Apr 25th, 2017, 06:17 PM

The March for Science

By Eleanor Rothwell
Image credit: Pixabay/bones64
Why protestors took to the streets on Earth Day.

Tens of thousands of scientists and protesters marched in cities across the world on Saturday, April 20, to demand protection for the environment. The parent march, which was organized for Washington D.C was a response to the Trump administration's proposal to cut federal funding for science agencies. According to the New York Times, Trump plans to cut 18 percent of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) budget and a staggering 31 percent from that of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Science runs on research, and research runs on funding. Most scientists need financial support to continue to make discoveries, and federal agencies such as the NIH and EPA need financial support from the federal government. During a press conference in March, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters "regarding the question as to Climate Change I think the President was fairly straightforward; we're not spending money on that anymore." A month later, The Washington Post published an article stating that the U.S is experiencing record-breaking temperatures. 

"When you have people who don't know much about Science standing in denial of it and rising to power, that is a recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy." —Neil DeGrasse Tyson 

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson released a video the Friday before the march. In the short clip, Tyson explained that what is found to be scientifically true is not up for debate. Tyson famously tweeted "the good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it," this idea was one of the messages scientists hopes to deliver by marching on Saturday, that science is not and cannot be a partisan topic.

 


Video Credit: Youtube/StarTalk Radio

Tyson stressed scientific innovation's essential role in making the US the leading nation it is today. Suzanne Werner, who marched in New York, expressed her concerns over budget cuts that threaten scientific progress, "As a researcher, I am concerned about the ways in which the Trump administration is ignoring standards of evidence and outright lying about what we know and do now know about a whole host of things, especially the environment and medicine." Werner stressed the importance of federal funding for the sciences, "without money, we will begin to lose our best and brightest scientists to countries that value their work... these are people whose lives and livelihood are dependent on funding for research."


Image Credit: Twitter/@neiltyson

Kerry Cunningham, who also marched in New York, explained her reasons for participating, "I marched because I believe in the importance of science facts and the scientific process. I also marched for the climate and [in protest of] our government stepping away from the Paris Accord. I believe scientific discovery and innovation are the hallmarks of a great society... our president's personal approach to governing seems to be the antithesis of scientific methodology with its careful process and relentless search for evidence, proof, and facts." The Trump administration is openly in denial about the existence of climate change. During his campaign, Trump declared climate change a "hoax," and famously wrote the tweet: 



Image Credit: Twitter/@realdonaldtrump

Following Saturday's protest, the march's website declared this week action week, reminding the public to continue the vital movement for "science, not silence."