By Michael Halpern, Union of Concerned Scientists
Today kicks off the National Call Out to Protect Scientific Integrity. And UCS is making it easier than ever for you to stand up for science and help restore science to its rightful place in public health and environmental decision-making. This week (and beyond!), we’re speaking out about the Scientific Integrity Act, legislation that would give federal government scientists the right to share their research publicly and protect science in policy decisions from political manipulation.
The Scientific Integrity Act’s main sponsors, Representative Paul Tonko and Senator Brian Schatz, are building support for the legislation within the House and Senate, and co-sponsors are joining the bill on a regular basis. But legislation won’t move, or even get a hearing, without constituent pressure on Congress to demand legal protections for scientists who work for the federal government, from the EPA to the FDA.
That’s why we’re joining with science, environmental, health, and good government organizations throughout the United States to mobilize thousands of people to call their legislators to urge them to support and move the Scientific Integrity Act through Congress.
We’ve made it incredibly easy for you to take action. We’ve developed a resource guide and series of fact sheets that gives you all the background you need to raise your own voice—and then, if you have time and inclination, to organize others to do the same.
We kicked off this week-long series of engagements with a webinar called Power of a Story: How to Use Your Voice to Advocate for Real Scientific Integrity.” By replaying the webinar, you’ll learn the current state of play of the legislation and get tips on how to compellingly talk about critical yet abstract issues like this one.
Now, we’re calling on people to do the following:
- Pick up the phone and call your senators and member of Congress (if you got ‘em!) and urge them to support and help advance the Scientific Integrity Act.
- Share information about the National Call Out to Protect Scientific Integrity on Twitter (or just retweet me).
- Write a letter to your local paper about the importance of scientific integrity to public health and the environment, and the importance of your elected officials supporting this legislation.
- Encourage others to participate by planning an in-person or online event.
All you need to do is raise your hand and commit to taking one step for democracy this week. And once you take action, it is even more helpful to us if you can let us know how it went.
From chemicals in household products to the impacts of climate change, scientists need to be able to follow their research wherever it leads—without political interference—and share their findings honestly with the public. If we demonstrate that the public is paying attention to attacks on science, then Congress is more likely to move this kind of legislation, and presidential candidates—including the current president—are more likely to incorporate scientific integrity standards into the reforms that they are willing to advance.
So again, here’s the Call Out action page, webinar, fact sheet series, and resource guide. This week is critical moment to spark the drumbeat of action needed to move meaningful scientific integrity protections forward. I look forward to people joining this week and invite local advocates who want to take action throughout the summer to reach out to my colleague Paola Salas at UCS. Thanks!