Model Mad, March

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A women’s march in Fairbanks, Alaska, last month. The movement inspired a group of scientists to organize their own demonstration in Washington. Credit Robin Wood/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, via Associated Press

We have not had a shortage of model mad stories, which may be the silver lining to the cloud, so thanks to the Science section of the New York Times for this contribution:

Listen to Evidence’: March for Science Plans Washington Rally on Earth Day

By

Within a week of its creation, the March for Science campaign had attracted more than 1.3 million supporters across Facebook and Twitter, cementing itself as a voice for people who are concerned about the future of science under President Trump.

Now, hoping to transform that viral success into something approaching the significance of the women’s march last month, the campaign has scheduled its demonstration in Washington for Earth Day, April 22.

“Yes, this is a protest, but it’s not a political protest,” said Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a lead organizer of the march. “The people making decisions are in Washington, and they are the people we are trying to reach with the message: You should listen to evidence.”

Last week, Dr. Berman found himself in the middle of a social media movement. While browsing a Reddit discussion about how the new administration was handling science, he came across a comment that he interpreted as a call to arms: “There needs to be a Scientists’ March on Washington.”

“I thought someone should do that,” Dr. Berman said, “and I realized, I’m someone.”

He proceeded to buy a web domain, design a logo and create a Twitter account for what was then called “The Scientists’ March on Washington.” Within three days, the idea had more than 700,000 supporters across its social media platforms.

Other collaborators quickly joined Dr. Berman’s efforts. Dr. Caroline Weinberg, a public health researcher and science writer in New York, was concerned by news reports about science at the Environmental Protection Agency. Inspired by the women’s march and excited by the idea of scientists holding their own, she connected with Dr. Berman. They decided to organize a steering committee and draft a mission statement and diversity statement, but their efforts could hardly keep up with the thousands of volunteer requests and social media responses.

“While it was overwhelming, it was incredibly heartwarming that so many people were concerned with what’s going on with science and this administration,” Dr. Weinberg said. “People were willing to donate their time and energy to this. They were just waiting for someone to set up a Twitter handle.”

As the organizers address the logistical challenges of enlisting thousands of people to march on the National Mall, what they have proposed has received support from some leaders in the scientific community…

Read the whole story here.

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