Kiwi scientists plan demonstration

Posted By TEU on Feb 2, 2017 | 1 comment

Scientists and researchers in New Zealand are planning a march in support of publicly funded and publicly communicated science and evidence-based policymaking.

The demonstration will coincide with the 22 April March for Science in the US and follows in the wake of efforts by the Trump administration to control the national conversation on a range of scientific issues.

In his first two weeks in office, Trump has restricted the communication of scientific evidence to the public from a number of government agencies. Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service have been censored and told not to share information about climate change, for example.

Some scientists in affected Departments recently started rogue Twitter accounts defiantly sharing scientific data.

A date for the New Zealand march is not yet confirmed, but Associate Professor Nicola Gaston, one the organisers and a TEU member at Auckland University, said its goal was to protect scientific progress and celebrate the positive impact that science makes in the lives of people around the world.

“Any government that ignores scientific evidence to pursue their own ideological ends is dangerous, but the policies already announced in the US will have long-lasting detrimental effects on science worldwide,” Gaston said.

“We are not concerned merely about the funding implications for scientists, but the systematic agenda of climate change denial and vaccine scepticism, to name two examples that have severe human rights implications. That is why scientists in New Zealand are coming together in solidarity with our colleagues in the US and around the world to hold politicians that devalue science – and other scholarship – accountable for their actions,” Gaston added.

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