“What do we want? Science! When do we want it? After peer review!”
Chants such as these could be heard from the nearly one thousand people who walked in the Corvallis March for Science, one of many such events held across the country on Earth Day (April 22) to protest President Trump’s rejection of climate science and other science-related issues.
To Bill Meyer, who volunteered to ensure the marchers were going in the right direction, the high turnout was a surprise.
“I expected a lot of people, but not this many,” Meyer said.
Jake Wehrman was a participant in the march. For Wehrman, it was meant to be send a message that there is a significant portion of population who are passionate about science, and that it is time to stand in support of factual research.
“I think scientists generally, from what I’ve seen, have not wanted to get into the political realm and they generally want to do their work behind the scenes,” Wehrman said. “Now I think we are—as scientists—kind of forced to get into the discussion.”
Jennifer Rowe, another march participant who was with Wehrman, added her belief that science needs to become political because of the danger that comes with allowing politicians to skew facts in a way that fulfills their own agendas.
“We’re concerned because that undermines the value of our research and our place as scientists to just provide pure objective information,” Rowe said. “If people are taking that information and then skewing it and misinterpreting it, and creating a whole sort of following of people who aren’t understanding the facts, then that’s just very detrimental to our nation, to our environment, to everything that scientists stand for.”
Biologist Donelle Schwalm explained her fear of science not supportive of a particular political ideology being defunded.
“Politicians have been politicising science since Galileo. It’s always an issue and for the most part we avoid advocacy because we don’t want people to misconstrue our science for opinion,” Schwalm said. “(My concern is the) defunding of science that doesn’t support specific political beliefs, which I think is a huge flaw. It harms our citizenry, it harms our country, it harms our future.”