2017 is shaping up to be the Year of the March, and Earth Day will get an inaugural march to add to its festivities: the March for Science. Millions of people are expected to join in, from places as far apart as Anchorage, Alaska, to Wangdue, Bhutan.
But what is the march, and what does it hope to accomplish? Here’s everything you need to know, whether you’re lacing up your shoes to participate or will be on the sidelines.
Mission: As the name implies, the March for Science is about celebrating science. That means keeping it robustly funded and publicly communicated. “Science should neither serve special interests nor be rejected based on personal convictions,” says the March for Science website. “At its core, science is a tool for seeking answers. It can and should influence policy and guide our long-term decision-making.”
Goals: The immediate goal is to highlight the valuable public service role science plays in society and policy and demonstrate a deep public support for science. Beyond that, goals include creating a space for scientists to collect and analyze data without fear of retribution, filling important science and technology positions with qualified public servants, developing closer ties with scientists around the world, and making sure scientists have a seat at the table when it comes to policymaking. See more of the reasons for marching here.
Who’s Behind It: Volunteer national committee members from an array of backgrounds are spearheading the organization. They have partnered with more than 170 groups, including the Earth Day Network, The Nature Conservancy and Carnegie Science.
What Happens Next?: In the week following the March for Science (April 23-29), organizers are promoting a Week of Action with daily actions that serve their mission. That includes learning how to decrease your carbon footprint, finding out how to spot misrepresentations of science in the media, and visiting a community garden or science institution.
How to Get Involved: Find a march close to you, or participate virtually in the livestream from the Washington, D.C., event.
If you’d rather find another activity on Earth Day, check out our complete guide to Earth Day 2017, with events in every state.
Feature image: March for Science