The March for Science: You can't just make up stuff

On a windy but pleasant Saturday, I participated in the March for Science, a nationwide event that I think will be remembered for generations to come. It took place on Earth Day, April 22, in downtown Dallas.  

It was the first time in my lifetime that thousands of Americans came together for science and made it clear that they want to live in a civilized society, not an ignorant one. Any lawmaker who blatantly denies scientific evidence for his or her own self-interest is a boorish, self-indulgent and pathetic excuse for a public servant. Congress is full of them. 

For example, Sen. James Inhofe, (R) Oklahoma, who brought snowballs to the Senate floor to prove that if it's snowing outside, global warming must be a hoax. It doesn't matter what most scientists say because the oil and gas industry gives politicians fat campaigncontributions every election year. 

As Mark Twain once said, "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."

Thousands of people in Dallas joined the March for Science from City Hall to Fair Park. It wasn't a bunch of hippies and tree huggers, although there were definitely a few, but concerned, practical and thoroughly good Americans. Families, teachers, park rangers and environmentalists marched like rebel soldiers from the movie “Star Wars” down the street. People dressed as astronauts and students wore their lab coats with pride. It was a spectacle. 

One student, Amamuel Tafessu, a bio-medical major at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, worried that cuts from federal funding would prolong the completion of his education.

"They're cutting funding of the NIH (National Institutes of Health, which researches disease prevention and cures). That could mean less professors, less equipment, less resources for us to advance our work," said Tafessu. 

The rest of my day was spent at Fair Park which was an educational and a great time. I got some free plants and vegetables from high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. I learned how to save electricity and, in turn, save money on my energy bill. I fed a kangaroo and inspected bee hives through a microscope. 

It was a good time, but what impressed me the most were three young men, Jackson, Landry and Juan, from Wylie East High School. These guys designed and built a solar-powered car. Jackson is a junior and Landry is a sophomore. Both are studying robotics in school. Juan, is a sophomore and studies welding.

"I welded the frame up here in the front," said Juan as he pointed to to the front of the vehicle. It looked like a go-cart built from scratch. No fancy colors, just bare wires and steel with a large solar roof. I was astonished. 

"It's not finished, but it took us about five months to build it this far," Jackson said. The driver's seat was still being held together by a stack of magazines but I was told the car could go up to 50 miles per hour in daylight and was to be raced against rivals this summer. I was in the presence of the future and it was bright.  These young minds wanted to learn more, solve our toughest problems and care for our sacred land. It gave me inspiration to remain optimistic about the next generation. With a culture of science, we will have new inventions, new industries and new planets to explore. Bring it on.