A March for Science took place on 22 April 2017. From speaking with members at the 2017 Aquatic Sciences Meeting, we know that many of you planned to participate in the March. The March grew from concerns about attempts to silence science in the United States. While the main march took place in Washington, D.C., >360 satellite events were held across the U.S. and the globe. As the ASLO Public Policy Committee noted in their 20 January letter “We need to step up our efforts at a bottom-up approach to making sure science has its place in policymaking decisions.” We believe the March for Science provided an unprecedented opportunity for our members across the globe to show support for science and its role in society. The core principles of the March are:
- Science serves the common good. Science is a process, not a product — a tool of discovery that allows us to constantly expand and revise our knowledge of the universe.
- Cutting-edge science education. We support science education that teaches children and adults to think critically, ask questions, and evaluate truth based on the weight of evidence.
- Open and honest science communication and inclusive public outreach. Gag rules on scientists in government and environmental organizations impede access to information that is a public right.
- Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. Our scientific community is best served by including voices and contributions from people of all identities and backgrounds.
- Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. Political decision-making that affects the lives of Americans and the world at large should make use of peer-reviewed evidence and scientific consensus, not personal whims and decrees.
- Funding for scientific research and its applications. De-funding and hiring freezes in the sciences are against any country’s best interests.
On 26 February, the ASLO Board of Directors voted to endorse the March for Science. ASLO’s endorsement is based on the principles of the March as summarized above. As stated in ASLO’s policy on policy, ASLO does not engage in partisan politics. Standing up for science – as a process and an input to policy – should not be a partisan issue, either in perception or reality. Attacks on science have come from all parts of the political spectrum. Similarly, attacks on science have not been limited to the United States; Canada, Australia and others have also seen attempts to muzzle scientists and dismantle research programs in recent years. With its many satellite marches, we believe the March for Science provided an opportunity for the ASLO community to stand with our colleagues from other disciplines and stand up for science. As we said in January, facts don’t speak for themselves; we must speak for them. We also need to stand up for them and the process through which we make scientific discoveries.