Declaring itself non-partisan and “not about one political party nor any particular politician,” a group of citizens dedicated to honoring science is organizing a March for Science to begin near Ashland High School and end at the Rogue Valley Earth Day event at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum on East Main Street in Ashland at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 22.
The event will be going on in conjunction with similar marches across the country. “This is the local satellite event of the much larger march taking place in Washington DC the same day,” said Ashland organizer Laura Davis. “Like the Women’s March, there will be sister events throughout the U.S.”
The March for Science is to encourage funding and publicly communicate support for science as a key to human freedom and prosperity.
“We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest,” said Davis who suggests that a science-based approach to policy creates healthier communities and a stronger education base. “Science protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations,” she says.
The March for Science does not specifically offer a political message or theme and does not refer to itself as a resistance march but it makes references to policies affecting not only the scientific community but communities in general.
“We speak up now because all of these values are currently at risk," Davis said. "When science is threatened, so is the society that scientists uphold and protect.”
While not naming names and not wanting to, the group is referencing recent suggested cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency of nearly a third and President Donald Trump’s moving away from earlier global agreements regarding climate change, which he has referred to as a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government. The group, however, contends the march is not a protest but a statement of support. “It is for science, not against anything or anyone,” according to their news release.
March organizers encourage community members, organizations and elected officials to join the march carrying signs, dressing in costume and marching with friends and family. They have three themes they are focusing on: Science plays a vital role in our lives and our democracy, the relationship between science and democracy is under threat, and banding together to stand up for science.
There are 13 satellite marches in Oregon. In addition to the Ashland march, there will be one in Grants Pass and Klamath Falls. More than 300 marches will be going on in cities across the United States in addition to the Washington, D.C., march. Several other nations will also be joining in. As of early April, 115 additional marches were planned around the globe. Thirty-five science organizations are sponsoring the march. There are currently no corporate sponsors and the national board of directors consists of scientists and doctors exclusively.
The international mission states its intention this way: “The March for Science is a celebration of science. It's not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world. Nevertheless, the march has generated a great deal of conversation around whether or not scientists should involve themselves in politics. In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?"
Local organizers request that marchers be present and ready to go near Ashland High School at Iowa and Mountain by 11 a.m. April 22.
People can sign up for the event at whoozin.com/6QG-UFT-3ENH. For more information, to to the Facebook page for March For Science Southern Oregon.
— Email Ashland freelance writer Julie Akins at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/@julieakins.