By Laurie Garrett in the USA:
Why I Will March for Science on Saturday
Apr 20, 2017
On Saturday, scientists and their supporters will leave the sanitized comfort of their labs and academic environs to march in Washington, D.C., and more than 400 other cities and 100 countries around the world.
It all started with a tweeted picture of a child holding a pro-science sign at the Jan. 22 March for Women, followed by health educator Caroline Weinberg’s tweet, “Hell hath no fury like a scientist silenced,” and swiftly grew into the largest protest since the women’s event.
It’s a very big, twofold gamble on their part. First, reckoning that the typically apolitical and highly government-dependent scientific community will break with their tradition of political silence in large-enough numbers to create a serious presence, rather than a pathetic disappointment. And second, wagering that the vision of tens of thousands of angry nerds and geeks will have the desired positive impact on policymakers and the public at large. That’s a tough one. While “The Big Bang Theory” may have enjoyed top TV ratings for the past decade, average Americans are leery of real-life Leonards and Sheldons and their discoveries.
Most of the leading scientific institutions in the United States are backing both propositions and urging their members to hit the streets on Saturday. From the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS, the publisher of Science) to the editorial board of Nature and the New York Academy of Sciences and its counterparts across the country, the admonishment is clear: Get out and march!
The 157,000-strong American Chemical Society has asked its members to conduct marches that will constitute “a nonpartisan celebration of science,” and a long list of professional societies echoed that sentiment. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is backing the march, saying, “The truth needs an advocate.”
The London-based Nature Cell Biology, a journal noted for controversies regarding the relative contributions of various cell receptors to triggered enzyme activity, told its readers that it’s time for scientists to “become political,” citing the potentially devastating double impact of Brexit’s limits on freedom of movement affecting immigrations for scientists and President Donald Trump’s anti-science stances.
A similarly staid American publication, The Chronicle of Higher Education, called upon universities to back the protest as a form of mass education, telling the world about the wonders of science.
“Scientists have to be reminded that the response to a challenge to science is not to retreat to the microscope, to the laboratory, to the ivory tower,” Rush Holt, CEO of the AAAS, said recently. “This requires vigorous defense.”
March for Science in the Netherlands: here.
22 April 2017. Hundreds of thousands of scientists, researchers, workers and youth are poised to participate in today’s “March for Science.” The main rally will take place in Washington, DC, with sister demonstrations and marches taking place in more than 600 locations across the world, involving people in at least 130 countries and encompassing six continents. It is slated to be the world’s largest pro-science demonstration to date: here.