By Scott Etkin
Chants of “Cite your sources!” could be heard Saturday afternoon at the entrance to Central Park on W. 72nd Street, as protestors gathered for the annual March for Science. After a series of speeches, the group crossed Central Park West and began the walk downtown to Bryant Park, escorted by NYPD officers.
The March for Science is a nonprofit that organizes events around the world in support of the public’s open access to scientific information, the use of science for the common good, and the protection of human and environmental rights.
Taking place on the day after Earth Day, the speeches focused mostly on climate justice and the need to respond with urgency to the climate crisis. For example, this year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledged the danger to ecosystems and humans in the near term unless there are significant reductions in fossil fuel emissions in the next few years.
On its website, the March for Science calls for New York City to: “end the expansion and future construction of fossil fuel infrastructure,” “accomplish its climate goals without opening any new jails,” and “invest in communities by supporting city infrastructure and green spaces.”
The activist Saad Amer, co-founder of the organization Plus1Vote, spoke about the importance of voting in this year’s midterm elections for leaders who will act on ensuring a “livable future” – instead of making empty promises.
The March for Science movement began in 2017 in response to the Trump administration. Speakers today emphasized the need to stand up for science no matter who is in office.
“Science is political, not partisan,” said Alyssa Shearer, a biomedical researcher at Columbia University and co-director of programming for NYC’s March for Science. She said that politics influence the direction of science and how it drives policy, but “every party can promote science.”
For the past two years, NYC’s March for Science was held as a virtual event due to the pandemic. This year, it was a sunny day for a protest outdoors. They chanted: “This is what democracy looks like!”