Thousands of people around the world are expected to March for Science Saturday, Earth Day, in more than 600 locations, including Seoul, Madrid, London and Cape Town.

The flagship event will be in Washington, featuring speakers and several large teach-in tents on the National Mall. There, scientists, educators and leaders from a variety of disciplines will discuss their work, effective science communication strategies and training in public advocacy.

Organizers say the international event is the first step in a global movement to acknowledge and defend the “vital role science plays in everyday life, including in heath, safety, economies and governments.”

Watch: Scientists Speak Out and March for Science

“Science extends our lives, protects our planet, puts food on our table, contributes to the economy and allows us to communicate and collaborate with people around the world,” said Caroline Weinberg, national co-chair for March for Science. “Policymakers threaten our present and future by ignoring scientific evidence when crafting policy, threatening scientific advancement through budget cuts and limiting the public’s knowledge by silencing scientists.”

Budget cuts

U.S. President Donald Trump’s most recent budget has proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency that would eliminate 56 programs and drastically reduce funding for the agency’s Office of Research and Development and Science Advisory Board. Trump’s budget also proposes about $6 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health, which is the largest public funder of biomedical researching funding in the world.

Organizers say the event is nonpartisan and is not aimed against the Trump administration or any politician or party.

“Defending science, innovation and discovery is an absolute must in every community throughout the world,” said Claudio Paganini, organizer, March for Science Berlin. “We are proud to join each of the marches on April 22 to say in one, unified, global voice that science is essential to our futures.”

Freedom and equality

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a first-generation Iraqi immigrant, is the pediatrician who alerted officials in Flint, Michigan, that the city’s water was contaminated with lead. She is a March for Science honorary national co-chair. 

“We march for science so that scientists have the freedom like I did, to speak out, free from politicization and to continue to make the world a better place,” she said.

Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, another March for Science honorary national co-chair, was one of the first female Mexican-Americans to earn a doctorate in the natural sciences in the United States. For more than 40 years, she has helped Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists attain advanced degrees and increase diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. 

“In the past several centuries, science has increasingly affected our lives for the better,” she said. “But, as seen in Flint, the fruits of science are not always distributed equally to all communities. Equally important, young people who live in underserved communities have not had equal opportunities to become scientists — to advance the frontiers of science, for the betterment of everyone. Science and our society are stronger when the people doing science reflect our society as a whole.”

Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology at Imperial College, London, says, “I will be marching in London on Saturday not so much to fly the flag for science — though I believe it is something worth celebrating — but because I think that in these fractious political times, when we are facing challenges that are truly global, it has never been more important for scientists to go public.”


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