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Science hits back: Anti-Trump protest set to draw thousands

Science hits back: Anti-Trump protest set to draw thousands
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On Saturday, scientists from around the world, including Canada, will shed their lab coats and will join in what will likely be the largest protest ever by science advocates.

The March for Science , a demonstration that took a cue from Januarys Womens March, is protesting the anti-science agenda that the new U.S. administration has put forward.

Science and scientists, and evidence based policies are under attack. Policymakers threaten our present and future by ignoring scientific evidence when crafting policy, threatening scientific advancement through budget cuts, and limiting the publics knowledge by silencing scientists, said Caroline Weinberg, National Co-Chair, March for Science in a statement on April 10.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made several sweeping moves that put the future of science in jeopardy, according to several members of the movement. Trump has placed gag orders on government science agencies, frozen funds, and reversed science-based policies.

For example, the proposed budget removed around US$7 billion from science programs and in January the Trump administration instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.

In response, scientists began planning their own march on a Reddit forum back in January.

Scientific discovery and innovation are a critical part of our nation and our future -- science extends our lives, protects our planet, puts food on our table, contributes to the economy, and allows us to communicate and collaborate with people around the world, said Weinberg.

The movement quickly gained momentum and now more than 500 satellite marches being held globally. More than 100 organizations have also lent their support, including the worlds largest general scientific organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The flagship event will take place in Washington D.C. on April 22, which is also Earth Day, and will likely have a tone wavering between pro-science and anti-Trump.

Organizers dont know how many protesters will attend but it is expected to draw thousands along with plenty of silly signs. There have also been talks of a knitted brain hat similar to the Pussyhats donned by demonstrators at the Womens March.

In Canada, marches have been organized in almost every province.

Science is important for all of us and we need to stand up for it, March for Science Toronto spokesman Evan Savage told CTVNews.ca.

But for the organizers behind March for Science Toronto, the focus isnt only about showing support for the U.S. science community.

Savage told CTVNews.ca that Canada is in a unique position where scientists have already seen what happens when policies that restrict science and scientists are put in place.

During the Harper Government, Canada witnessed what happens when science is undermined, Savage said, citing examples of funding cuts and government minders who would tell scientists what that could and couldnt say about their research.

Weve seen what impact hostile policy can have nationally and internationally. Science knows no borders, he said. We dont want it to happen again.

March for Science Toronto hopes this protest will not only put pressure on the U.S. administration to accept what basic research tells them but also reverse some of the damage caused by the Harper Government.

But everyone has his or her own reasons for attending the event.
Read more on CTVnews
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