On Earth Day 2017, the first ‘March for Science’ took place in over 200 cities around the world. This movement started in the United States as a protest against Donald Trump and his supporters, many of whom deny climate change exists and were claiming the existence of “alternative facts”.
Since these marches, the situation has not exactly improved, especially in the USA, as Trump decided to leave the Paris Accord last summer and Scott Pruitt, the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has been trying to roll back all the Obama-era regulations he can get his hands on.
In a world full of climate change deniers, conspiracy theorists and where “fake news” is still the initial response of many when hearing a fact which does not suit them, showing support for science and education remains extremely important.
On April 14th 2018, this is what people did in hundreds of cities worldwide for the second annual March for Science. The epicenter was in Washington DC, but marches were also organized in cities in South Africa, Canada, Australia, India, Germany and France.
If last year’s march was focused on the importance of objectively true facts vs the subjectivity of opinions and politicians trying to complete their agendas, this year’s marches, while still promoting the importance of science, were a call to action at a local level. People were asking for the funds for further research and education, which have been cut in many countries, to be increased.
At a time when flat-earthers and other conspiracy theorists have global platforms through social media, education has never been more important. A former Nobel Prize winner, George Bernard Shaw, once said, “Beware of false knowledge, it is more dangerous than ignorance.”
This has been proven time and time again, especially in the last two years where false news articles have been seen around the globe as elections have taken place in many countries. Through education, one is taught the importance of scientific research and being critical of information they are given (by checking data sources).
The effects of climate change are becoming more and more visible to everyone. It was easier for people to deny its existence in the past, when the effects and victims were less visible, but millions of people have been affected in the past few years as natural disasters were devastatingly destructive at an unprecedented level, and flooding are affecting more and more people every year.
Research has shown that global warming has had a direct impact on the increasing intensity of natural disasters such as droughts, floods and hurricanes over the past few years.
Finding solutions and continuing research in these areas should be one of the highest priorities for every country and should bring countries together around this common goal. The Paris Climate Accord was a first step towards global action and the Marches for Science are a good sign that people have not forgotten the importance of science and education, which we hope will remind their governments when necessary.
Sean, Consultant, Leyton France