The recent White House Science Fair was a celebrated event, with numerous wonderful scientific minds present, both of public figures and students. President Obama’s speech was only a small factor in the entire event, which centered around the students and their projects. However, as always, the President’s words carry a lot of weight in the nation, and his speech represents the direction that he sees the country taking.
That’s why what he had to say about scientists in Congress is so important to science advocates, and to the future of the nation. A science advocate in the White House has the potential to sway America on such relevant and important points as fracking and climate change.
Now that the White House Press Office has published President Obama’s Science Fair speech for all to view, some of his statements are garnering new attention.
In particular, there’s this bit.
“Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is here. (Applause.) Signature bowtie. So is Rush Holt, who’s one of the few scientists to serve in Congress. We could probably use some more.”
Let’s replay that: we could probably use some more scientists in Congress.
It reflects what Obama has said about climate change before: 97 percent of scientists are in agreement that climate change is real and man-made (or at least, man-worsened), but a large number of elected officials insist on arguing that it isn’t true, or that we don’t know.
Science denial in elected office isn’t just about climate change. Remember when Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, “punted” on evolution? “I’m not a scientist” appears to be the new political standard.
The White House Science Fair, an event that centers around children’s science projects, was an ideal place for the statement — where it is also an invitation to these young scientific minds to think about how they’ll use their own science educations to further progress in America, in years that actually aren’t too far away.
With President Obama’s second term approaching an end, much of the country is already considering who we’ll place in the White House next, and the environmentally concerned say that it cannot be a science denier. President Obama’s speech suggests that this needs to be a thought not only in the presidential election, but in selecting all of our governmental representatives.
Share your thoughts — do you agree with President Obama’s statement in the White House Science Fair speech, that we need more scientists (and science advocates) in Congress?
[Photo credit: Pool/Getty Images]