The Women’s March was perhaps the largest organized demonstration in US history. Although there was a range of reasons why millions turned up the day after the inauguration of the new president, one of them happened to be science. “Science is not a liberal agenda” was one of the most commonly spotted signs at the march in Washington DC.
Before and after the march, America’s scientific institutions have been threatened with communications blackouts, staff cuts, funding freezes, and even the prospect of termination. Not willing to see America’s scientific legacy flushed down the drain, academics, under the banner “Scientists’ March on Washington”, are planning their own march on the nation’s capital.
Although a date has not yet been set, the organizers have told IFLScience that they are convening this weekend to discuss this.
Right now, their mission statement is a little vague, but that’s partly the point. Under their website’s section entitled “Who can participate?” it notes that “Anyone who values empirical science” can attend “That's it. That's the only requirement.”
“Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics,” the statement reads. “Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy.”
The organizers recognize that science is inherently non-political and non-partisan. It affects everything and everyone, and aims to discover objective truths that no-one should distort.
Of course, this is absolutely correct – but they also recognize that American politicians that either deny, reject, suppress, or misrepresent science are essentially domestic threats to the nation.
“An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.”
Despite only being set up in the last few days, the group already has 226,000 followers on Twitter, and is garnering plenty of support from members of the public and academics all over the world.
Unsurprisingly, we would urge you to support them. If you’d like to get in touch to help organize or participate in it, click here. If you’d like email updates on the march, click here to set them up.
Otherwise, take to Twitter. When you’re not browsing through the “rogue” scientific Twitter accounts – rogue in that they are doing the perfectly normal (but now rebellious) thing of discussing scientific research with the public – check out the hashtag #whysciencematters and add your own voice to it.