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March for Science Coming to D.C. and a Town Near You April 22

by Countable | 4.18.17

On Earth Day, April 22, organizers are planning a March for Science in Washington, D.C. as the "first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments" according to the March’s official website.

In an interview, one of three honorary co-chairs, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, argued against the March being characterized as exclusively an anti-Trump march:

"Support for science has been falling for quite some time. And discussions about whether or not science is valid have been going on since long before Trump entered the political scene. These two trends have been building to the point where many of us feel that we need to make the case for science in as nonpartisan a way as possible."

In her planned remarks she hopes to focus on the importance of governmental support for foundational research, highlighting the work of scientists in the 1960’s around bacteriophages. At the time, no one knew the future use for the findings. It was a “quirky piece of biology off in a corner” and led directly to the entire biotech industry.

"We have to find a way to support creative science that we don’t know the value of. When we learn something wonderful about how the world works, it expands the realm of possibility for all of us, from artists to patients to the average citizen."

514 satellite marches are planned around the country and the world — from places like Pittsburgh, PA and Portland, OR to Edinburgh, Scotland. One of the march organizers from Pittsburgh, Rebecca Tasker, said "the event promises to be ‘a giant science party,’ with a positive theme."

Congress members have also come out in support of the March. In an op-ed for The Hill Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) calls for participants to stand up for the "importance of science and the integrity of truth," pointing to the administration’s moves away from efforts to combat climate change as evidence that they are participating in a “legacy of denial and duplicity.”

There are those that oppose the March. Some have argued that staging a march only reinforces "the narrative from skeptical conservatives that scientists are an interest group and politicize their data, research and findings for their own ends." Others have accused the organizers of not actually marching for science, but against social and economic policy, with little understanding of the mechanics of how human behavior changes:

"...we've another scientific specialty which deals with those sorts of things--economics. That's what it is about, the allocation of scarce resources so as to meet humans wants and desires. And thus if we want to change the way that humans are allocating resources then that's the science we're going to have to use. It's worth noting that pretty much all economists are against those uses of regulation to control emissions. Not because they don't believe or trust the climate scientists. But because the economists have their own expertise. Not in climate science of course--but in what you need to do to get humans to change their behaviour."

For their part, scientists are not only using the March to register their political concerns, some are using it as an opportunity to do more science. Sociologists and other scientists who do survey research are planning multiple team efforts to poll march participants about their participation and views on what is appropriate political behavior for scientists. Researchers hope to better understand "what is driving people to act now and what their actions say about the status of science in today’s fractious political culture."

Organizers are planning to take the science of march documentation into their own hands, too. When asked about the tendency for crowd numbers to be underreported, Jackie Wirz of the Portland march assured reporters they’ve got it covered, "We're scientists. We have drones".

Sounds like a giant science party to us.

Do you support the March for Science? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Brad Hoc via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(256)
  • Amy
    04/18/2017
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    Please support the March for Science. We need more evidence based policy.

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  • Frank
    04/18/2017
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    I hope our country removes religion from our constitution and replace it with secularism.

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  • Loretta
    04/18/2017
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    We need more money and resources for scientific research.

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  • Jeanne
    04/18/2017
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    I hope you will show your support for the Science March in Trenton on Saturday.

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  • Esther
    04/18/2017
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    I support the science march.

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  • Allie
    04/18/2017
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    I'm going to the Earth day protest in Trenton, Nj, was planning on going to this in DC since the epa has been "removed." It's the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment and the safety of our people, and lives of organisms all across the planet; in the oceans, in the jungles, in the deserts, etc. Most importantly, how we can combat global warming. Now that there's no epa and the people who got rid of it and replaced everyone are jokes. Climate change is not invalid, it's the biggest threat to mankind right now, and all people are focused on is who's going to bomb who next like come on guys. The millennialist get a lot of shade thrown our way. But we're the ones who actually see the problem that's starting and going on and are willing to fight for it. If that makes us whiny little snowflakes, then so be it. But at least we fought for something in our lives.

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  • DrRichSwier
    04/18/2017
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    Science is not about politics. It's about the search for truth. Government has no role in funding scientific research. It's better for the private sector and universities to fund their own researchers. When government gets involved there is always politics, fraud waste and abuse involved.

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  • Alex
    04/18/2017
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    I will be marching in NYC this weekend- please show your support!

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  • Rebecca
    04/18/2017
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    Marching in Chicago this weekend - hoping for an awesome turn out!

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  • Vivian
    04/18/2017
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    I will be marching this Saturday to support science. I hope you will support science too.

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  • Grant
    04/18/2017
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    So many Texans depend on advances in research for their lives and livelihoods. I hope you will stand up for scientific progress and the crucial funding necessary to Make American Science Great Again.

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  • Patricia
    04/18/2017
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    Join the march in Charlotte, NC. See you there!

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  • Lisa
    04/18/2017
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    I'm marching in Boston.

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  • Barb
    04/18/2017
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    I'll be marching with my 12-year-old son in Chicago. He loves science and we'll be marching to tell this administration that science is real and important. Science should be shaping government policy decisions, especially in protecting the environment and stopping climate change.

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  • Jojo
    04/18/2017
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    Science is responsible for the advances that we take advantage of today. Literally, everything in our world has arisen because of scientific inquiry. To berate scientists and their critical work because we don't like what they are saying or because it flies in the face of long held religious beliefs is short sighted and in most cases demonstrative of complete ignorance. Religion is arbitrary. Honest scientific theory is not. There is a reason the Founding Fathers wanted a separation of church and state. Neglecting scientific evidence in favor of unfounded religious belief is irresponsible.

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  • Natalie
    04/18/2017
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    I support science and I hope you do too!

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  • Mauricio
    04/18/2017
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    We need to protect science and our government should embrace and nurture it. We need policies based more on facts and the advice of the scientific community and less on opinions.

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  • StartingOut
    04/18/2017
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    Nobody has a problem with solid science. Those against this are simply the people who realize much of the scientific community is no longer trustworthy and will lie to us if it supports the money going into their pocket or their personal political ideology. Take smoking for example, we all know how unhealthy it is now, but it took years to teach the public that, because the smoking companies paid scientists to come up with false reports to make smoking look beneficial.

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  • rjfreeman
    04/18/2017
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    Science Not Silence. March for Science April 22!

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  • Don
    04/18/2017
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    It is truly a sad day when government officials deny science. It is a really sad day when the scientific facts supporting a global shift in our environmental home is derided as 'hoax.' It is time to replace politicians who put more credence in a book full of allegory and myth than they do in years of scientific research. It is time to replace politicians who put Party before country, who assume self righteously that they are the protectors of 'faith based' learning. It is time, and it will be a storm. Thunder and lightening, wind and rain - get ready.

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