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Sat Apr 22, 2017, 04:14 AM Apr 2017

The March for Science Is Just the First Step [View all]

The event’s organizers want people of all political persuasions to press for science-based policy


On Monday, January 9th, New York activist groups joined a national day of action to urge lawmakers to stand with science. Credit: Erik McGregor Getty Images

By Annie Sneed on April 21, 2017

This Earth Day scientists and their advocates will march in the streets to support scientific research and protest antiscience policies. More than 500 demonstrations are planned for Saturday in communities around the world—from Washington, D.C., to Tokyo to Accra, Ghana. The event, called the March for Science, is not just a one-off effort though. Its organizers say they have plans to create a lasting movement, one that will help connect people of all political beliefs to scientists and their work—and that will also push the public to demand science-based policies from the government.

Although it is unusual for researchers to get involved in such vocal advocacy—something the march’s organizers have faced criticism for—those participating feel it is a necessary step to defend science. As the march’s mission statement explains, “People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. … Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford.”

Scientific American spoke with Caroline Weinberg, national co-chair of the march and a health educator and advocate, about the motivation behind the March for Science and the movement she and her fellow organizers hope will continue after April 22.

(An edited transcript of the interview follows.)

What are some concrete actions that the march's organizers want to see come out of this event?

The goal of the march is to get people excited about the role of science in society and ready to agitate for science in policy. We want to channel that passion into a lasting movement that breaks down the barriers between scientists and their communities.


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