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Mar 20, 2017

In an Earth Day 2017 special episode of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks with Valorie Aquino, Co-Director on the Organizing Committee for the March for Science; Dr. Nancy Knowlton, organizer of the April 21-23rd Earth Optimism Summit; and Dr. Randy Olson, scientist-turned-filmmaker.

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Valorie Aquino, Co-Director of the March for Science

  • THE ORIGINS OF THE MARCH – Valorie explains the origins of the March. Learn what activities are planned during the event and some helpful logistics if you are attending.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE MARCH – Hear how the March grew from a Reddit post, to its own Facebook page, that within days, exploded in size from a few thousand members to nearly 850,000 members (and growing). Valorie describes how the social media platforms have become a place where supporters introduce themselves and explain why they are inspired by science.
  • THE WORLD MARCHES - Valorie describes how 400 satellite cities, across the planet, have organized to host their own parallel marches. Valorie, a PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico, describes how she got involved in the March and was recruited by the Co-Directors Caroline Weinberg, MD, MPH and Dr. Jonathan Berman, take on a leadership role in the organizing committee.  
  • MUCH MORE THAN A PROTEST – Doug and Valorie discuss the goals of the March and how this gathering of scientists and their supporters is a historic event and not a Trump protest rally. We also discuss what happens after the March and how to keep people galvanized to celebrate science and their role in supporting it.

In the second segment of the Earth Day themed episode, I talk with Dr. Nancy Knowlton, principal organizer of the Earth Optimism Summit, an April 21-23rd gathering of conservationists that will celebrate success stories in the environmental movement.

  • ADDICTED TO CRISIS - Nancy discusses the origins of the Summit and how, generally, the conservation movement has focused on doom and gloom. The Summit represents an opportunity to celebrate successes in conservation.
  • SHARING SUCCESS STORIES – Over 200 speakers, and 1200 attendees, are scheduled to participate in the summit. Nancy describes the topics covered in the event.
  • THE SUMMIT AND THE MARCH – Nancy describes how the Summit, a year in the making, responded when the spontaneous March for Science overlapped with their event, both DC based. Nancy sees the two efforts as complimentary, both looking to celebrate the role of science in our society.


In the final segment, scientist-turned-filmmaker (and previous podcast guest) Randy Olson comes on to discuss the two events.  DRAWING ON THE FOUR ORGANS THEORY PRESENTED IN HIS FIRST BOOK (Don’t Be Such a Scientist) HE contrasts the two approaches taken in developing the events, with the long planned summit complimenting the organic nature of the March.  Randy also USES HIS SECOND BOOK (Houston, We Have a Narrative) TO discuss how the spontaneous, grass roots March has no driving narrative of what it’s trying to do, and why that actually bodes well for the long term success of the March.  Randy digs into the leadership vacuum in the science universe and how the March might play a role in providing a new narrative for scientists.

Don't Be Such a Scientist:

Houston, We have a Narrative:

Links in episode:
Valorie Aquino
March for Science
Earth Optimism Summit
Dr. Nancy Knowlton
Randy Olson
March for Science Facebook Page


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Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .