On November 10, 2016, as Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute, I hosted an informal brownbag lunch to discuss the impacts of the presidential election on science and conservation. Unsurprisingly, a crowd of mostly millennials packed our Boston office conference room.
This week the Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump as our next president. The election of a demagogue profoundly threatens our nation’s ability to produce sound science. And it creates a particularly pressing problem because of the many things Trump’s election isn’t changing—such as how nature works, and our human fundamental needs for survival.
Before European settlers came to North America, bison migrations were essential to the annual renewal of shortgrass prairie ecosystems, says EarthWatch chief scientist Cristina Eisenberg. By nipping off grasses, fixing nitrogen in the soil, and churning up the earth, their passage kept grasslands across parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho functioning smoothly.