Science Policy & Funding AGU News

AGU Endorses the March for Science in Washington, D. C.

Between now and the 22 April event, AGU will share further information about march-related resources and communications.

By and Robin Bell

A few short weeks ago, a group of scientists on Reddit and Twitter were looking for a way to speak publicly in support of science, research, and evidence-based policy in light of recent communications and actions taken by the new administration and Congress. These discussions sparked a massive outpouring of support and ultimately grew into the March for Science in Washington, D. C. (as well as numerous satellite marches around the world), now scheduled to take place on Earth Day, 22 April. As the movement gathered momentum, American Geophysical Union (AGU) members began to ask if AGU would formally endorse the march.

After consultation with the event organizers, and an in-depth review of principles and goals for the march and the activities planned, AGU’s Executive Committee formally endorsed the primary March for Science in Washington, D. C. The march strongly aligns with and reinforces AGU’s own mission and our core values of scientific integrity, the free and open exchange of science, diversity and inclusion, informing policy with evidence-based science, and the value of investing in scientific research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for the benefit of humanity. In choosing to endorse the event, AGU joins a growing number of scientific societies and organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Cochrane Collaboration, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Research!America, Sigma Xi, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, 500 Women Scientists, the American Anthropological Association, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, and many more (click here for the full list).

In addition to the Washington, D. C., event, nearly 300 independently organized satellite Marches for Science have sprung up across the country and around the globe. Organizers of the Washington, D. C., march are taking steps to ensure that the overarching messages of the event on the National Mall are positive, inclusive, and focused on the contribution that science makes to society as well as core values such as scientific integrity. While the satellite marches have agreed to abide by the same positive principles and goals, AGU has less opportunity to influence their implementation, and so we are not currently planning to formally endorse these marches. However, AGU is working on plans to bring together and support members who want to participate, wherever the march is located.

We hope that many of you will choose to join us on the National Mall on 22 April or participate in a march closer to home. In the coming days and weeks, we will share more information about resources and communications—such as how to download and print posters; volunteer opportunities before, during, and after the event; and a discussion board where you can connect and plan with your fellow marchers before, during, and after the march. We welcome your suggestions about how to effectively engage members and others in the Washington, D. C., and satellite marches and how to continue that engagement after the march.

This is a unique moment for AGU, the scientific community, our nation, and the world. The March for Science presents AGU with a very real, high-profile opportunity to, as AGU CEO Chris McEntee wrote in her From The Prow post following the election, “call on our elected leaders to remember the role science plays in our society and to support scientific innovation and discovery, and the people and programs that make it possible.”

—Eric Davidson (email: [email protected]), President, AGU, and Robin Bell (email: [email protected]), President-Elect, AGU

Citation: Davidson, E., and R. Bell (2017), AGU endorses the March for Science in Washington, D. C., Eos, 98, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO068581. Published on 23 February 2017.
© 2017. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
  • drseismo

    Why was not the membership surveyed before an Executive Committee endorsement? More importantly, has anyone on the executive committee reviewed the facts, identified a problem, determined that it is an AGU problem and that a “March for Science” is an appropriate way to address the problem. If so, where is the analysis?

    This decision seems to be an exercise in groupthink or possibly twitterthink. Did outside pressure from politicians or others enter into reaching the decision? If some scientists see a threat to the core values of the AGU, then spell it out. From this news article, I have not the foggiest notion of what the “March for Science” is about. The word petulant comes to mind. God help American if a “March on Science” (in lockstep?} somehow represents the core values of the AGU.

    • RT

      I concur completely. I was very upset when I first saw this (and you’re correct, it was first touted on Twitter). AGU is slipping into the muddy waters of political involvement, and I am tired of feeling like my professional organizations have an agenda apart.

      This does not represent all of AGU membership. There is no purpose to our joining a “slacktivist” event like this, it will do nothing for us professionally and it hurts our credibility as a whole.

      In this day and age, there is no excuse not to poll your members. And frankly, we have much more powerful policy tools at our disposal than an overtly politically-aligned march. It behooves us to use those.