ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION
Millions march for science worldwide
Jared Houston
volume:  
volume 38
issue 3
June 2017
imagestuff

A literal sign of the times at the March for Science in Sydney. Photo: David Moir / EPA

W.E.B. Du Bois once stated that “the cure [for ignorance] wasn’t simply telling people the truth, it was inducing them to act on it.” This could certainly be said of the millions of people who marched for science across the globe on April 22. Inspired by the Women’s March, the idea quickly erupted into an international event occupying hundreds of U.S. cities, several countries, the Arctic Circle, and even the International Space Station.

Organizers called the march the beginning of a movement to promote scientific thinking and defend against funding cuts, climate denial, and government sponsored censorship. Speakers eagerly educated on the critical role of science in daily life.

The march was initially organized as a response to Trump’s anti-science policies, but there were clearly divisions in the crowds. The official website took a liberal “nonpartisan” position and a few scientists refused to participate because it was “too political.” Others more radically inclined were excited to take to the streets and warmly welcomed seditious newspapers such as the Freedom Socialist..

The marchers waved their witty banners enthusiastically. “Trump is like an atom,” read one homemade sign, “He makes up everything.” “A woman’s place is in the lab,” a nearby sign declared defiantly.

Many first-time protesters participated in the march. They included toddlers (some dressed as Little Miss Flint) and retired schoolteachers wearing lab coats. The catalyst for many was climate change. Trump calls the impending crisis a “hoax” and plans to make massive cuts to Environmental Protection Agency funding. One science teacher from Illinois drove to the D.C. march after a school board member openly challenged her views on global warming. “The oceans are rising and so are we,” one ominous sign asserted.

The data is clear that science is not willing to become an “alternative fact.” Rather, it is reaching for the cure to ignorance, not only through a microscope but also in the streets.

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