Sunday, April 23, 2017

Rise up before the Oceans Do! Science Not Silence!: A #MarchforScience for the Ages

Some NYU students brought graphs and charts to the march for science!  

Erik R. McGregor  too

The Mermaids fight back at the March for Science. Images from:
Earth Celebrations-Ecological and Social Change through the Arts

Scenes from the New York and Washington Marches for Science
from Politico.

It was one of the most fun marches in ages.  In an era when a modern version of Soviet Lysenkoism, in which ideology trumps inconvenient facts and evidence, the science march could not have felt more important or relevant. The of the inauguration, I remember walking through the tear gas and hearing that the administration was ripping down language about climate change off the White House website.  It would only be a few weeks later we would hear the administration wrecking ball had its eye on the Nixon era Environmental Protection Agency, created after Rachel Carson’s silent spring and the modern environmental movement.

Environmental protections are a result of a people based science movement, which saw pollution as a problem that could be remedied with policy solutions and regulations.  We saw clean air and water, as well as protections for the climate as solutions for a sustainable planet. The Paris Climate Accord of December 2015 was the result of these efforts to counter climate denial with a workable acknowledgement that climate science is real; protections are essential for the planet.  This accord only happened because activists organized People’s Climate Marches around the world.  They pushed; scientists presented evidence, and people responded.

Yet the Lysenkoists were rarely far behind, there to politicize data, trumping ideology over evidence.  In no area was this worse than the climate, where denialists suggested the consensus around the planet that climate change is real, was simply an opinion.  But Lysnkoism is everywhere -impacting areas of public health and sex education, where politicians advocate for abstinence-based sex education which increases rates of std’s and pregnancies rather than slowing them down.  

American drug policies have a problem – they’ve been driven by fear rather than facts for over a century. Although there had been notable gains over the past eight years towards more evidence-based drug policy, many worry that we may be heading in the wrong direction under the Trump administration. That’s why on April 22nd, drug policy researchers and advocates are taking to the streets of D.C. for the national March for Science, wielding facts and compassion in the face of ignorance and hatred.

In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, can we afford not to speak out in its defense?

My friend Joani and my daughter marched went to the march together.  We carried a sign from the movie Nacho Libre, when the protagonist, a Mexican wrester, declares: “I believe in Science!” rather than god or ideology.  There is always someone there to remind us that we can do more, we can bring light into darkness.  It’s a heroic moment.

Marching at Central Park, we encountered NYU students with charts of standard deviation, a man with a sign declaring: "building ionic bonds not walls", women quoting Neil deGresse Tyson, nurses fighting fracking, lesbian mermaids, Sandy survivors warning that climate change is real, regular people defending vaccines, and kids pleading for the future of the planet. 

The signs were heartening and real.  Referring to the 1960’s and 1970’s anti-war group, science for the people, I made a sign riffing on the old chant:

‘What do you want?
science for the people, evidence based
How do you want it?
Peer Reviewed.”

We need a science which supports regular people to solve problems.  We need scientists to be able to develop solutions, instead of making weapons. Hopefully the administration understands, “we have no planet b.” This is the only one we have.  And we need to protect her.  Science based policy is the best way to do so.

Several members of ACT UP were there to remind the world that knowledge equals power, silence equals death. Evidence based practice is the best way to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In between marching, we ran to the park to hug a few trees.  It is earth day, after all.  But every day is a day to hug a tree.

Thank goodness the earth day actions will continue for the next week, culminating in the National People’s Climate March next Saturday and the local Tree Hugger Ride, in defense of trees in danger from developers, next Sunday.  Please join us.

Help support March for Science NYC by making a tax-deductible contribution here


March for Science NYC is a New York based nonprofit that is focused on building bridges between New York's Scientific and nonscientific communities. We are marching to show support for publicly funded science and scientists. Here, we believe that when you love something as much as we love science, you celebrate it! We are honored to be hosting this march event for our entire community.

In true celebratory fashion, we want our march to feel more like a parade in which you – the amazing and diverse residents of our community – will be showcased as marching science advocates! We invite groups - anyone from official organizations, and school clubs to scout troops, dance squads, book clubs, and sports teams - to register as Marching Science Advocates and march proudly with your own banner telling the world that YOU LOVE & SUPPORT SCIENCE!

We will be continually updating our website and social media with specific times, locations, and details on all the fun as we get closer to the event date. Please register as an individual or group to receive the most up to date information from us via email.


Thanks to our amazing community for patiently waiting as we have worked to create a safe, comfortable, and fun march for all science enthusiasts!!


Thanks to our amazing community for patiently waiting as we have worked to create a safe, comfortable, and fun march for all science enthusiasts!!

In the name of Science, here we go:
Our march will kick off with a rally on Central Park West at 62nd St at 10:30 am. The rally is expected to last one hour. Once the rally is over, it will be time for all New Yorkers to proudly march together showing their love and support for science!

From: Zoë Wong-Weissman - <> [Add to Address Book]
To: Benjamin Shepard <>
Subject: Scientists are pissed (and rightly so)
Date: Apr 20, 2017 3:31 PM
Right now the backbone of international climate action to stop climate disaster is at stake. Trump will announce whether he’ll pull us of the Paris climate agreement before the end of May.
Although far from perfect, this agreement is based on what science proves: we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to avoid complete climate catastrophe. And it’s linked to an effort across the current Administration to defund the scientific programs that track climate change.
That’s one reason scientists are pissed, and rightly so. They will march on April 22 to the National Mall in Washington DC and at marches across the country to stand up for truth and scientific fact. Expect teach-ins, lines of people in lab coats and equation-laden blackboards. You can join the scientific community in DC or at a satellite march near you here:
There will be climate teach-ins at many marches, and our dear friend Bill McKibben just finished filming a great video with climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe and former EPA Environmental Justice lead Mustafa Ali to spread the climate science truth. Find resources and videos for hosting a teach-in here:
And then on April 29, 100 days after inauguration, workers, students, environmental groups, mothers, frontline communities, and climate scientists will all converge at the National Mall in Washington DC and across the USA. In DC, we will surround the White House – a sort of citizen’s arrest of the buffoon inside. There will be a moment of silence, and then tremendous noise.
The first Peoples Climate March paved the way for the Paris climate deal. This march will be responsible for defending it. Over 800 organizations have endorsed, from the NAACP to the nation’s largest labor unions. There are more than 250 sister marches across the country. Over 300 buses are coming to D.C., some from as far away as North Dakota.
The following week, May 3-13th, we will continue the momentum here in New York with events that are part of the Global Divestment Mobilization. We will build the moral momentum for a post fossil fuel world and keep clearing the way for ambitious climate action by pushing New York to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
With enough people in the streets, every politician who’s not a Trumpist will understand where the center of gravity lies. We have huge power in numbers.
The next weeks are going to be extraordinary. Science, truth, and justice are all on the line – let’s defend them with everything we’ve got.

Hugging a few trees along the way at the March for Science!
Hug a tree on earth day and every day!

Images from the march for science and a walk back to the east village. 

1 comment:

  1. Hasn't occurred to you yet that your friend Erik McGregor isn't a scientist? Also that you are part of the antifracking movement which doesn't have a love for science?

    Benjamin did you miss the news about how natural gas has now surpassed coal albeit only slightly as the leading fuel used for electricty generation in the united States? Of course it likely has. Because occupy and the antifracking movement aren't going to give you facts.

    I find it more than a little troubling that you are a teacher. Maybe you should use the skills I am sure you have acquired vos your education to do some real research into things?