Opinion: Why we need a Scientists’ March on Washington

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After January 20 (the inauguration of President Trump), protests have become almost de rigueur in this country. It seems like there is one almost every weekend, most of which I attend. While I think (almost) all of them are important, there is one coming up that is very close to my heart – the Scientists’ March on Washington.

Even if you disagree with the ideology behind the Women’s March on Washington, it can’t be denied that it was huge and that it started the flood of public protests. There were an estimated four million protesters in the U.S. alone, and up to five million more worldwide.

The Refugee March that occurred only two weeks later was a continuation of this momentum. Organized as an outcry to the short-lived Executive Order travel ban, the march garnered five thousand people in Salt Lake City alone. Utahns are protective of the refugee community, in part because of the Mormon Church’s support.

Next in the continuing saga of protest is one that has yet to have happened; called the Tax March. President Trump’s refusal to show how much he pays in taxes sparked a lot of controversy in the presidential race. After the election, this issue is still in the front and center of many citizens’ minds.

Finally, we come to the last march, the Scientists’ March on Washington. According to their official website, “The goal of the march itself is to highlight the valuable public service role science plays in society and policy, and demonstrate the deep public support for science.”

This administration is not doing too well with implementing science-based policies, to put it lightly. Between putting a man who has made a career from suing the EPA in charge of it, to saying climate change is a Chinese hoax, to planning on building a wall that would destroy native animal habitats, many scientifically minded people are concerned.

Many scientists disagree with the idea of the march. The most common reason given is they believe science shouldn’t be politicized. It could strengthen the idea that science is only used by liberals to pass their own agenda, simply by being associating with the very political marches I’ve mentioned above.

While I think that this is a very good point, the march organizers address this: “While this march is explicitly non-partisan, it is political. We do not endorse any candidates or political parties, but we do advocate for all policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest. Politics and science are intertwined, whether we face a travel ban that restricts the free flow of scientific ideas, changes in education policy that diminish students’ exposure to science, or budget cuts that restrict the availability of science for making policy decisions.”

Is the march flawed? Definitely. Does that mean we should reject it fully? Absolutely not. I will be marching on April 22, and I hope you will join me.

About The Author

Just a girl who has a lot of feelings about planetary science

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