23 February 2017
— By Eric Davidson, President, AGU, and Robin Bell, President-Elect, AGU
A few short weeks ago, a group of scientists on Reddit and Twitter were looking for a way to speak publicly in support of science, research, and evidence-based policy in light of recent communications and actions taken by the new administration and Congress. These discussions sparked a massive outpouring of support and ultimately grew into the March for Science in Washington, D. C. (as well as numerous satellite marches around the world), now scheduled to take place on Earth Day, 22 April. As the movement gathered momentum, American Geophysical Union (AGU) members began to ask if AGU would formally endorse the march.
After consultation with the event organizers, and an in-depth review of principles and goals for the march and the activities planned, AGU’s Executive Committee formally endorsed the primary March for Science in Washington, D. C. The march strongly aligns with and reinforces AGU’s own mission and our core values of scientific integrity, the free and open exchange of science, diversity and inclusion, informing policy with evidence-based science, and the value of investing in scientific research and education for the benefit of humanity. In choosing to endorse the event, AGU joins a growing number of scientific societies and organizations, including 500 Women Scientists, the American Association Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Anthropological Association, Cochrane Collaboration, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Research!America, Sigma Xi, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, Union of Concerned of Scientists, and many more.
In addition to the Washington, D. C., event, nearly 300 independently organized satellite Marches for Science have sprung up across the country and around the globe. Organizers of the Washington, D. C. march are taking steps to assure that the overarching messages of the event on the National Mall are positive, inclusive, and focused on the contribution that science makes to society as well as core values such as scientific integrity. While the satellite marches have agreed to abide by the same positive principles and goals, AGU has less opportunity to influence their implementation, and so we are not currently planning to formally endorse these marches. However, AGU is working on plans to bring together and support members who want to participate, wherever the march is located.
We hope that many of you will choose to join us on the National Mall on 22 April or participate in a march closer to home. In the coming days and weeks, we will share more information about resources and communications—such as how to download and print posters; volunteer opportunities before, during, and after the event; and how to participate We welcome your suggestions about how to effectively engage members and others in the Washington, D. C. and satellite marches and how to continue that engagement after the march.
This is a unique moment for AGU, the scientific community, our nation, and the world. The March for Science presents AGU with a very real, high-profile opportunity to, as AGU CEO Chris McEntee wrote in her From The Prow post following the election, “call on our elected leaders to remember the role science plays in our society and to support scientific innovation and discovery, and the people and programs that make it possible.”