The March for Science 2018 is underway | Science

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In Washington, D.C., last year, science marchers had to battle cold, wet weather. This year’s event is expected to take place under friendlier skies.

Science/Bill Douthitt

The March for Science is celebrating its anniversary today. And while the numbers may be smaller than last year, supporters haven’t lost any of their energy.

The global grassroots movement has evolved from having a million people take to the streets in 2017 in more than 450 cities to year-round advocacy for science and for evidence-based policies by government officials. But 14 April is still the big event for many local groups.

We’ll be covering some of those activities throughout the day.

So come back to ScienceInsider for reports from the field.

Don’t have your sign yet? Everyone is offering ideas

Last year, sign making parties were a popular pastime in the days before the March for Science. This year, a bevy of websites have put up stories aimed at giving marchers who might be at a loss for words (and pictures) a few ideas for their placards. A sampling:

At Thrillist, Joe McGauley offers “Funny, powerful and clever poster ideas for the science march this weekend.” I”[I]’s always a bit tough to figure out how best to get a message across in a sea of signs and chants,” he writes.

Don Duggan-Haas of the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca, New York, offers a few sign tips on the website of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. “If science saved your life, or the life of a loved one, say it,” he writes. Then, you can “use the other side of your sign for your geoscience message.”

The website a plus has “13 awesome signs to inspire you before the march for science this weekend.” 

And in case you missed it last year, STAT had “The 31 best signs people took to the March for Science.” And Bustle had “30 funny March for Science sign ideas.

On Twitter, some folks say they are having a hard time deciding on their message:

The marching is underway in Australia 

It is now around midnight in Washington, D.C., and still hours away from the beginning of the March for Science here in the eastern United States, but the marching has begun elsewhere around the globe. In Australia, events are planned for at least eight cities.

In Virginia, ‘it will be different this year’

One person preparing for today’s event is Margaret Breslau, who last year helped lead a March for Science in Blacksburg, Virginia, that attracted more than 900 people. This year, she’s not sure how many people might show up, and she expects the tone of the march to be different. Instead of focusing on science “with a big S,” she says, she expects speakers and marchers to focus more on how the work scientists do affects social issues. Speakers, for example, plan to read statements from incarcerated people about the environmental and health conditions in prisons. There’s also likely to be discussion about a controversial local pipeline project and climate change.

“For me, it’s not just speaking out against the people and administrations denying science and defunding science and discrediting science,” says Breslau, who chairs Blacksburg’s Coalition for Social Justice. “I also want people to know that people are impacted every day by science, for better or worse. Science has incredible power. I think a lot of scientists probably do factor this in, but there has to be a human good.”

She credits March for Science organizers with maintaining communications since last year’s event. “They’ve been very good about it,” she says. “I found they’ve stayed engaged, and that’s really important. You have a lot of power in your hands when you do a national march, and keeping the energy up and the education is hard. I just can’t imagine. They’ve kept me engaged.”

And she doesn’t see this year’s march as the end of her engagement. “We have to keep building on what happens,” Breslau says. “As long as scientists are being silenced and cuts to education and programs [are happening] … you just have to keep going, that’s all.” – Catherine Matacic

Marches make a statement in the Philippines, Africa and Europe

Large and small, events are underway around the globe. Click here to see a map of all the scheduled March for Science events. Twitter is a good place to see what’s happening on the ground:



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