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Doctor Who Stands Up For Doctors, and More Highlights from the #MarchforScience


Today, to commemorate Earth Day and condemn the dangerous influence of climate change denial, scientists and their supporters marched all over the world. They demanded respect for evidence-based science, decried the deleting of data, advocated for research funding, and called for countries to meet the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement. Protesters have posted pictures of their funny signs, creative costumes, and dancing, chanting crowds under the hashtags #MarchforScience, #MarchePourLesSciences, #MarchaPorLaCiencia – and Scotland’s unique #AyeforSci.

In London, the crowds were joined by one of the world’s most famous “doctors”: Peter Capaldi! The Twelfth Doctor joined the march with thousands of other people concerned for the future of the planet.

Protesters also marched in Abuja, Nigeria:

In Cuernavaca, Mexico:

In Dublin, Ireland:

In Kampala, Uganda:

In New York City, New York, United States:

In Ottowa, Canada:

In San Francisco, California, United States:

In Santiago, Chile:

In Sao Paulo, Brazil:

In Sydney, Australia:

In Tokyo, Japan:

In Washington, D.C., United States:

They even marched at the North Pole and Antarctica!

There were hundreds of marches and tens of thousands of participants across the globe, with at least one planned protest/march on each continent.

While I’m delighted by the turnout and excitement for this march, it’s worth saying that scientific institutions and practices aren’t always used in the service of right. From eugenics to the Tuskegee experiments to the nuclear arms race, scientific institutions certainly don’t have a spotless record in the history of human progress. Science is a tool, and like any tool, it can be wielded for either right or wrong. It’s on us as citizens to think critically about things like corporate-sponsored studies (Smoking is great for you, says this new study funded by Marlboro!), and it’s on the scientific community to look out for junk data.

However, it’s undeniable that rigorous testing, repeatable results, and reliable data have produced truly unbelievable advances for humanity. (Right this very moment, I’m typing these words on a computer and posting them instantly on the internet using electricity, while wearing glasses that allow me to see clearly and taking birth control that keeps me from getting pregnant; I have never known anyone who had smallpox. This is miracle-level for most of human history.)

It’s also clear that facts matter, and that denying the overwhelming evidence of climate change will eventually doom the planet. As so many of the signs from today’s marches said, “There is no Planet B.” So we’ve got to fight for this one, and these marches were an amazing, global start.

(Via Twitter, Nature, and Africa News; image via Shutterstock)

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