- By Chas Danner April 22 2017 NY Magazine see full article here
Scientists and their supporters amassed in large numbers in hundreds of cities across the globe on Saturday to participate in the March for Science, a worldwide protest in support of science, scientists, and the value of scientific research. More officially, the nonpartisan event was meant to encourage “political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.”
Many attendees in the U.S., however, appeared to be motivated as much by their respect for science as they were by the Trump administration’s perceived antipathy toward it. The sweeping White House–proposed budget cuts to federal agencies that fund scientists and their research was instrumental in driving interest in the march over the last few months; government science budgets were clearly on the minds of many other marchers across the world, too, as was the threat of human-driven climate change. Evidence and reality may be neutral, but in the present political climate, scientists may no longer be able to be so.
Whatever the specific motivations of individual participants, the overall march was undoubtedly a unique event in the history of science and politics. As the Washington Post’s Chris Mooney explains after talking to some science historians, “While scientists and their allies have argued about and even occasionally protested on specific political topics over the years, taking to the streets in a sweeping defense of scientific truth itself and its role in policymaking seems considerably broader and, for the research world, more fundamental.”
On Saturday, marches ranged in size from dozens to hundreds to as many as 40,000 people. It was also a perfect opportunity for some very smart people to think up a lot of witty and wonderfully nerdy protest signs… [see more including poster photos here…]