Scientists send global message: 'March for Science'

Scientists send global message: 'March for Science'

USA

More than 500 demonstrations on Saturday will celebrate science's evidence-based methods that supporters note led to cures for diseases, technological advances and more.

The March for Science, a demonstration that took a cue from January's Women's March, is protesting the anti-science agenda that the new US administration has put forward. This is a move supported by a majority of the general public, with a 2015 Pew Research Center study finding that 67 percent of Americans support giving climate scientists a greater role in climate policy decisions. According to the Guardian, the march was originally organized on social media by Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas, after a Reddit conversation with other scientists about the effects of Donald Trump's policies on climate change and other issues. It protects our air and water, preserves our planet, saves lives with medical treatments, creates new industries, puts food on our tables, educates the next generation, and safeguards our future.

Science serves all of us. Organisers of the rally are calling for evidence-based policies to be implemented by politicians, but while they insist the march "isn't about any one politician - this is about science and policy, scientists and science supporters", the genesis of the campaign is rooted in the United States administration's stance toward science.

Scientists and science enthusiasts will stage a gathering in Hartford on Earth Day as part of the national "March for Science" event. Burnett shares these views and regards the upcoming protests as a reflection of dissatisfied climate researchers across the country. She has also received grants for natural disaster hazard assessment and geologic mapping from the United States Geological Survey.

Organizers encourage marchers to bring signs and banners. But while she said she valued including legislators in the conversation, she added that it was crucial to speak to the public, "because they are the ones who vote in people who are so vehemently against scientific evidence".

But for the organizers behind March for Science Toronto, the focus isn't only about showing support for the US science community. Since then the march has been endorsed by approximately 100 different organizations of scientists, as well as science celebrities such as Bill Nye "the Science Guy".

H. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow with focus on energy and environment at the Heartland Institute in Chicago, is among those scientists who have publicly spoken out against the idea of the "March for Science".

Anyway, this group of young scholars will be meeting on the National Mall on Saturday.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), a Democrat on the House Science Committee, said he expects the message to be "don't cut" funding for research, a message he hopes resonates with appropriators in Congress. "That's really important because it seems like people want to make this into an us versus them thing and that's not what it is supposed to be". Political turmoil has given rise to the "post-truth" era, she said, in which people ignore facts that undermine their own beliefs. "We want to talk about science to the politicians". "There are other lives here besides ourselves and we are the ones doing the most damage to it. Nothing in science is achieved in isolation, it's one of the truly remarkable human endeavours that knows no borders; it is the pooled knowledge of us, as humans".

The 'March for Science' campaign aims to point out to the public why funding for science is important and highlight how this is now under threat and show support for evidence-based policy and academic freedom both in Scotland, Europe and in the US.

Toronto-based Blake Williams told CTVNews.ca over email that he is marching for his father, who suffered a stroke a few years ago. "This medication not only saved his life but it saved him from having to suffer awful long-term side effects", Williams wrote.

The results of the Presidential election in November spotlight the backlash against expertise and even just basic facts now present in our country.

  • Jack Replman