Tag Archives: science

Science is Not Immune to to Racism

The protests that are sweeping the country are a direct response to the fact that racism is an inescapable reality in the United States. That these protests are happening right now, in the midst of a pandemic that places the protesters at risk from congregating, speaks to how deep the injustice is, and how urgent the need for change. The legacy of white supremacy continues to harm those of us who are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, or members of other racially marginalized groups. 

And despite having a veneer of objectivity and impartiality, science is not immune

Science is a powerful tool for solving problems and making people’s lives better. But it has been used to do harm and obstruct progress as well.

Most people have heard of the infamous example of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. In this 40-year study, Black men with syphilis were left untreated, without their informed consent and despite the availability of effective therapies, so that researchers could study the progress of the disease. This is but one example of how science has been used to justify white, European conquest for centuries and continues to this day.

Today’s protests aren’t just about the nine minutes that ex-Officer Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck ultimately leading to his death. They are about the thousands of other unarmed Black men, women, and children who have been needlessly killed by police or others with impunity. They’re about the 40 years of treating hundreds of Black men as guinea pigs in the name of science. And they’re about the 400-year old legacy of slavery and inequality in this country, which manifests itself in institutional and systemic racism in all aspects of modern life from access to housing, health care, food, economic opportunity, and beyond. 

As an organization that works for a healthy planet and a safer world, we must address the reality that health and safety are enjoyed unequally across racial lines in our country. Ending these inequities must be an integral part of our mission and our daily work. And a commitment to facing facts means we must be willing to talk about racism explicitly, listen to those who’ve been hurt by it, take counsel from and show up as allies for those who are leading the fight against it, and confront it both in the world we seek to change and in our own institution, assumptions, and actions.

We stand in solidarity with the protesters and urge our supporters to do the same. We also recognize the additional risks protesters are incurring in the midst of a pandemic, and we strongly encourage all to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones at home by maintaining a safe distance from one another and wearing masks and gloves at all times, so that this important act of protest does not result in more sickness and death from the virus. 

If you haven’t already, seek out and support local organizers and organizations in your community who are doing critical work on racial equity, environmental justice, voting access, and more. Not sure where to start? Here are some groups that can be a launching point:

As an organization, we are also continuously working to advance our own internal racial equity as an integral part of working  to achieve our mission. We acknowledge that our progress is slow and that we have more work to do, even within our own organization. Below are some resources that some of our staff have found useful. 

You can also explore how bias plays out in your own life, as it does with all of us, by taking this test on implicit bias designed by a cross-disciplinary group of researchers.

If you identify as white and haven’t yet explored issues of privilege, we suggest the podcast series Seeing White from the Center on Documentary Studies at Duke University, or watch this video series on systemic racism from our colleagues at Race Forward.

Sincerely,
Katy Love
Katy Love
Online Engagement Manager
Union of Concerned Scientists

Celebration of Science and Technology

This community event recognizes contributions science and scientists make every day. Activities focus on education and how science informs and is applied by and through technology.


People of all ages and interests are invited to engage with scientists at booths and presentations, and examine infographic posters that provide examples of how science works locally to contribute to our communities and our quality of life. To put a face on science in the community, Science on Display is profiles of local active and retired scientists and science educators.

The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Port Angeles City Pier stage with a welcome and opening remarks. Dr. Nick Bond will speak about “Hatching a Plan to Save a Northwest Icon,” taking a deeper look at the past, present, and future of salmon in Washington State.

At noon, Paul Kolensikoff will enlighten and amaze us again this year with “Einstein’s Hair-Raising Story,” which has become an annual GeekOut! favorite.

Science on Display is designed to honor the broad spectrum of retired and active scientists and science educators living on the Olympic Peninsula. From each profile, learn what inspired him or her to pursue a chosen field. Many residents are not aware of the science education, applied science, and interesting research conducted by their neighbors. Science on Display puts a face from the community on science in the community.

Why celebrate science? We use science to heat our homes, grow our food, take pictures of Mars, and send people far beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Science helps us understand why we have wind, tides, fish, and plants. Science has shown us that it’s important to wash our hands and to cover our mouths when we sneeze. Come learn about birds, bugs, tea, trees, water, and how to capture power from the sun. Visit with some of our favorite local scientists as they show you how they use science in their work and lives.

Celebrate science at PA Pier April 28

On April 28, 2018, Feiro Marine Life Center, Olympic Climate Action, and Sierra Club North Olympic Group are again hosting a free, community-oriented celebration of science at Port Angeles City Pier from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. People of all ages and interests are invited to engage with scientists at booths and presentations, and examine infographic posters that provide examples of how science works locally to contribute to our communities and our quality of life. To put a face on science in the community, Science on Display provides profiles of local active and retired scientists and science educators.

The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Port Angeles City Pier stage with a welcome and opening remarks. Jim Waddell, Civil Engineer, PE USACE Retired, will speak about how a non-scientist evaluates the massive amount of scientific claims. Most science is done out of the public eye in labs or remote field sites and presented in specialized journals. As a result, there’s limited awareness of the rigorous, self-correcting scientific process: a method based on evidence and experiments that can be replicated, tested, and scrutinized by other professionals. This scientific process, scientific consensus, and evidence-based models are the tools that help make sense of science.

Science on Display is designed to honor the broad spectrum of retired and active scientists and science educators living on the Olympic Peninsula. From each profile, learn what inspired him or her to pursue a chosen field. Many residents are not aware of the science education, applied science, and interesting research conducted by their neighbors. Science on Display puts a face from the community on science in the community.

Why celebrate science? We use science to heat our homes, grow our food, take pictures of Mars, and send people far beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Science helps us understand why we have wind, tides, fish, and plants. Science has shown us that it’s important to wash our hands and to cover our mouths when we sneeze. Come learn about birds, bugs, tea, trees, water, and how to capture power from the sun. Visit with some of our favorite local scientists as they show you how they use science in their work and lives.

Feiro Marine Life Center, Olympic Climate Action, and Sierra Club – North Olympic Group created this local celebration in 2017 with a shared mission to celebrate the essential role science and technology plays in all our daily lives.