For some, science hasn’t always been a favorite subject. But in the current climate of “alternative facts” and dangerous misinformation from President Trump’s administration, appreciating science is now more important than ever. That’s why on April 22—Earth Day—scientists, researchers, educators, and others passionate about scientific truth and discovery will descend upon the National Mall during a march in Washington, D.C., as well as several satellite marches around the country. This rallying cry serves to protect and safeguard the vital role science plays in health, safety, education, and our future. Ready to take to the streets to defend science as a colonnade of human discovery and growth? Here are five things you need to know before you go:
1. Questlove will be there. The joint frontman of hip-hop group The Roots, and the in-house band for “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” will co-host the main event in Washington, D.C., along with Australian-Canadian filmmaker Derek Muller, who’s behind the popular YouTube science channel Veritasium. Other performers include Jon Batiste and Stay Human, who are both from the in-house band on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Events kick off at 9 a.m. on the north side of the Washington Monument, followed by the march itself at 2 p.m. And while protesting is, of course, free, don’t forget to register, so the organizers know how many attendees to plan for.
2. You can rub elbows with some of the most inspired minds of our time. Notable scientists are scheduled to present, with speeches starting at 10 a.m. The list includes some more notable figures in the scientific community, such as pop-culture scientist Bill Nye; Mona Hanna-Attisha, who helped uncover the water crisis in Flint, Michigan; scientist and politician Rush Holt, who worked as a professor of public policy and physics during his tenure in Congress; Megan Smith, the first female U.S. Chief Technology Officer; and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, the third Mexican-American woman to receive a doctorate in the sciences (1975), and who helped discover a molecule known to contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease also caused degeneration of brain cells.
3. You Can Improve Your Scientific Literacy. Keeping in theme with the event’s focus on science education, there will be “teach-ins” in tents around the Lawn, during which scientists will present their research and show how essential it is to the public.The teach-ins are part of an initiative to help personalize scientists and broaden the public’s understanding of the scientific method. Teach-in presentations include “The Nature Conservancy: Sustainable Food Solutions” and “Climate Change and the Cosmic Perspective or How to Stop Your Climate Denialist Uncle in His Tracks,” among others.
4. The March’s route is similar to that of the Women’s March. The march launches at 2 p.m., heading down Constitution Avenue to Union Square in front of the Capitol Building. For the exact route, check out Earth Day Network’s route description.
5. You can march wherever you are. If you can’t make it to Washington, D.C., no worries. Marches will take place all over the country, from New York City to San Francisco, from Chicago to Austin. Check out the march’s official website to find one near you.
It’s not just about science; this march emphasizes the importance of nonviolence and inclusivity. As outlined by the organizers: “We will unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds common good. It’s not only about scientists and politicians, it’s about the very real role of science in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.” Well said. Let’s march!
Photos by Frances F. Denny
Frances F. Denny (b. 1984) is an artist and photographer whose work investigates the development of female selfhood and identity. Her work is represented by ClampArt in New York City. Radius Books published Frances’ first monograph, Let Virtue Be Your Guide, in the spring of 2016. She is the recipient of a 2016 NYFA Fellowship in Photography, and has won numerous awards, including PDN’s 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch, PDN’s 2015 The Curator (for Still Life), LensCulture Emerging Talent, Magenta Foundation Flash Forward, and Critical Mass 50. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and a BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Her work has been featured by The New York Times/Women in the World, Art New England, Dazed, The Humble Arts Foundation, PDN, and A Women’s Thing. Frances lives in Brooklyn, NY where she balances her art practice and a career as an editorial and commercial photographer.