Science activists to ‘March of Science’

CHRISTINA ARRECHAVALA
Reporter

Five hundred fifteen organized marches on six different continents will feature members of the community coming together to acknowledge the role science plays in society on April 22. Organizers for the marches advocate for the enactment of evidence-based polices in the public interest and for science that upholds the common good.

Many of those involved with the marches are members of the scientific community who want to raise awareness about the importance of science in people’s lives.

Alex Kolker is a coastal and marine scientist that works with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). After hearing about the national event in Washington D.C., he decided to reach out to his community to see how he could get involved.

He soon got in touch with Liz Abboud, the organizer for the New Orleans satellite march, and he volunteered by answering phone calls about the march. He feels very strongly about the work he is doing.

“The importance of science is really underappreciated,” Kolker said. “It is involved in the coastal restoration efforts, health care, the oil industry, even in the film industry.”

Joshua Helms, a process engineer from Baton Rouge, decided to participate in the march because the climate change page on the White House’s website disappeared in January, and he felt it was without good reason.

“I saw [the deletion of the page] as a step against any move of progress,” Helms said. “The only data and research that should ever be deleted or silenced is data that has been skewed.”

In addition to the marches, participants will hear from a variety of speakers. Some noted speakers at the New Orleans march include Dr. Joseph Giaime from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and President of the National Society of Black Physicists, Dr. Renee Horton.

Participants will also have the opportunity to join a band for the march around the city. “It is going to be the world’s geekiest second line,” Kolker said.

According to the March for Science Baton Rouge Facebook page, organizers are attempting to make the occasion a nonpartisan, zero-waste, low-energy, netneutral event. Participants on comment threads are discussing wind power and bike riding as acceptable alternatives.

Organizers do not want the science momentum to start and end on April 22. Instead, they want it to spark much-needed discussions between the public community and lawmakers on the importance of science and protecting resources.

“The only thing separating someone from agreeing that something is wrong and taking action is seeing the path to change it,” Helms said.

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