Here's Why Scientists Are Planning Their Own March On Washington

Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo.
Update: The team behind the march has officially changed the name to the March for Science and created a separate Facebook page for the event here.

This article was originally published on January 25, 2017 at 6:40pm.

It's only been five days since Trump's inauguration, and his administration has already taken some serious actions around science, the most controversial of which is a gag order allegedly keeping some government researchers quiet on climate change (part of which was, thankfully, rescinded today). In response to these actions and a generally science-wary attitude from the administration, scientists are now planning their own march on Washington, and the movement is growing quickly.

“We were inspired (well, infuriated) by the current attacks on science from the new administration,” public health researcher Caroline Weinberg, MD, MPH, one of the march's co-chairs, told the Washington Post.

After the idea popped up four days ago on reddit, the organisers created a Twitter page (now with more than 25,000 followers) and a (now secret) Facebook group with more than 140,000 followers as of this writing. There's no date for the march yet, but organisers say they're spending this week working out details, including satellite marches in other cities. They're also in the process of merging their planning efforts with another group, 500 Women Scientists, which had a significant presence at the Women's March this past weekend.

According to their website, the organisers don't intend the march to be specifically political, but they are definitely hoping their actions will affect policy: "Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics," they write. "Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy."

If you're interested in participating, the website says you don't have to be a scientist — you just have to believe "in empirical science. That's it. That's the only requirement." Unfortunately, it seems like that bar is a lot higher these days than we'd like it to be.
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