- Views & Opinions
A resistance is rising to challenge the flat-Earth mentality governing Washington, D.C., and some state capitols.
Efforts by the Trump administration to silence scientists and stifle their research are driving a global protest that will come together on Earth Day as the first-ever March for Science.
Scientists will march on Washington April 22 and in more than 280 satellite marches around the globe. They’ll be rallying under the banner “Science, not Silence.”
Organizers say the coalition involved in the march represents millions of scientists, engineers, researchers and students.
As of March 3, more than 50,000 people had volunteered to help stage the demonstrations.
“Scientific integrity serves everyone and we need to speak out for science together,” said Valorie Aquino, one of the march’s three national co-chairs and an anthropology Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Mexico. “We’re thrilled and inspired that our message is resonating with so many organizations and so many people who have been advancing and defending science for years.”
The Trump administration’s efforts to censor scientists includes removing research, data and other materials on climate change from government sources. Republican state governments, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, also have worked to conceal science-based information on climate change.
March co-chair Caroline Weinberg, a health educator and science writer, said a goal will be “holding our leaders — both in science and politics— accountable to the highest standards of honesty, fairness and integrity.”
Partners in the effort include the Earth Day Network, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Entomological Society of America, NextGen Climate America, 500 Women Scientists, American Anthropological Association, American Society for Cell Biology, Center for Biological Diversity, League of Extraordinary Scientists and Engineers, Research!America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and many more.
The D.C. actions will begin at 10 a.m. April 22 with a teach-in and rally on the National Mall, followed by a street march. An announcement said the rally would “call for politicians to implement science-based policies” and serve as a celebration of “science and the enormous public service it promotes in our democracy, our economy and in all our daily lives.”
Earth Day, organizers said, seems an appropriate time for the action.
“This year’s global Earth Day theme is climate and environmental literacy and of course science speaks directly to our mission,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network.
Follow developments on the March for Science at marchforscience.com and on social media with #ScienceServes.
The Center for Biological Diversity has filed public records requests seeking details about reported gag orders in place at the EPA, the Interior Department and the Department of Agriculture.
“The American people have a right to know what their government is up to, especially one with such close ties to the very industries it’s charged with regulating,” said Meg Townsend, an attorney for the center. “Without this information, we can’t know whether agencies are actually safeguarding the well-being of our natural heritage or whether they’re selling our air, water and wildlife to the highest bidder.”
Republican state lawmakers are renewing their push to ban research on aborted fetal tissue in Wisconsin.
Private and university researchers who have blocked similar efforts the past six years remain firmly against anything that would impinge on their work.
Three Republican lawmakers have circulated a bill that would prohibit the sale and research of fetal tissue starting in 2018. The measure would essentially duplicate federal law in Wisconsin.
Other proposals would end the sale and use of fetal tissue body parts obtained from abortions.
Those against a ban say it would curtail promising research on potentially life-saving cures and treatments and hurt the state’s economy.
A coalition of Wisconsin academic research institutions, bioscience-related trade groups and health care providers, said given federal law and policies governing the use of fetal tissue and cells, “we strongly believe that no additional regulation by the state of Wisconsin is needed.” — AP