Saturday saw scientists, science enthusiasts and concerned citizens gather to promote the global March for Science in the city of Aarhus.
by Fabíola Ortiz
“Why is science important to society?” Senior scientist and IT developer Peder Nørgaard laughs when he hears the question. “It’s so obvious,” he replies. For someone who has devoted their life to scientific improvement, currently based at Aarhus University Hospital working with organ exchange organisation Scandiatransplant, the benefits that science bring seem quite evident.
“We need science for everything. Without science we cannot sustain our tiny little fraction of life on Earth.” He is right, and he is not the only one. On April 22nd, Earth Day, Aarhus joined the global March for Science.
More than 600 marches were held around the world this Saturday. What became known as the March for Science aimed to celebrate the scientific method and advocate the use of scientific evidence in decision-making at all levels of government.
The main event took place in Washington DC, where organisers estimated around 150,000 attendees. The Aarhus march was not so big, with around 5000 marchers, but all were enthusiastic. On the sunny afternoon, they gathered little by little in Rådhuspladsen, bringing their families and carrying posters and banners with slogans such as ‘Science not silence’ and ‘Make science not war’.
“We cannot sustain education, welfare or medicare. We need to base our decisions on fact and scientific studies,” continued Nørgaard heartily carrying a stick with a banner.
There is no way out, warns 22-year-old biology student Jon Poulsen: “I’m here today because it is important to raise awareness and discuss science.” He believes that everything – every aspect of citizen life, every measure taken by politicians, any decision made – should be based on science. “For example, global warming. We have to think about the consequences of this effect, and we need science for this.”
PhD candidate in genetics, Manog Kamble, from India, stresses the various reasons why he and his friends joined the march. “There is not enough political incentive for science. We do science to make a better society. Science is life; if we want to grow and develop, we need science,” he emphasised.
“It is part of our human evolution. We can’t go back in time. We need science to go forward,” intervened Christal Goteman, a master’s student from Sweden.
The March for Science aimed to encourage policymakers to use evidence-based research as a source for decision-making. Resolutions should not be taken based “on feelings,” criticised senior biotechnology scientist Lise Torp. She advocates for more funding to be put into scientific research. Scientists should be independent, and science should be prioritised and seen as a public good, she argues.