly believe that just about every single person on this planet has the values they already have in their heart to care about climate change. We just have to connect the dots.”