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Uniting for the Environment

Early last spring while talking with my parents who, like me, are very liberal, the question of whether or not to attend a march in support of science came up. 
My mom was planning to go and was very excited to stand up in support of scientists and against Trump. My dad, a physicist and adamant defender of all things scientific, was, much to our surprise, not excited about the march and others like it. He argued that science should not be political and that, by going to marches for science that were strongly left leaning and anti-Trump, people were setting a dangerous precedent of further dividing science along partisan lines.

Caught up in the energy of liberal protests, I was initially skeptical of this view. Using this argument, should we not go to women’s marches, as women’s rights should not have to be political? Human rights should not be political, but does that mean we stop advocating for them in political settings? But a
fter thinking more deeply about what my dad had said, I realized that I agreed with the sentiment of his decision to stay home. Science should not be a partisan issue, and by making it one, liberals and conservatives alike are merely alienating each other and preventing bipartisan cooperation. 

According to a study done by the Yale Program on Climate Communication shortly after the election, 69% of Americans believe that global warming is occurring and that humans are causing it. Additionally, 82% of Americans think that the government should fund climate change related research. When I first saw these statistics, I was surprised by how high the percentages were. Like many liberals, whether a result of conscious or subconscious bias, I had the skewed belief that the majority of Republicans and Trump supporters did not believe in global warming.

After spending the summer in northern Mon- tana, where global warming is already taking a toll on the natural landscape, I realized that this is by no means the case. I was shocked to see “Make America Great Again” posters hanging next to signs reading “Save Our Planet.” It hadn’t occurred to me that Trump supporters could also be advocates of climate science. But it makes sense; according to a study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2015, global warming will disproportionately affect the rural communities of the South and West as well as the coastal South. Many people in these predominantly Republican areas realize that global warming is a threat to their livelihood and want legislation passed to protect our planet.
 
Since the election, politics have become increasingly partisan and tense. Themotions and divisions between Democrats and Republicans are fierce. While I am excited and proud to see people standing up for what they believe in and fighting against hate and bigotry, we also need to remember that these deep partisan divisions can eliminate valuable opportunities for cooperation. Climate change is a perfect example of where bipartisan alienation is stunting potential legislation and progress towards protecting our earth.

-Lilly Tipton '18
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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