Marching for Science
Nina Martin | Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health
This past Saturday was Earth Day, and also the day that people participated in hundreds of "March for Science" events around the globe - including a team of scientists on Antarctica! According to the organizers' website, Saturday's march was "a celebration of science. It's not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world." This comes in the wake of extensive proposed cuts to funding for scientific research, which jeopardizes development of new treatments and health promotion here and around the world.
Scientists and scientific research are sometimes perceived as distant from everyday life, locked in an academic tower and or read about in textbooks. One journalist at the San Francisco march noted that "[he] couldn't find anything that would make a Trump supporter -- or even a fence-sitter -- care. Too many signs, indeed, smacked of superiority." The March for Science in some ways has tried to re-ignite the conversation about how far scientific advances reach into all our lives (think plastics, seat belts, polio and measles vaccines), and build bridges to more effectively share findings with those outside of traditional academia.
Curious about how you can do this? Here are a few resources and tips:
- "Know your audience": Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer in an essay for Scientific American: "[Effective science communication] can also make science accessible to audiences that traditionally have been excluded from the process of science. It can help make science more diverse and inclusive."
- "Tell compelling stories": Maddalena Bearzi, an ocean biologist, in a piece for National Geographic: "Because of their scientific knowledge, experts should consider becoming more involved and effective in raising public awareness of the threats facing our oceans...How scientists communicate this information may have measurable conservation impacts on the future of our planet."
- Start a blog! Check out Public Health United, a podcast and blog hosted by Nina M. Martin
- Channel Einstein: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
JHSPH's Brian Simpson and the Global Health Now team covered the Washington DC march (amid pouring rain) - check out his full write up here!
And for fun: Politico has rounded up some brilliant signs, including "Make America Full of Bees Again"!