“Climate scientists have to get their research funded and published and have it peer-reviewed. They’re held accountable,” Naughton notes. “If a scientist lies, they won’t get funding anymore. Politicians, though, can write op-eds, go on Fox News, and that’s it. How do you fight that?”
“It’s also a huge personal risk to take on,” Morrow adds. “Other careers are more forgiving for time taken off, but when you have spent a decade or more building your own lab, it’s a lot harder to move away from that.”
“An academic without tenure, if they step away from that, they lose their position. It’s an incredible sacrifice to make.”
Rather movingly, Naughton explains how she saw early signs of the scientific uprising beginning long before 314 started making headlines.
“A few months ago, in my county, the high school students organized a March for Science. A few months before that, the school board curriculum met to discuss to take climate change out of the curriculum as it was ‘making children depressed.’”
“The solution, according to the school board, was to stop telling them about it.”
In response to this, the students of the schools protested. They waited outside meetings and made their voices heard, loud and clear. “The board eventually stepped back from the idea,” Naughton says.
So there is good reason to hope that change is coming. Congressional Republicans, unnerved by Trump’s highly erratic fumbling and the cohesiveness of the opposition, are beginning to sweat. Congress even managed to recently defy the President’s wishes and actually increased, rather than cut, federal science funding. The American public are also increasingly siding with scientists. 314’s opponents, however, won’t go down without a fight.
“It’s naïve to think we’re not standing on a precipice here,” Bordelon adds. “But scientists are finally stepping up to the plate.”
“Enough is enough.”