Donald Trump has become the 45th president. For many, it’s difficult to stomach.
Over the course of the presidential primaries and after the election, Americans saw a darker side of society. While all of the controversies, name calling, and starkly contrasting views may leave some wondering what to believe, groups like 314 Action remind us that we can’t lose sight of the hard facts.
The recently formed non-profit, which gets its name from the commonly reoccurring ratio Pi, or 3.14, strives to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in the states, advocate for scientifically driven policy, and encourage people with STEM backgrounds to run for office.
“Congress fails to fully fund scientific research so we can solve pressing environmental issues like climate change and social problems like gun violence,” Director of Communications for 314 Action Ted Bordelon told Lady Freethinker. “314 Action was formed to bring fact and reason back to the way we govern.”
STEM subjects tend to cover a wide variety of topics, but 314 Action plans on tackling specific issues including climate change, STEM education, gun violence, and energy.
Trump denies scientific facts, including climate change
With Trump as president, Bordelon noted “It is clear that we need the representation of scientists in public office now more than ever.”
Although scientists have established that climate change is a very real fact, during the campaign and as late as December 2016, in an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Trump said that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real.
In an earlier tweet, he even claimed global warming was just a conspiracy:
Having such a prominent public official – the very president of the world’s greatest superpower – deny the reality of climate change is more than troubling. Scientists have been rushing to store data they fear may be tossed out, as even Trump’s proposed cabinet has a worrying stance.
Now, the nonprofit world is left scrambling to restore common sense and bolster science in the U.S..
“314 Action was founded by members of the STEM community, pro-science advocates and grassroots activists who were concerned that STEM education in the United States is falling further and further behind the rest of the world, that our political leaders continue to deny scientific facts and that Congress fails to fully fund scientific research so we can solve pressing environmental issues like climate change and social problems like gun violence,” Bordelon explained.
The United States is lagging behind many countries in STEM education
International testing and perceptions tell a similar story. According to a 2016 report from the Pew Research Center, just 29 percent of Americans rated their K-12 STEM program as above average or best in the world. Pew emphasized that although students have made strides in math, they’re still lagging behind over a dozen other countries.
“The only way to change Washington, D.C. is to change the people who are sent there to serve,” said Bordelon. “Scientists and members of the STEM community are underrepresented in Washington and in local governments across the country, and now more than ever America needs leaders who rely on scientific facts and research rather than intuition.”
314 Action strives to bring STEM professionals into politics
Unfortunately, most politicians don’t start out as scientists or mathematicians. So how will 314 get more STEM professionals in a role to actively change policy?
“314 Action will aggressively recruit, train and support candidates with STEM backgrounds at all levels of government,” Bordelon said.
This recruitment initiative is aptly called “STEM the Divide.” Anyone with a STEM background who is interested in running for office can fill out a form with 314 Action or sign up for their March 14th online informational session.
“Our network of more than 75,000 STEM professionals and pro-science advocates will be leveraged to support selected candidates,” explained Bordelon. “Currently, we are focused on recruitment.”