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Thousands come together to fight for science

Nicole Tripp, Copy Editor

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Throughout April 22, thousands of scientists, students and other advocates went to the streets all around the world to fight back against the recent budget cuts proposed on science programs. President Donald Trump has proposed over $54 billion in budget cuts across government programs to make way for an increase in defense spending. “The March for Science” is taking place in more than 500 cities across the globe, including Washington D.C., London, Berlin and Raleigh.

“We’re all really, really scared just based on the initial desire to cut NIH funding. In terms of us, NIH is everything and so is the National Cancer Institute,” said Leslie Paul, cancer researcher.

According to the march’s website, the event is meant to support publicly funded research as part of a diverse, non-partisan community. Marches fighting for science may be seen as unexpected, but the march is part of a wave of recent activism in the research community. Scientists are coming into the political world to fight for their rights, such as southern California geologist Jess Phoenix running for a congressional seat.

“It’s not so much me being out of a job. It’s taking away the hope for the patient and that’s disgusting,” said Paul.

The Raleigh march began at 10 a.m. near Shaw University, wound its way through downtown and ended with a rally at Moore Square. Local scientists spoke at the rally, including Richard Watkins, who founded the Science Policy Action Network, and Doreen Cunningham, an associate professor of biology and division head of science and technology at Shaw University. Teachers and students from Athens participated in the march to fight for science.

“We need science to better understand our world and how to preserve it. We hear all the time how us humans our destroying the world, and science will help us change this,” said Eric Jackson, sophomore.

Although some may see this just as a fight against newly elected Trump, scientists have been worried for years that evidence has been crowded out by opinion in public debate and policymaking.

“Scientists find it appalling that evidence has been crowded out by ideological assertions, it is not just about Donald Trump, but there is also no question that marchers are saying ‘when the shoe fits’,” said Rush Holt, congressman.

Memorable slogans on signs seen around the marches include “ignoring science is the square root of two” and “there is no planet B.” The official website of the march encouraged participants to create geeky slogans rather than political.

The march being demonstrated on Earth Day is no coincidence. The event was inspired by the women’s march Jan. 31. Participants hope to celebrate the scientific method and advocate for using evidence in decision-making in all levels of government.

“Science is nonpartisan. That’s the reason that we respect it, because it aims to reduce bias. That’s why we have the scientific method. We felt very strongly that having politicians involved would skew that in some way,” said Caroline Weinberg, a public health researcher and co-organizer of the march.

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The official student news site of Athens Drive High School
Thousands come together to fight for science