Science on the March in the West
The March for Science was a resounding success; not only in the nation’s capital but across the country and the world at numerous satellite marches. I was proud to participate in Salt Lake City’s March for Science on a beautiful April 22nd.
Hundreds of people, families and friends, gathered at City Creek Park at the foot of Salt Lake’s Capitol Hill to celebrate the value that science delivers to our communities. Many marchers brought home-made signs reiterating the March’s core aims to promote “Science, not Silence,” emphasizing “Research = Hope,” and reminding us that many of the staples of our lives and health, from beer to vaccines, are brought to us thanks to Science.
Marchers carried a positive and almost festive mood up North State Street, occasionally chanting but mostly keeping their signs aloft as they enjoyed each other’s company. Many marchers voiced concerns over a perceived weakening of the peer-review process in scientific decision making and many others voiced concerns over the lack of evidence-based policy-making. Despite these undertones, most marchers were there to trumpet the role of science in their lives and to show their support for scientists, and scientific thinking in general.
After a brief walk, marchers by the hundreds fanned out in front of the Capitol steps to hear several distinguished speakers outline the important role of science in our society. These speakers included not only a Nobel-prize winner, but also educators, environmentalists, and other scientists. The messages were clear and simple: Science is a process, not a position, and under funding or sidelining science will only be harmful in the long run. Another key message was the reminder to engage with our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens to encourage informed decision making at all levels.
As the March wound down, the afternoon’s excitement was still palpable. Walking back down Capitol Hill I heard more than one group of marchers making plans to call their members of Congress. I also heard nearly everyone say how well they thought the March had gone and how important it was for them to have participated. Hopefully, many Marchers will take those two elements – participation and engagement – to heart as they head back to the lab and their communities. It’s up to all of us to keep science from being silenced.
Tristan Gray-Le Coz is a science policy intern at Research!America. For more information about the March for Science visit: http://www.researchamerica.org/blog/march-science