What do we want? Some actual, real, science-based facts might be nice

The lead marchers walking up Queen St in Auckland.
FIONA GOODALL/FAIRFAX NZ

The lead marchers walking up Queen St in Auckland.

In a world of fakery, falsehoods, ignorance and downright deception, science decided to fight back, lead by New Zealanders

Marchers took to the streets in six nationwide protests to show global scientific solidarity on an international day on Saturday of pro-science campaigning. 

Around the world more than 500 marches are organised. 

US President Donald Trump's reactionary policies against climate change and renewable energy have prompted the ...
KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

US President Donald Trump's reactionary policies against climate change and renewable energy have prompted the pro-science fight back.

The movement aims to speak up for the importance of the scientific method of discovery and analysis, and rigorous information and expertise.

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March for Science: Organisers look to the positive

The marches were spurred by United States President Donald Trump and his administration's contentious approach to issues like climate change and non-renewable energy sources, their funding squeeze on science programmes and the Trump Whitehouse's ongoing difficulties in discerning fact from fiction, repeatedly bolstering claims with fake facts.

The New Zealand marches have been the first of the global day of marching.
FIONA GOODALL/FAIRFAX NZ

The New Zealand marches have been the first of the global day of marching.

The organisers however were aiming for marches to be a positive celebration of science, rather than an outright attack on the anti-science policies of Trump.

Due to time zones, the New Zealand marches have been the first of the global day of marching. The largest crowds are expected in Washington, DC, and across Europe.

Christchurch marchers led the way at 10am, gathering at the Canterbury Museum and marching down Worcester Blvd to Cathedral Square.

Organisers were aiming for marches to be a positive celebration of science, rather than an attack on the policies of Trump.
FIONA GOODALL/FAIRFAX NZ

Organisers were aiming for marches to be a positive celebration of science, rather than an attack on the policies of Trump.

Protesters gave speeches in support of scientific research and against Trump. 

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The crowd of about 250 included families and children, with many people carrying signs with slogans such as "More than ever we need science" and "What do we want? Evidence-based science. When do we want it? After peer review".

University of Auckland professor Shaun Hendy, who helped organise the Auckland event, said it was about reminding people how important science is for society. 

Young girls at the protest in Christchurch.
ALDEN WILLIAM/FAIRFAX NZ

Young girls at the protest in Christchurch.

"We're addressing the fact that science has implications for society and that it has political ramifications," Hendy said. 

More than 300 people turned up to the Auckland march, an organiser said. 

Green MP James Shaw said the turnout was a sign of just how much the scientific community was under attack.

"As far as anyone can remember this is the first time scientists have ever had to march, and in my view it's kind of crazy in the 21st century that they feel they have to," Shaw said. 

Environmental science doctoral student Iana Gritcan was there because she said scientists' voices needed to be heard. 

"A lot of people don't realise there's no progress without science," Gritcan said. 

Scientist Jill Cooper said she was at the march because she was concerned the community was being undermined. 

Her 12-year-old son Calvin Cooper said he was there because he loved science, in particular biology and jumping spiders. 

But not all scientists strongly supported the march.

Associate Professor John Pickering from the University of Otago wrote on Sciblogs and spoke to Radio New Zealand about why he has decided not to march.

He did not think it would promote a conversation with politicians.

As well as Auckland and Christchurch, marches were also taking place in Wellington, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Queenstown.

The Auckland event started at 1.30pm and would finish around 4pm in Albert Park.

 - Stuff.co.nz

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