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Marcela Mulholland, a University of Florida sustainability studies and political science student, raises her fist during an anti-Trump march in Gainesville in February. Another Gainesville march, the "March for Science," is scheduled for April 22. (File/ WUFT News)

Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Prompt ‘March For Science’ In Gainesville

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2018 preliminary budget proposal released by the Trump administration in March proposes cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by 31 percent, the Department of Agriculture’s by 21 percent and the Department of Health and Human Services’ by 18 percent.

For Danielle Ivey, who works as an ecotoxicologist in the University of Florida’s Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, that is not good news.

Ivey who’s set to start a graduate program in the fall at UF’s College of Public Health and Health Professions  said she’s worried that future budget cuts might impede her education and lessen her chances of finding work after graduation.

“It’s scary,” the 46-year-old said. “I don’t even know if my degree will be funded all the way through.”

Many people don’t think the work of scientists and researchers have an impact on daily life, which isn’t true, Ivey said.

“It’s important that people who are in science show the public that what we do affects them,” she said. “It isn’t some magical, mysterious, scary thing. It’s the planet, and it’s things that affect them on a day-to-day basis.”

To convey her message, Ivey decided to help organize the upcoming “March for Science” in Gainesville. The march is one of more than 400 across the globe expected to take place on April 22, Earth Day.

“The important thing is to relate to regular folks whose vote counts,” she said. “Relating to all of the regular citizens of Gainesville, having them come out and learn about what we actually do I think that’s the most important thing.”

The less-than-2-mile march will go from the lawn north of UF’s football stadium to downtown Gainesville. At the end point, Bo Diddley Plaza, leaders in the local scientific community, including UF’s Vice President for Research David Norton, will speak to an expected crowd of about 500.

Ivey said that although the march is a nonpartisan event, politics have inevitably become a part of the conversation.

“It’s been made very clear that corporate interests are way more important than the environment or public health, and that’s my personal opinion,” she said. “It shouldn’t be political, but it is.”

Marchers will have the opportunity to send pre-made postcards that explain the importance of science-based policy to politicians, said the march’s lead organizer, Juan Zapata.

The UF electrical engineering student said the march is nonpartisan and isn’t meant to be divisive.

“We’re fighting for evidence-based policy,” Zapata said.

Corey Noble said that although he thinks the idea of a science march is wonderful, he supports Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA.

The UF political science and economics student said he believes EPA budget cuts won’t impact climate-change research.

“Most of what’s happening inside research and development is not from the government. It’s from private research,” the 21-year-old said.

Nevertheless, Noble said he is glad members of his community are using their First Amendment rights to voice their opinions.

“I don’t think anyone is saying the work that scientists and researchers do is unimportant and no one is discrediting those things,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful that we have a society that puts value on scientific reason.”

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One comment

  1. Juan Esteban Zapata

    @ Corey Nobel:
    How are the proposed cuts not going got impact research? Their work is specifically tailored to all factions of climate change and environmental protection. (Environmental Protection Agency). Besides, their role is greater than just research. They regulate greenhouse emmissions, protect our water sources and work to expedite chemical screenings. The last effort ensures that whatever chemicals potentially contact our environment or population will not have adverse health effects.

    And while the government may not hold the biggest piece of the research pie, it still serves an important effort of regulating and peer-reviewing the research conducted throughout our nation. And it is extremely dangerous when political figures go against scientific consensus, and cutting programs to support it. Here are some examples:

    Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma believes that the EPA is propaganda and is brain washing our youth.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/f23ee0e1-09ac-3c98-8aef-a6437d309de0/the-epa-is-'brainwashing-our.html

    The new head of the EPA regards climate change, but believes it is not anthropogenic. This is against the global consensus.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/13/rex-tillersons-view-of-climate-change-its-just-an-engineering-problem/?utm_term=.259f6daa73fd

    Our President has made a few claims on the necessity of clean coal, and that “wind and solar are not enough” but again, science has proven that we could adapt more sustainable energy sources. And clean coal does not come without emmissions, despite its misleading title.
    http://fortune.com/2016/10/10/donald-trump-clean-coal/

    These statements are worrysome because people confide in their politicians, often taking their statements for truth, which is misleading those who may not be well versed on specific topics. These statements are effectively discredditng our work and are corrupting the value of evidence based statements/policy in American Government.

    As lead organizer, I want to make it clear that we are here in support of facts and remain non-partisan. The aforementioned politicains are all republican but it was not an attack on the party, but more of an addressment to their specific stances on these topics.

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