March for Science: Organisers look to the positive

Hundreds marched for women in Wellington in January. Organisers of Saturday's March for Science hope for a good turnout.
Brad Flahive

Hundreds marched for women in Wellington in January. Organisers of Saturday's March for Science hope for a good turnout.

Organisers are planning that Saturday's March for Science will be positive rather than an attack on the science policies of US president Donald Trump.

It's important we "make decisions based on knowledge", said Craig Stevens,  president of the NZ Association of Scientists. 

He's helped organise and will make a speech at the Wellington march.

Scientists and supporters will march in Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington, Palmerston North and Auckland on Saturday, which is Earth Day. 

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Due to time zones, the New Zealand marches will be the first of what's expected to be a global day of marching for science. Large crowds are expected in Washington, DC, and across Europe.

Marches are also planned in Uganda and the Philippines.

Kiwi organisers are using the hashtags #firsttomarch and #marchforsciencenz

"We support science," said Christchurch organiser Geni McCallum. "We're trying to keep away from negativity."

The movement fed off a big turnout for the March for Women in January, another response to Trump's election. It wasn't always positive.  

Science is under attack in the US and Europe, Stevens said. Trump has cut funding for climate change research and the Republican Congress wants to slash support for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health, among other agencies.

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"It's fair to say that New Zealand is not in that position but that's no reason to be complacent," Stevens said. 

"In New Zealand, it's really important that we show this will affect all of us, including our children," McCallum said.

The NZ marches will generally require about 20-30 minutes of walking, with speeches at the start and finish. They are intended to be family friendly.

The marches will show that "every single person can act like a scientist," said Palmerston North organiser Erin Wilson.

Fuller details for each NZ march are available on Facebook.com/marchforscienceNZ and marchforsciencenz.org

 

 - Stuff

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