The March for Science is striding through Alaska

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Thus far, 2017 has been a year that promotes voices and ideas throughout different communities. The March for Science is no exception, and many scientists are pushing to make themselves heard.

“As an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, former researcher, consultant and educator, I’ve been actively engaged in science for many years,” Ceal Smith, member of the March for Science Anchorage Team, said. “I attended the Women’s March, which was an inspiring and historical event for Anchorage, so when I learned about the March for Science in D.C., I immediately contacted the organizers and volunteered to help organize the March for Science in Anchorage.”

Smith isn’t the only one who was encouraged to join. Bryan Box, UAA graduate with biology major, also felt compelled. He specializes in forest ecology, and focuses on forest entomology.

“They gave me an out: I could heavily reword my manuscript to not include any mention on climate change, even though that’s the whole point of my research,” Box said. “All my friends who work at the [Environmental Protection Agency] and all my friends who work at the Department of the Interior started reporting the same thing, like, ‘Hey, we’re being told we can’t talk to the public, and that our data’s going to start getting shut down.’ So we all started getting super angry, naturally.”

Because the origins of the march are emotional, the march itself has received plenty of backlashes. One argument against it states that the march is too political and is based off of scientific policy.

“The aims and functions of the march have been drastically altered in the first two months of its existence, especially as the organizers began to receive critique from the scientific community,” Zuleyka Zevallos, sociologist research fellow at Swinburne University, said in an article for minoritypostdoc.org.

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Since then, the intent has become clear: the march is to focus heavily on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, as well as differing branches of science in general.

“Science is absolutely fascinating, and it’s a method of thinking about the world,” Box said. “It’s not political science, you know, it’s not people-based. It’s pure logic. It’s elegant, beautiful, and I love it. I really do.”

The March for Science Anchorage is to take place April 22, at 10 a.m. Tony Knowles and Ethan Berkowitz are to be keynote speakers. It will start from the Veterans’ Memorial at Delaney Park and will end at the Anchorage Museum. This event is open to the public.