Scientists latest group to march in protest in Trump era

22 April, 2017, 01:53 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis
  • Thousands took part in the march for science rally in Sydney a global event

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. This time around, people are protesting the rise of anti-science attitudes in USA politics, and rallying in support of scientists and their research. I am anxious that my granddaughter, now 2 1/2-years-old, will grow up to live in a world strikingly different from that we enjoyed and prospered from during the last half of the 20th century.

Many believe the Trump administration poses a direct threat to scientific research, slashing the EPA budget, cutting funding to educational programs, and hiring climate change deniers in high-level positions. The main march will take place in Washington, D.C., but more than 425 marches are planned around the world.

The Science March starts at 9 a.m. Saturday with a "teach-in" focused on the theme of the march, "environmental and climate literacy".

Michael Monn GS, who studies in the School of Engineering, is helping to organize a group of students who will attend the march in Boston.

The Globe authors say an "erosion of the public trust in science" brought about by industry lobbyists has resulted in "a widening rift between critical thinking and alternative facts". "If government scientists aren't free to speak about their work we risk further exacerbating the declining public trust". Scientists know they're losing ground, but they're concerned that activism involving their work imperils the objectivity of research.

The debates about the March for Science go beyond what math equation looks best on a placard, however. While the University does not generally sponsor participation in marches, it does recognize that they are a form of advocacy, according to the email.

Scientists could conclude tomorrow that if we don't temporarily halt fracking, the Rocky Mountains will collapse into the Earth and fill with molten lava, and the people running the country would say, "Hold up".

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The global event follows the Women's March on January 21 where more than one million people marched across the world to show support for women's rights and express their discontent over the election of Trump who has called climate change a "hoax". Rather, they argue, it is pro-science.

Since my early marching days I have devoted my professional life to conducting and facilitating research and communicating scientific understanding to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, where I spent most of my adult life, and the Mississippi Delta, where I was born and raised.

"Being the only event (we have no updates on the march in Hyderabad as of now) in India, we technically stand with March for Science", Arjhun Swaminathan of the organisation told IANS.

The March for Science has landed under the microscope amid mounting criticism over its left-of-center political agenda, prompting fears that the event could do more harm to the image of scientific research than good.

Although numerous organizers are against Trump's proposals, Kedes said he still thinks the group can send a message that's nonpartisan. We've chosen this field because we're passionate about science, we're passionate about climate, and we're frankly turning down much larger paychecks that we could be making doing other things. "As a lasting national organization", as written on the March for Science website, "we will encourage marchers to uphold our shared values and take specific actions, including strengthening the bonds between scientists and the public, engaging in ongoing science education, fighting discrimination in our own institutions and our communities, and insisting their legislators propose and enact evidence based policies". The demonstration comes a week after the Tax March and a week before the People's Climate March. For example, organizers have placed an enormous emphasis increasing on racial and gender diversity within the scientific community, igniting a flap over having the event co-chaired by Bill Nye, who is white.

As president, Mr. Trump has stacked his Cabinet with individuals who have either actively worked to undermine the agencies they now lead or have demonstrated a willingness to wipe out federal funding for science entirely.


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