(I will be posting opinion pieces regarding the march from anyone who is interested to contribute to give a broader perspective of this movement).
As some of you might know, on Sat April 22, thousands of science-lovers participated in the March for Science in many parts of the world. What began as a simple idea in Washington DC after recent policies and funding cuts spread rapidly to more than 500 cities worldwide.
But why should we march for science? The official website and many many articles present several different perspectives. Personally, I think that voicing our opinion is the first step to winning an argument. The march, for me, was an outlet for expressing our concerns against the exclusion of scientific data in policy making or against the cuts in research funding. A platform to grab attention and to be heard.
I marched in San Francisco, and the turnout was amazing! An overwhelming 50000 people assembled and marched in the support of science. The spirit and enthusiasm of the marchers was heart-warming, as well as inspiring. Right from taking the train to SF to end of the march, I met several people charged up to voice their concerns and willing to donate time and effort for the cause.
Will marching change anything? I don’t expect the march to be an endpoint, but rather the means or even the beginning of a larger movement. This unifying spirit was essential in motivating us for further action. If we work hard to keep the flame burning, then we can indeed hope to bring about a change.
Whether marching will affect policy in the long term, I don’t know, but staying silent and not voicing our concerns definitely won’t. I urge all scientists and non-scientists to ‘keep marching’ through the plans given on the march website. If you prefer your own agenda, then follow that; but do something. A small step is still better than indifference.