March for Science rally April 14 will call for evidence-based policy

Members of the scientific community will again demonstrate their advocacy for science-based policy during a March for Science protest and rally. It is the second such event responding to President Trump’s actions toward federal science programs and federally employed scientists.

The inaugural March for Science on April 22, 2017, drew more than 1 million scientists and supporters to over 600 events in 66 countries and all 50 states.

This year’s event will take place April 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the lawn at Fullerton City Hall.

The goal of the rally is to support publicly-communicated science and to encourage policymakers to enact evidence-based policies.

Mark Shapiro, a retired Cal State Fullerton physics professor, founded Fullerton’s satellite event last year.

He explained that in addition to continuing his role as a co-organizer for this year’s March for Science, he is providing financial support by securing a permit, insurance for the event and helping with its promotion.

Last year, many prominent scientists opposed March for Science because they feared it would cause the scientific community to be viewed by the public as just another interest group, Shapiro said.

“I have seen much less of this kind of sentiment this year, probably because most scientists have seen what an absolute disaster the Trump administration has been for evidence-based science here in the United States,” Shapiro said.

“Most federal government rules relating to the environment are based on input from lengthy scientific studies. The Trump administration is in the process of rolling back those regulations, essentially erasing the work of hundreds if not thousands of scientists within and outside government,” Shapiro said.

The March for Science organization promotes the idea that science is a pillar of freedom and prosperity.

Over 1,500 people attended last year’s March for Science in Fullerton, Shapiro said. This year’s march coincides with the third annual global Citizen Science Day and the 16th annual Faces of Fullerton. Due to the coincidental timing, Shapiro expects attendance between 500 to 1,000 with scientists, current and former O.C. officials and community groups as participants.

This year’s March for Science theme “Vote for Science” is to point out that citizens should elect public officeholders who are committed to supporting evidence-based scientific research, Shapiro said.

“This year — thanks to efforts like those of March for Science and 314 Action — more scientists are running for public office than we have ever seen in the past,” Shapiro said.

Scott Feinblatt is a contributor to Times Community News.