What does the word “march” mean? A quick dictionary search reveals:
- Walk quickly with determination
- To walk with regular and measured tread, as soldiers on parade; advance in step in an organized body.
- The steady and inevitable development or progress of something
Some people get intimidated by the word but marching on the street is not an atypical and angry reaction. It is our natural ground to move. It is where we get together stripped off of our etiquettes. Doctor, PhD, businessman, accountant, nurse. Whatever your profession is, on the street you are just one in the crowd.
All we want is a little push on the right direction, a step forward, progress. And that is what The March for Science movement aims to do.
Thousands of people will march on the street tomorrow. All around the world.
The movement spread to Stockholm and preparations are ongoing. On Wednesday, I got a little glimpse of the vibe at the volunteer meeting for the march. It is fascinating to see people devoted to make it happen and equally energising to be part of the buzz. A room-full of enthusiastic people made bracelets, painted banners and prepared signs that display logical and rational thought humorously.
I had simply forgotten how creative we scientists can be. It was so refreshing to harness that creativity for a divine purpose: engaging more people in science.
At the end, I went back home with paint stains in my hand and thoughts about the goals of the march in my head. It was quite clear that the rally took a pro-science stand and there were multiple reasons for people to join the movement.
We often think that putting our science out there is more than enough to engage people. What else should we do? As it turns out, public engagement requires not only “doing” science but also putting yourself out there. Being reachable, listening and communicating with humility and empathy. How can we expect the public to understand our perspectives, reasonings and concerns if we don’t do our share to find a common ground and connect with them?
On Saturday, I will be one of the crowd because I would like to put a face on the debate, to be reachable and to connect with people based on where they are, not where we want them to be.
Who would be more suitable than us, scientists, to communicate scientific experience with others so they may empathize and hopefully sympathize with our goals and concerns?
In the era of fake news, fraud, and alternative facts, public trust in “facts” has been eroded and feel-good news and clickbaits took the stage instead.
As a scientist, I want to rebuild and strengthen that trust. Because it is our responsibility to explain the meaning and importance of our research.
I hope this harmonised movement all around the world does not end with the march route. Instead, it should mark the beginning of a powerful movement with unified scientists, science advocates, and science enthusiasts.
The goals of the march to “Humanize science, partner with the public, advocate for open, inclusive, and accessible science, support scientists, and affirm science as a democratic value” sound both great and challenging. It will surely require a long lasting engagement to achieve these.
At the end of the day, you don’t really have to physically be there to support the movement. Whether you like to demonstrate your support by joining others in the march or to advocate for science by explaining to your circles why research is important, we all have a vital role in the process. There are many ways to advocate science but the bottom line is: You need science and science needs you!
Are you marching with us? What are your reasons to support the movement?
If you cannot join, you can always follow us via
#sciencemarchsthlm , #globalsciencemarch on Twitter and Instagram and you can get live updates from the March for Science Stockholm Facebook page.
March or not, may science be with you!