Scotland’s scientists join forces to celebrate and defend science as US allies come under attack
SCIENTISTS, academics, and members of the public across Scotland will challenge the climate denial policies and platform of the US president Donald J Trump by launching a ‘March for Science’ campaign this weekend.
The ‘March for Science’ initiative, will result in a rally in Edinburgh on Saturday 22 April to show solidarity with scientists and science-led policy making in the U.S., which the group says are “under threat” from the Trump administration’s stances on coal mining and government appointees close to the oil industry.
Scotland will join 400 other ‘March for Science’ campaigns in 36 nations which have all begun as a response to the election of Donald Trump in November last year.
“I've never been politically active before but the growing anti-science and anti-expertise movement around the world makes me realise that we can't take evidence-based reasoning and policy for granted.” Sujai Kumar
Speaking to CommonSpace on the launch of the campaign this Saturday, Miceala Shocklee, a research biologist studying a veterinary degree at University of Edinburgh’s Royal School of Veterinary Studies, said: "My training in biology and research has empirically shown me the impact that data-based decisions have on life.
“Science is at the very foundation of society, and years from now, I want to be able to say that when I saw the communication of truth and discovery come under threat, I stood up and did something about it."
This was supported by another founder of the group, Sujai Kumar, an Indian bioinformatician at the University of Edinburgh.
He said: “I've never been politically active before but the growing anti-science and anti-expertise movement around the world makes me realise that we can't take evidence-based reasoning and policy for granted. Climate change is real, vaccines save lives, and we all need to support a rational worldview that is ethical.”
The ‘March for Science’ campaign aims to point out to the public why funding for science is important and highlight how this is currently under threat and show support for evidence-based policy and academic freedom both in Scotland, Europe and in the US. It also coincides with the Edinburgh Science Festival happening across the city during the whole of April.
“Now, more than ever, the public and scientists here and globally need to stand together to defend science and science-based policy making.” Lang Banks
Since February of this year, the Trump administration has put forward federal spending proposals which would see the US Government’s spending on basic science shrink by 10.5 per cent in 2018. Donald Trump’s White House has also been accused of gagging independent research which supports a scientific approach to industrial and climate change policy.
In March, the science wing of the department of agriculture received a memorandum, interpreted as a warning, which referenced the Hatch Act, which restricts political and election-related communication in the workplace. Workers in the department state this was a way to stop research emerging that could contradict US Government policy under Trump.
Lang Banks, director of WWF but marching and supporting the march in a personal capacity told CommonSpace that: “Now, more than ever, the public and scientists here and globally need to stand together to defend science and science-based policy making. The march in Edinburgh in April will be a family-friendly event, that everyone interested in celebrating and championing science should look to attend.”
Picture courtesy of March for Science
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