BY SUSIE GRANA INGRAM
One of my favorite things about the Peoria area is its beautiful river valley and the incredible abundance of life it supports. Throughout the coldest months, Bald Eagles use the river as their winter retreat. Yet, several decades ago, seeing these majestic birds in such abundance would have been impossible, as their numbers were declining alarmingly quickly. If not for politicians placing value and trust in the scientists who identified the cause of the eagle’s decline, and if not for the collaboration across the aisle in Congress to act on a solution, our national bird could be extinct today. For the majority of our nation’s history, the beauty of science as it intersects with politics has been a gloriously nonpartisan value.
Science fundamentally remains a nonpartisan entity, but it has become a political issue today, especially as government leaders decide how public natural areas, basic research and intergovernmental science initiatives are to be funded.
A Peoria Rally for Science will be 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at Marshall Plaza by the Gateway Building in Peoria. The Rally adopts the mission, principles, goals and diversity statement of the National March for Science. These well-defined statements can be found in their entirety at www.marchforscience.com. The opening of the mission reads:
“The March for Science is a celebration of science. It’s not about scientists or politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world … We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.”
All are welcome to join this family-friendly celebration of science. Local scientists, activists, educators and performers will share their stories and talents with attendees. A schedule for presentations will soon be available on Peoria Rally for Science’s Facebook event page.
In the meantime, testimonials pouring in via the Rally’s Facebook page and Twitter handle show the many ways science funding has enriched and even saved the lives of people within our community. These examples include:
Meteorological forecasting has saved lives in the Peoria area and throughout the country.
Peoria-area children who want to become scientists have benefited from accurate science education in our public schools. They have access to museums, parks and affordable, fact-based science programming.
Scientists both past and present have given us life-saving and eye-opening ideas and technologies.
Everyone knows someone whose life has been saved, extended or made more bearable by advances in medical science.
We encourage you to share your stories via these social media outlets and in person at the Rally on April 22.
Explore the National March for Science and Peoria Rally for Science:
The author has a master’s degree in conservation biology and works as an environmental educator in the Peoria area. She serves as a regional director for the Environmental Education Association of Illinois and as an organizing member of Peoria Rally for Science.