In today’s political climate, there are many protests, marches, and signs declaring justice for an array of reasons. However, on April 22 there will be a new march. One that not only exemplifies the need for justice in this area, but to amplify the importance it has on our everyday lives. We are not the powerful society or humans we think we are without it. What type of issue is this important? This is the topic of science and scientific research.
The March for Science, appropriately scheduled for Saturday, April 22 on Earth Day, is a celebration of science and the wonderful things it has brought us. During a time when it seems that politicians are discrediting scientific discoveries and advances, we need to be able to stand unified together in order to get across to everyone the very real fact of how much science plays a role in our everyday lives. As paraphrased by the March for Science website (www.marchforscience.com), we are facing a future where scientists are largely ignored, if not having their voices eliminated entirely. Anti-science policies have been suggested by both conservative and liberal sides of the political spectrum and we can no longer sit back and allow facts to become a political issue. This is real life. Research is the way we seek answers. This is how you drive your car (mechanics), check your email (technology), visit your doctor (medicine), or feed your family (agriculture/biology).
But why the march? Why do scientists feel so discouraged? As outlined within the march principles, many of us who are passionate about our work feel that science is under attack and threatened by those in power. We feel that every human deserves to be involved in and protect their right to be engaged in these fields, not to just leave it up to a politician. We want special interests groups to not have any part of these policies. We want science to be freely accessed by all regardless of a child’s backgrounds or upbringing in their public education sector. Time and time again, it has been demonstrated that diversity within these fields brings us the best results and brightest of minds. Additionally, gag rules on scientists within our government impedes the public’s right to access information. As tax payers, we certainly should have the knowledge of what these research projects are concluding. To keep our society as a leader in the world, funding must be kept as a top priority for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields in terms of research and education. We cannot be a leader without funding our current bright minds and future generations to provide us medical advances, environmental awareness, agricultural engineering, and other gravely important topics. Most importantly, in my personal opinion, is to have fact-based policies guided from peer-reviewed literature and not personal opinions and beliefs.
While this march will have its main component in Washington D.C., Rochester and Minneapolis will have their own satellite marches on that Saturday. I truly hope many of you share my passion in how important STEM fields are and their very large role in our existence. This march also has a Facebook page including the Rochester and Minneapolis satellite marches. To take away such critical parts of our lives will lead us to struggle in the future. We hope to help others understand the beauty, complexity, and value of such topics through awareness.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we can fear less.” – Marie Curie, first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in 1911 for chemistry.