On Saturday, April 22 at 1pm, Rhode Islanders will participate in the March for Science beginning with a peaceful rally featuring guest speakers at the State House. The March in Providence is connected to science marches across the country, all for the same purpose and all taking place on Earth Day. We come together to celebrate the importance of science in our lives and in the futures of our communities in a time when science, truth, and good policy are under attack by those who offer “alternative facts”.
If there was ever a country in which promotion and support for science should be a national passion, it is the United States. From the beginnings of the Land Grant University system, which we celebrate with the 125th anniversary of the University of Rhode Island this year, our government has promoted science in agriculture, manufacturing, medicine, defense, and many other areas that lead to progress in our nation. Our investments in, and reliance on, science has made this country the best place on Earth to live.
To continue the progress of our nation, we advocate for publicly-funded scientific research and policies that are evidence-based rather than subject to politics and ideology at the expense of the American people. Solid data and publicly available information are critical for leaders to make sound decisions at the local, state and federal levels.
But today, the same science we use to protect our natural resources, support our economy, and improve the health of our communities is under attack. Attacks on science are not new, but they are particularly harmful today. Climate change is now a main target of the attack on science, driven by corporate interests and politicians who are influenced by these interests. When policy discussions are not founded in good science, we are left with ill-conceived actions that are not based on evidence, and do not truly address the problems we face. When properly used, good science supports good government.
The March for Science Rhode Island, in association with similar events worldwide, aims to get people to appreciate and engage with all forms of science through education, communication, and a free exchange of knowledge. Scientists of all types are reaching out to the public, sharing their expertise and communicating how their work positively affects our daily lives and the health of our communities. The March for Science, here and those across the country, provides a peaceful and collaborative means for people to show that they understand just how important effective science is to our lives and our world and to convey that message to those who hold political power. See www.facebook.com/marchforscienceri for information on the Providence event.
Every facet of our lives is touched by science. Scientific research supports the medical care we receive, the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and how we communicate. It bolsters an economy that provides goods and creates jobs. Through science we better understand our world and how to create solutions for the complex problems we face. Every citizen needs to ensure that our government acts in ways that will truly benefit the public interest. Your voice is critical in carrying this message about science to our elected officials and the public. Join us at the March for Science on April 22 to stand up and speak out for the value of science and the need to support it so that it continues to bring real benefits to all Americans.