The U.S. Capitol at night. The Dome glows white against a dark blue sky.
Capitol Hill at night. Original image from Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress collection. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Truth, Science, and Democracy

By Amanda Stanley

Jan 9, 2021


Minute Read


Science is a way of understanding the world that relies on observation, evidence, and reasoning, and the honest analysis of facts and data. As science communicators, we are responsible for sharing what we know truthfully. The truth of what happened in the U.S.A. this week is that there was an assault on democracy, and we must face with unflinching honesty how this event came to pass. We, as scientists, must acknowledge the roles that white supremacy, misinformation, and abuses of power played in the acts of insurrection in the seat of our nation’s democracy on January 6th. I join my voice with many others condemning the violent actions of the mob and the public figures that encouraged them. 

Watching the events unfolding in our nation’s Capitol, I was sickened by the hate on display. The lack of coordinated response left everyone at the Capitol vulnerable. The contrast between how law enforcement handled peaceful protests in support of Black Lives Matter over the summer, and the attempted coup on the Capitol this winter, was stark and painful to witness. As an ecologist who takes a systems-wide view of the problems we face, I know we can’t solve challenges like climate change if we don’t also dismantle white supremacy and realize a thriving democracy. These issues are powerfully linked. 

At COMPASS, our core values center around relationships, learning, and hope. I’m proud to lead an organization that stands in solidarity with calls for protecting our democratic institutions and more completely realizing the ideals and promise of democracy – something we have yet to achieve fully in America. We are dedicated to collaboratively building an inclusive, equitable and just future where people and nature both thrive. Science, at its core, is about hope – the hope and possibility of a better world. We are hopeful that together, we can create that world.

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