Defending Science: Why America’s Scientists Were Marching This Weekend
Thousands of people have marched this weekend in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to defend science and support its evolution. The march came as a response to President Trump's massive budget cuts.
President Trump's budget proposal is expected to have massive effects on scientific work. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will receive roughly two-thirds of the funding it was expected to.
Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which spends approximately $32 billion every year for research purposes, will also suffer a 20 percent budget cut. Most of these funds are planned to be taken away in research facilities from medical schools and universities across the country.
The March For Science
The initiative started on social media, where numerous users tried to convince peers who are interested in science to get out of their homes to protect the scientific community.
"This has been a living laboratory as scientists and science institutions are willing to take a step outside their comfort zone, outside of the labs and into the public spheres," said Beka Economopoulos, founder of the pop-up Natural History Museum and an organizer of the march.
The budget cut also affected non-scientific activities. The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts were some of the programs that President Trump proposes to eliminate.
April 22 was President Trump's 100th day in office, and his measures were not received with as much popularity as he may have expected. As a result of these budget cuts, thousands of scientists and science supporters marched in Washington, D.C. in what was called "the March of Science."
There have been approximately 600 events worldwide supporting this cause.
"The next time we see some politician talking down to someone who's devoted their life to research, we're going to stand up for science," noted Kathy Miller, an education activist from the Texas Freedom Network, an organization whose goal is to regulate the science in the educational curriculum.
Among the most popular signs carried by the demonstrators are "No One Is above Peer Review," "Make Science Great Again," "Revenge of the Nerds," and "There Is No Planet B."
National Demonstrations And Marches
The March for Science is not the first time people have participated to national demonstration since President Trump's inauguration. Other protests and marches have been carried out regarding a wide series of issues, from abortion rights to partisan issues or immigration policies.
However, the president did not seem intimidated by these marches. He has denied any personal fight against scientific progress. Although he said that climate change is a hoax during the presidential campaign, President Trump's position has never officially been against scientific research.
"My administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment. [...] Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection," the president noted.
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