The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City is one of the premier institutions for public understanding of science in America. It’s a place children come to learn and develop a sense of wonder about the natural world. And it’s a top scientific institution looking into how our planet and climate have worked for the last million years, and what that means for big issues like climate change.
So what in the world is climate-denying sponsor of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump — Rebekah Mercer — doing on the board?!
If Mercer’s name sounds familiar, it might be because she and her father are at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exploited the Facebook data of 50 million people to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. Mercer is standing by Cambridge Analytica, where she sits on the firm’s board, despite an ongoing series of reports that the firm lied, stole, used sex workers and more in the service of conservative political campaigns like Trump’s.
Scientists from around the world and inside the AMNH have already asked Mercer to step down. But she shows no sign of bowing to public pressure.
The Cambridge Analytica Scandal is only the latest in the Mercer family’s shady, and decidedly un-scientific exploits: The Mercer Family Foundation has spent millions propping up Breitbart.com and their leader Steve Bannon. They’ve supported dozens of climate-denying politicians from Ted Cruz to Roy Moore. And they routinely fund so-called think-tanks like the Heartland Institute, the CO2 Coalition, and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide that routinely promote junk science denying that climate change is real, urgent, and a danger to our communities.
Clearly, Rebekah Mercer has no place on the board of one of our most famous science museums. But this isn’t just about kicking climate deniers out of our public institutions. It’s about making sure that billionaires can’t use their money to make climate denial and the politicians who support it (like Trump) seem legitimate. From her comfy position on the Board, Mercer can claim the attention, respect and even the tacit support of AMNH staff like Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But by standing together, we know we can win. Two years ago a lot of us engaged in a campaign to kick billionaire climate-denier David Koch off the board of the AMNH, and we won. Now is the time to do the same with Rebekah Mercer.
Sign here to kick climate denier Rebekah Mercer off the board at the American Museum of Natural History.