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Some of the top scientists in the US are taking their New Year's resolutions extra-seriously this year—it is, after all a year when we could see both some revolutionary pro-science political change and some major funding evaporate thanks to that pesky "worst recession since the Great Depression." So when the respected group the Union of Concerned Scientists drafts up resolutions, expect some practical, important proposals. (No room for the mundane or the lofty here—"Try to call the folks more often" nor "Obliterate global warming with an iron fist" make the cut).
The resolutions are, yet again, aimed at the new administration. And while we all know that Obama's suggestion box is already overstuffed, these resolutions have a particular resonance—if only because they're brief, pointed, and wise. Here's the scientists' top 10 New Year's resolutions:
Union of Concerned Scientists' Top 10 New Year's Resolutions
1. Defend Americans from unsafe drugs, toys and other products by requiring that federal agency leaders protect employees who blow the whistle when science is misused.
2. Allow the public access to tremendous scientific resources by letting government scientists tell us what they know.
3. Protect the air we breathe by obeying the law and setting air pollution standards based on science.
4. Restore our faith in government by providing more information to the public about how science-based policy decisions are made.
5. Use science to conserve our natural heritage for future generations.
6. Collect enough information to give us flexibility to meet future challenges and keep tabs on current problems.
7. Hold your administration accountable to high scientific integrity standards.
8. Keep politics out of science by reining in the power of the White House to tamper with purely scientific analyses.
9. Safeguard our health by putting the Environmental Protection Agency back in charge of evaluating the potential dangers of chemicals without interference from other agencies.
10. Protect us by shining a bright light on all agency meetings held with special interests so we can understand their influence.
Sort of puts my list—which includes the likes of "stop biting fingernails" and, ahem, "try to call the folks more often"—to shame, doesn't it. Maybe I'll add "protect my integrity by shining a bright light on the fact that I need new fluorescent light bulbs in my apartment." Still doesn't have quite the same ring.
Anyhow, there's more detailed info on the UCS resolutions available, and I for one, will be celebrating the New Year's knowing that we have a president-elect in the wings who may actually pay attention to such suggestions.
So Happy New Year's, scientists and other green folk alike—it's going to be a wild one.
More on the Union of Concerned Scientists:
SUV Solutions by the Union of Concerned Scientists
Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford Host Union of Concerned Scientists Bash