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Marching for science and planet's future

21 April 2017

Organizers will host the March for Science on the National Mall on Saturday, followed by the People's Climate March the week after.

The march "has the endorsement of an enormous number of well-respected scientific organizations", said Susan Gerbi, professor of biochemistry and an organizer for the March for Science RI.

"Our volunteers are people who value science and recognize the impact science makes on our lives", Michelle Edgar, director of operations and community outreach for Greater Columbia Action Together, the group organizing the local event, said in a statement. I go to Greenland and Antarctica and I see these changes happening.

A campus-wide email sent April 13 by Provost Richard Locke and Vice President for Research David Savitz echoed these sentiments. "Science can stand on its own right".

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According to some of the worldwide organisers, Earth Day Network, American Geophysical Union, National Science Teachers Association and Carnegie Science, "defending science, innovation and discovery is an absolute must in every community throughout the world".

Before the first Earth Day in 1970 rivers caught fire, including the Passaic. Many academic scientists and EPA staffers grew alarmed in January after Trump took office and the EPA halted - at least temporarily - grants and some communications with the public.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a molecular cellular biologist and honorary national co-chair of the March for Science, said the problem is not new, and that federal support for research has been declining since the 1960s. "Maybe it is becoming a political issue, but I think that pretending that it's not is potentially" a risk.

Organizers don't know how many protesters will attend but it is expected to draw thousands along with plenty of silly signs. We must ensure that the interpretation of empirical data guide public policies, ranging from the fight against climate change to decisions over protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.

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"For me, it's a matter of remembering the larger picture", he said. I'll be at both events along with a team from Environment America.

One such group is the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which will capitalise on the gathering to train scientists and science supporters to be more politically active. Scientists, global leaders, corporations and people took a collective sigh of relief that a climate agreement, although imperfect, finally moved forward. These have promoted the march to their members, suggested speakers for the teach-ins on the day, and will be key to rallying people for the science cause long after the march is over, says Berman. The organisers are adamant that the key to protecting science lies with public support.

Science activists saw the event as something they could replicate, and devised similar action - a large D.C. rally with satellite protests around the country - based on showing general support for science policy.

"As a scientist, I was never really involved in activism", said Stephon Alexander, chair of the physics department, adding that the current political landscape has spurred him to "march to make sure the next generation of scientists have a fighting chance".

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In the days after the 2017 United States presidential inauguration, resistance to the anti-science stance trumpeted during the 2016 campaign grew in online discussions on Reddit. You can also download posters to print from the website.

Marching for science and planet's future