Conversations on Money, Politics and Science is a bi-weekly segment with KGNU’s Maeve Conran and Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
The Age of Enlightenment and the scientific and technological revolutions promised a world of reason, democracy, and prosperity. The fog of superstition would be lifted by the light of understanding. Yet, in the 21st century United States, science is so besieged even in the face of the existential threat of climate disruption. Beleaguered scientists are taking to the streets in protest. Economics remains a “dismal science.” Facts are no longer an unquestioned currency in politics and public life. Nuclear weapons have remained in launch-on-warming posture, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Our goal with these conversations is to shed light on that evolution of the last 250 years by engaging in thoughtful fact- and science-based conversations on the state of the world and our place in it.
This week we take a look ahead to the March for Science happening on April 22nd and the People’s Climate March happening April 29th.
Arjun Makhijani says that scientists communicating to the public about the importance of science, and scientists becoming activists, is long overdue.
“I think scientists find themselves suddenly and to a large extent unexpectedly in a very serious crisis of funding. Most scientific research and technological research is done on government and corporate money. The connected academic research is largely on government money. With the announced Trump budget, the very, very deep cuts – 20% at the National Institutes of Health, worse at the EPA, serious cuts to non-weapons science in the Department of Energy, I think the scientists are seeing some urgency to communicate to the public that science is important and funding science is important.”