A short opinion post about the election results.
Following the Trump victory of the US Election earlier this week, there is no denial that not only the majority of Americans but a number of people around the world, are worried about the huge changes that will occur throughout his presidency. Some people are fearful of a negative outcome on American’s economy, uncontrolled exploit of military, the encouragement of global division, and so on. While I, myself am extremely concerned about those issues as well, I also behold intense anxiety regarding his (and Pence’s) plans for American Science and research.
The United States – the country to first put man on the moon – is a major contributor to the fundamental advances of Science and Technology throughout the world. However through the people’s choice of president the global scientific community may face an unprecedented degeneration.
Climate scientists claim that Trump’s presidency is going to be a “disaster for the planet”, which is sadly the truth. As part of his presidential campaign he made a promise to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement – an agreement in which many nations signed to reduce green house gas emissions and keep global temperature rise under two degrees – and to cancel all US donations to climate change fighting programmes. America – with a population of over three hundred million – contribute to three times that of China’s carbon dioxide emissions annually is in the hands of an outspoken coal loving climate change denier which is I must agree “disastrous”. Trump’s ignorant and insufficient knowledge on global warming is very clearly shown through his remarks about how it is a hoax that China has created to “make US manufacturing non-competitive”, and that it is false due to New York being too cold in July.
Donald Trump believes that because climate change is a made up concept, and that the major environmental issue is no real threat to America. How ever the president-elect chooses to believe on the subject of climate change, he is the leader of the greatest green house gas emitting country on Earth therefore his decisions about this issue would create a substantial impact to our future environment.
As of Trump’s time in office, because of his uneducated views on global warming and denials of evidence we may see a future in which millions of people will be displaced by draughts, decrease in productive agriculture and rising sea levels.
Apart from the fact that Trump stated that wind farms are ugly and “bad for people’s heath” he also often claims that vaccinations are the main causes of autism ignoring the fact that vaccinations are one of the most important scientific innovations of all time. Over the years vaccines have successfully prevented a huge number of deaths, disabilities and illnesses. For example, small pox is a deadly disease that used to kill millions of people but has been eradicated by vaccines. Finally scientists and medical professionals are fed up of saying that vaccinations are not associated to Autism, and that autism is induced due to abnormalities of brain function. Many Americans will of course take Trump’s “advice” and venture the lives of their children by rejecting vaccination.
Another major issue within the science community is Donald Trump’s plans of massive funding cuts to STEM research. Many researchers are not only worried about their own future but also the future development of their field in research. This will in turn have a huge impact on scientific and technological advancement as many students will lose out on STEM research placement opportunities and also a drop in scientific innovation in the next few years is likely to occur.
Trump’s running mate – who will now become Vice President – Mike Pence is also a character I am concerned about. Pence is someone who has publicly declared that smoking doesn’t kill or cause cancer a number of years after solid evidence has been released to confirm that cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. Pence has also previously said that the theory of natural selection should not be taught as a fact in schools because it’s merely “just a theory”. Pence believes that there are no definite answers to the origin of life therefore all other possible “theories” should be taught in biology classes, for example Creationism and intelligent design. I may – in the future – post something on the differences between scientific theory and hypothesis because I feel too many people use this as a main argument against evolution and many other well proven theories which angers and frustrates me. My first post “5 myths regarding Evolution” touches on this subject.
Some people may think that I, someone living in Scotland, should not be worrying about what is happening across the Atlantic, however I always prefer to think of myself and everyone else citizens of planet Earth. And I do not believe that the act of building walls and borders is an ethical one. The US has always been a massive contributor to understanding science. I care about the future of civilisation and I believe a positive outcome to this can only be achieved through scientific and technological advancement.
Author – Susan Chen
Susan is a 5th year high school student currently studying three STEM subjects at Scottish Higher level-Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry (Crash Course). She particularly loves ideas in cosmology and hopes to embark on an academic journey in the area of theoretical physics.