Late last year I looked down as they placed my newborn son into my arms and marveled at the brand-newness of this tiny person gazing back at me. And watching him open his little eyes, I wondered what this world would be like when he’s my age.
Will he be protected from lead and mercury to stay healthy into adulthood? Will he become increasingly accustomed to conflict as we fight over limited resources in the face of climate change? Will we be so used to “alternative facts” that they’ll go unchallenged? I truly hope not.
But maybe we’ll invest in education, medicine and technology to meet the needs of the nine billion people on the planet by then. We’ll figure out how to cure cancer and Alzheimer’s and combat pandemics and superbugs. And maybe my son will be able to see an Orangutan in the wild because we’ll curb deforestation and save species.
The U.S. has so much potential if we invest in what matters most: Our future. Unfortunately, politics is shortsighted as decisions are made on two- or four- or six-year time frames to win elections. I’m interested in the long-term. And I suspect you are too.
What’s most important isn’t the march today, but what happens next. Our real work starts now and we have a great deal to do over the coming years.
So when you go back home, stay engaged. Get to know your representatives – not just in D.C., but where you live and are impacted by decisions at the local and state level. Find more ways, creative ways, to stay involved. And sure, visit Capitol Hill if you can, but also visit the schools and community centers and libraries in your neighborhood to talk about why science is crucial to solving our greatest challenges. Share your passion and expertise, and please take time to listen.
I know a bright future is possible for my baby and his big brother, and every child in America and around the world who’s too young to have a seat at the decision-making table just yet. These kids can’t wait for another time or a different administration. They’re counting on us. So let’s get to work!
This is the full text of the remarks prepared by Sheril Kirshenbaum for her talk at the March for Science in Washington. Because speakers' times were cut to get everyone in, her actual remarks were abbreviated.