Jessie Atkin
author, procrastinator, nerd, twin
author of We Are Savages

Jessie Atkin


The Ten Plagues: Science Not Silence

Posted by Jessie on April 23, 2017 at 12:15 AM

A week ago today I was still refraining from eating most carbs, as it was the Jewish holiday of Passover. A holiday where Jews across the world come together to remember the exodus from Egypt. One of the better known elements of the Passover seder, the holiday's ritual meal, is the recitation of the 10 plagues of Egypt. Blood, Frogs, Locusts, etc. In the haggadah, the book that tells the Passover story, the edition my family uses, also lists ten modern day plagues.

Ten Modern Day Plagues:

  1. The making of war
  2. The teaching of hate and violence
  3. Despoliation of the earth
  4. Perversion of justice and of government
  5. Fomenting of vice and crime
  6. Neglect of human needs
  7. Oppression of nations and peoples
  8. Corruption of culture
  9. Subjugation of science, learning, and human discourse
  10. Erosion of freedoms
We've read that list every year of my life, but never has it felt as relevant, never have I paid such close attention as I did this year.

Today I sit watching The March for Science on C-SPAN. I've heard Bill Nye, and Denis Hayes who coordinated the first Earth Day, speak about their hopes for our future. I sit in my parent's house, where we held our seder a week ago, and watch the atypical rise of Lake Ontario out their back window.

I remember the snow still on the ground when my relatives arrived for the holiday. As my birthday approaches in three weeks time I know that I've only reached this point in my life because of science. I was a NICU baby with my twin sister. My family already understands what truth, action, and scientific developments can mean for all sorts of lives, including mine.

I know things feel different. It's not just the weather. It's not just on Twitter. It's the way we talk about the environment, talk about science, and the way we are warned not to. It's the way the word "facts" has even become marred in controversy. I've heard people talk about how the environment and the economy are incompatible, how religion and science are constantly at odds. But in just a week's time I have seen how that isn't true. Not when people pay attention. Not when people have real conversations. And not when people stand up.

Categories: About Me, Pop Culture

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