Scientists are ditching their labs for the streets in a mass protest against the Trump administration’s war on facts, but will the effort resonate with skeptics?
On Saturday, thousands of scientists are set to abandon the cloistered neutrality of their laboratories to plunge into the the political fray against Donald Trump in what will likely be the largest-ever protest by science advocates.
The March for Science, a demonstration modeled in part on January’s huge Women’s March, will inundate Washington DC’s national mall with a jumble of marine biologists, birdwatchers, climate researchers and others enraged by what they see as an assault by Trump’s administration upon evidence-based thinking and scientists themselves.
The march is a visceral response to a presidency that has set about the evisceration of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many of its science-based rules, the dismissal of basic climate change tenets by the president and his appointees and a proposed budget that would remove around $7bn from science programs, ranging from cancer research to oceanography to NASA’s monitoring of the Earth.
Many scientists at federal agencies, concerned their work may be sidelined or censored for political purposes, will take the unusual step of publicly damning the administration.
“It’s important for scientists to get out of the lab and talk about what’s important,” said Andrew Rosenberg, who spent a decade at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is now at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “You don’t check your citizenship at the door when you get a PhD. No one would tell an architect they can’t have a view on HUD [the Department of Housing and Urban Development]. That would be nonsense.”
Rosenberg said younger scientists, in particular, are increasingly rejecting a stance of studied silence when faced with what they see as threats to their profession.
Read more at Science Strikes Back: Anti-Trump March Set to Draw Thousands to Washington