March for Science Demonstrators Rally for Policy Over Politics

Written by Emma Sargent

This past Saturday, cities across the country organized a March for Science in celebration of Earth Day. In Denver, thousands of people came to Civic Center Park to march, mingle, and show their support for science-related public policy, funding for scientific research, and scientific governmental agencies. Today’s political climate mandates the defense of science-related policies addressing matters from climate change to vaccinations. Scientific evidence has been ignored in favor of political agendas. In other words, science has become politicized. The march focused on changing the way we think about and write public policy, calling for recognition of the importance of science. The official mission statement of the march summarizes the participants’ beliefs: “Science benefits and impacts every aspect of humanity including health care, technology, and the environment. The public depends on peer-reviewed studies to help shape policy for the betterment of future generations. We welcome individuals from all walks of life to join those who embrace science, dedicate their professions to research, and value the processes that inform evidence-based inquiry.”

People at the March for Science at Denver’s Civic Center Park on April 22 hold up signs showing their support for science-related public policy. Photos Courtesy of Emma Sargent

Many of the marchers were frustrated that “pro-science” has become a political standpoint. Science is not supposed to be biased nor should it have an agenda. For this reason, march organizers emphasized the non-political nature of the march by remaining neutral in terms of political alignment. Despite the official neutrality, many marchers blamed  the current political administration for its anti-scientific attitude. For instance, one popular chant during the march was, “Hey hey, ho ho, alternative facts have got to go.” Signs read, “Atoms are like Trump: they make up everything.” It was the rise of “alternative facts,” coupled with the Trump administration’s threats to cut funding for scientific research and regulatory agencies, that led thousands of people to march in defense of science. Despite the grave nature of the event, many of the posters were humorous; lots of them included science puns, including, “‘Resist!’ —Most bacteria, TBH,” and, “More mitosis, less division.”

Following the march, people wandered through booths signing petitions to push for more renewable energy, increase Denver’s commitment to recycling and composting, to conserve public lands, and to protest the proposed dissolution of the EPA, among other propositions. The primary focus of the march was to raise support for policies combating climate change. The message for marchers was clear: if you care about science-based public policy, funding for scientific research, and healthy scientific agencies, you must be politically active—at both the local and national level. To CC students who did not make it to the march, don’t fret. You can still show your commitment to science-based policies by signing petitions, attending city council meetings, voting, and attending the Climate March next Saturday. If science has become a political issue, those who support science must also become political. As one sign stated, “The oceans are rising, and so must we.”

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