It’s Science Friday. Who cares?

When Sam Clovis, President Trump’s nominee to be the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist, was asked to list his academic credentials in science or agriculture, he answered, “None.”

Here are some recent stories that Sam Clovis and others who don’t regularly follow news about science, agriculture and food may have missed:

  • An article in Science has linked the global decline of bees and other pollinators to pesticides used in agriculture.
  • A German study documented a 75% decline in flying insects over the last 25 years, which, warned one of the researchers, has put us “on course for ecological Armageddon.”
  • Fascinating new studies have linked rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere to a decline of nutrition in plants. As they substitute carbohydrates for proteins and minerals, they are essentially transforming themselves into “junk food.”
  • Even oysters are closing their ears: new research found that marine noise pollutants – from cargo ships to underwater oil exploration – cause oysters to close their shells, leaving them biologically vulnerable.

Few people pay attention to esoteric academic studies of tiny, seemingly insignificant organisms – so it’s not surprising that a man like Sam Clovis, with no academic credentials, might have missed them.

Wait. . . .What? Sam Clovis has withdrawn his name from consideration?

Ah, because of his lack of credentials?

Oh, because of the Russian investigation.

Don’t worry. We still have the EPA. After all, it’s the scientists who put the protection in the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wait. . . .What? The EPA just replaced its independent scientists with representatives of industry.

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.