As the last post for my nutrition class, I would like to invite my public health brothers and sisters to march for a good cause.
This Saturday, April 22nd from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, I will be marching for Science. As as a worker and student of public health, I find it my duty to make sure that we show support and celebrate the foundation of our field. I will be joining tens of thousands of people from close to 300 locations worldwide in an effort promote the integrity of science, to highlight the contributions of science to society and advocate for science-based policies (Miller, 2017).
Why should folks in public health march for science? To me, it’s very simple: I am tired of hearing another policy-maker deny climate change. Here’s the deal, 97% of those actively researching the climate agree that global warming is likely due to human activities (Cook et al., 2013, 2016; Doran & Zimmerman, 2009; Oreskes, 2004). Despite said consensus, we actually have a sitting President who publicly declare that climate change is a hoax (Foran, 2016). The implication of behaviors like that of Donald Trump is that it signals to everyone that it’s perfectly acceptable to dismiss well-studied science in favor industry-friendly policy position.
I’ve always imagined Ryan Gosling playing the good scientist fighting self-interested policy makers in a movie. I am not sure who’s going to finance it or whether the public would even watch it. I would imagine it doing well in the box office because, you know, Ryan Gosling. Alas, we will never know. Being Canadian Ryan Gosling will probably go back to Canada once climate-induced food shortages being to happen.
I am also Marching for science because it was science that enabled public health to add 25 years to the life expectancy to people in the United States (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Think about it. The following achievements of public health are anchored on sound science:
Ten Great Public Health Achievements — United States, 1900-1999
- Vaccination. Yep, it was public health science that karate-chopped polio in the United States.
- Motor-vehicle safety. Sure, Ralph Nader was the face of seat belts, but it was a scientist who calculated the physiological impact of an accident.
- Safer workplaces. Look. No need to explain here. Unless you want to go back to the good old day’s of unfiltered air in factories.
- Control of infectious diseases. C’mon. It was the work of virologists that paved the way to control HIV! The biologists who isolated TB.
- The decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and strokes. Our nutritionist brothers and sisters helped us make the connection between sodium and heart disease.
- Safer and healthier foods. Sir, would like a side of salmonella with your chicken cordon bleu?
- Healthier mothers and babies. Hygiene, nutrition, and technological advances helped us prevent maternal and child death. If you think sound science does not have role in the positive health outcomes of moms and babies, you need to take seat, take multiple seats.
- Family planning. Condoms work playahz. Why? Because the boffins tested the materials. Science!
- Fluoridation of drinking water. Unless you’re planning to look like one of the characters of Pirates of the Carribean, you better thank your science-driven public health professionals.
- Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard. Dr. Terry is a legend. He was the Surgeon General who released the first federal report that connected smoking to cancer and heart disease.
I really am hoping that you are going to march. If you can’t march in person, you can join the live stream by going to https://www.marchforscience.com/ . If you still have reasons not to participate, at least do it for Gosling. Ryan will be sad if you’re not coming.
Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S. A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., … Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 24024. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024
Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R. L., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., … Rice, K. (2016). Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 48002. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002
Doran, P. T., & Zimmerman, M. K. (2009). Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 90(3), 22. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009EO030002
Foran, C. (2016). Donald Trump and the Triumph of Climate-Change Denial. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/donald-trump-climate-change-skeptic-denial/510359/
Miller, A. (2017). March for Science Announces First Round of Partnerships and New Ways to Support Its Work – Network of Satellite Marches Nears 300 Globally. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.marchforscience.com/press/2017/2/23/march-for-science-announces-first-round-of-partnerships-and-new-ways-to-support-its-work
Oreskes, N. (2004). BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Science, 306(5702), 1686–1686. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1103618
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century | About | CDC. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/about/history/tengpha.htm