March for Science date confirmed for 22 April, same as Earth Day

2 Feb 2017

Marchers taking part in the Global Climate March in Washington, DC in 2015. Image: Rena Schild/Shutterstock

The global scientific community has come together to agree that on 22 April, the same as Earth Day, there will be a March for Science to protest against potential threats from US president Donald Trump.

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president, the American scientific community has rallied together in the face of what appears to be a major fracturing between researchers and the state organisations they are working for.

President Trump’s negative views towards human climate change saw environmental organisations institute what later became known as a self-imposed gag order, pre-empting any potential demands to hide  scientific facts on climate change.

The response from those within organisations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NASA was swift. Within hours, rogue Twitter accounts from people purporting to be from these agencies appeared online.

Their purpose was to be a source for scientific information outside of the control of state organisations.

‘Heightened worry among scientists’

Another collaborative scientific movement has taken shape, resulting in the organisation of the March for Science, which will take place on 22 April – the same day as Earth Day 2017.

“The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science, and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” the organisers have said.

“Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made [it] clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”

Encouraging scientists to “walk out of the lab and into the streets”, the march is being promoted as a diverse effort from people of all backgrounds to call for science that upholds a common good, regardless of political administration rulings.

Irish march also planned

The US march is scheduled to take part in the heart of the country’s political establishment in Washington, DC, but will be supported by dozens of sister marches in other parts of the globe.

This includes the Science March IE organisation, which has tweeted its support for the March for Science, and intends to host its own march in Ireland.

Not everyone is on board with the idea of a march, however. Coastal geology professor Robert Young of Western Carolina University recently wrote in The New York Times that he fears it will further alienate scientists from the people they are trying to convince.

“Believe me, I understand the desire to impart to everyone how important science is to every sector of our economy, the health of our planet and the future of our families,” Young wrote, “but I don’t see how a march accomplishes any of that. If tens of thousands of us show up, it will simply increase the size of the echo chamber.”

Marchers taking part in the Global Climate March in Washington, DC in 2015. Image: Rena Schild/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic