March for Science: Scientists Demand Respect, Funding

The march in Tokyo was one of the first to get underway  on April 22.The march in Tokyo was one of the first to get underway  on April 22.

They study the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the moon. They know that vaccines have saved tens of millions of lives and that climate change is not only real and worsened by people, but that it threatens our homes and livelihoods.

And now scientists and their supporters are getting their day in the limelight, with a global March for Science that grew out of the unexpectedly successful Women’s March at the end of January, NBC News reported.

As with the Women’s March, social media has fueled the enthusiasm, with Twitter hashtags like #marchforscience and a Facebook page with half a million likes.

It has spawned 609 satellite marches around the US and across the world, organizers say. But the main event is in Washington, D.C., and most of the marchers don’t hesitate to say their outrage and disbelief about political changes have compelled them to speak out.

“There’s been a devaluation of evidence-based policy and decision-making,” said David Badre, a neuroscientist at Brown University. “Another thing is, frankly, the immigration policy.”

US President Donald Trump’s executive orders limiting immigration and travel from certain countries caused an outcry, especially among universities and medical organizations that said immigrant scientists and doctors are vital to research and to caring for sick patients.

“And the final reason is public funding for science,” Badre said.

Trump’s proposed budget, which slashes funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and research arms of the Department of Energy and NASA, outraged and worried researchers.

They say decreased funding for science is nothing new, but the dramatic proposals of the current administration go far beyond the slow but steady decline of the past decades.


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