Q&A on AAAS and the March for Science
Why is AAAS partnering with the March for Science?
AAAS recently announced a partnership with the March for Science – a nonpartisan set of activities to promote science education and the use of scientific evidence to inform policy. The activities collectively known as the March for Science are a unique opportunity to communicate the importance, value, and beauty of science. A March for Science rally and teach-in is scheduled to take place on April 22, 2017 in Washington, DC, and satellite events and activities are being planned in cities throughout the U.S. and countries around the world. AAAS is encouraging and supporting its members and affiliate organizations to help make the March for Science a success. Participation in the March for Science is in keeping with AAAS’ long-standing mission to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” We expect many AAAS members and those from affiliated societies – scientists, students, and the science-loving public – will want to participate in some way. To that end, AAAS is working with March for Science organizers to ensure the activities are meaningful and inclusive.
Is the March for Science a political statement?
No. AAAS and March for Science organizers have stressed that these events and activities must remain nonpartisan. We are advocating for science and its role in society, not for a particular political ideology. Scientifically validated evidence should be used to inform policy decisions. AAAS CEO Rush Holt’s recent editorialin Science magazine stated: “scientists should not fool themselves with the misconception that politics is dirty compared to the scientific enterprise – and that they should therefore avoid the fight. Scientists should not think that by standing back and letting the fact speak for themselves, that reason would prevail on its own.” AAAS is a nonpartisan organization, and we don’t take sides – we care about the integrity of science and we care about protecting the conditions under which science can thrive. That includes the freedom to conduct science free of intimidation, to collaborate with international colleagues, to encourage a diversity of scientific ideas, and to communicate findings with other scientists and with the public. The organizers of the March for Science – and many of the 120,000 members of AAAS – share our concerns on these key principles, and we are working together to make our concerns heard.
What would you like to see happen as a result of the March for Science?
We want scientists and citizens to feel empowered to participate in our democracy and to engage in public discussion. Participation could range from discussing science with friends and families, to talking to local representatives about science and why it’s important, to running for office. We want people to consider what it takes for science to thrive and act to protect science and what it stands for. Science is a part of everyday life, and scientists are part of our communities, working hard to contribute to public health, disaster preparedness, economic development, medical advances, and more.