In 1970, people in the United Stated had mobilized on first Earth Day to protest against policies thought to be devastating for the Earth. Now, almost 50 years after that protest, there is a new call for The March for Science to be held on April 22 in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and other cities across America to combat efforts of the Trump’s government to discredit scientific research.
President Trump completely denies the theory that human activities are responsible for climate change, and many of his Cabinet members have questioned the safety of vaccines.
“On April 22, we walk out of the lab and into the streets. The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” stated organizers of the event, who want to remain anonymous to protect their federal jobs.
“The politicization of science, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.”
The mission statement of the March highlights the goal of making the protests non-partisan.
“The March for Science champions publicly-funded and publicly-communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, non-partisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest. This group is inclusive of all individuals and types of science!”
Stanford professor of biology Elizabeth Hadly – who previously worked for the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – thinks the time has come to take a stand.
“I feel the obligation to communicate the importance of the science in our society,” said Hadly.
“How can a society survive without truth, without data and information, without diversity of people and their perspectives? ” said Hadly.
“It is imperative that scientists work to represent those that do not have a voice and critical that we maintain the role of science in society.”
The location for the San Francisco march is not yet finalized, although the event will be held for 9 am to 12 noon, and will be led by a team that includes Amado Guloy, a chemist and entrepreneur.
Marches are also planned in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Oklahoma City, Louisville, Miami, with more to come.
In Boston, one local organizer, Boston College’s Kimberly Hokanson, says the effort to make it non-political event is sincere.
“We’re not protesting anyone. We’re speaking up for science and science education and science funding,” says Hokanson, who runs the Facebook page for the event and is among the leaders putting it together.
“I think we’re doing the best we can so far—in our eight days of work—keeping on message as much as we can. That’s definitely a focus for us.”
According to Hokanson, another focus is diversity.
“Diversity in field, age, racial and ethnic background, LGBTQ—as diverse a group of people as we can find, on the stage,” she said, adding, “I don’t think many politicians at all.”