March for Science to take place this weekend

The March for Science describes itself as a celebration of science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community

Protests are standard on the National Mall, and from the 1963 March on Washington to the recent Women's March, history has been made there time and time again.

But the marchers and the activists who organized them will soon have to address what follows the demonstrations.

Groups gather for the Women's March on Washington on January 21.

"I see the Science March as a coming-out party for scientists who have always been careful about getting involved in political advocacy and activism", said Lucky Tran, a molecular biologist who works as a science communicator at Columbia University, and a member of the march's steering committee. As has always been the case, good policy is based on facts.

"We can have meaningful discourse on the results of science or how to apply our scientific discoveries but to view science itself with partisanship is not productive for anybody", he said.

"Science is important for all of us and we need to stand up for it", March for Science Toronto spokesman Evan Savage told CTVNews.ca.

In Canada, marches have been organized in nearly every province.

"I don't think the march is going to communicate with that group at all", Young insisted, adding, that if anything it will play into the narrative that scientists are in bed with liberal politicians.

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"We are asking, what are the unusual and unconventional sources of data we can uncover relevant to sustainability, social and environmental issues, and take that back to inform policy at the state and federal level", said Kammen, who is also science envoy for the U. S. State Department.

March for Science Toronto hopes this protest will not only put pressure on the US administration to "accept what basic research tells them" but also reverse some of the damage caused by the Harper Government.

But everyone has his or her own reasons for attending the event. Caroline Weinberg, a public health researcher and co-chairwoman of the march. "Nothing in science is achieved in isolation, it's one of the truly remarkable human endeavours that knows no borders; it is the pooled knowledge of us, as humans". "Advocating for evidence-based policies and solutions serves everyone's best interests, and Saturday's march is about speaking out in support of science together".

One of the earliest critiques came from Steven Pinker, a renowned psychology professor at Harvard, who criticized the March's diversity statement.

Young, who wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in late January explaining why he opposed the march, suggested that the march's goals could be carried out by having scientists appear on radio stations or visit rural communities at Kiwanis clubs and other local events rather than more antagonistic approaches like protesting.

And for some their reasons were deeply personal. "This medication not only saved his life but it saved him from having to suffer awful long-term side effects", Williams wrote. "Now more than ever, we have to speak up in defense of scientific integrity and a livable future".

"There isn't a doubt in my mind that my wife would have died 50 to 100 years ago should this have happened then, and I believe in 100 years from now my baby (we named her Abigail) would have been saved", he said. Hopefully, seeing a flood of support for research and facts will inspire other scientists to make their voices heard.

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