One Week Later, We’re Still Marching for Science


There has been a lot of fancy footwork lately of the activist sort, and it’s a very good thing. Beginning with the record setting Women’s March (with participation estimated at 5 million worldwide) this past January – to support policies which are in line with basic human rights, women’s rights, healthcare access and reform, environmental protection, LGBTQIA rights, racial equity, freedom of religion, immigrant rights and worker’s rights – people on every continent have been invigorated to gather and demonstrate their will to join with one another in the name of what they are passionate about. The People’s Climate March, which began in 2014 (gathering a crowd of 400,000 in NYC, of which Jane Goodall was a marcher) has continued into 2017 with their 3rd annual march slated for today in Washington D.C. with sister marches around the world. There is a grand and essential history of organizing, ranging from the Anti-Vietnam War march, to the Million Man March to unite the Black community, and the Million Woman March, all with the same glowing thread: the need to unite and be heard. Last week, however, was a march of a new and rare breed: A March for Science!

This march, which may seem a simple progression in the order of public assembly for policy issues, is actually much more fundamentally revolutionary. Since our earliest dabbling in the realm of the sciences – from early Chinese examinations of the alignment of the stars and ancient Egyptian geometric findings, to the middle ages onto the Age of Enlightenment into today – science has fallen in and out of favor in various societies over time. Despite conflict, cruelty and violence, ridicule, skepticism, and extreme vilifying of science, it has prevailed and for the greater part of the last 500 years has dictated efficient, life saving, and morally profound solutions to the eternal struggles of humanity on Earth. The revolution then, is simply that it is for the first time in a very long time science is being countered and silenced in public domain and in legislation. Thus, we march for science because “It’s all that stands between the human race and the poverty and darkness that once engulfed us.” (Bloomberg)

The March for Science (with between 250,000 and 600,000 people participating in the U.S.) was held in Washington D.C. on Earth Day 2017. It was created as a non-partisan response to the combination of political rhetoric and action to dismantle/defund research and scientific institutions like the EPA, FDA, NASA, NIH and more, and a statement on the integrity and inclusion of the scientific community. As prominent astrophysicist and author Neil Degrasse Tyson wrote recently in HuffPo,

“If you cherry-pick scientific truths to serve cultural, economic, religious or political objectives, you undermine the foundations of an informed democracy.”

And so, scientists, citizens, and NGO’s (plus Dr. Goodall + JGI) stood up together to stand up for science. As an institution founded by one of the most influential and groundbreaking scientists of our time, and one that operates to expand research and utilize discoveries and technology to better the relationships between all living things, we showed up for science. Marches also occurred around the world in Australia, Germany, the UK, Brazil, Japan, France and many other countries. Below we’ve gathered some of our favorite moments from the march highlighting the impact of the event, along with the impact of Dr. Goodall and JGI on marchers!

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Why We March 

Nearly 60 years ago, a 26 year old woman from England hid among the robust leaves of the rainforest in Tanzania and saw something no one else had previously recorded. This discovery of tool use in non-human animals (chimpanzees) changed the world. Most importantly, this young woman showed everyone what is possible when you follow your dreams and use your intuition to uncover amazing things. That woman is Dr. Jane Goodall. Her impact on the scientific world and humankind is beyond compare, and her influence and inspiration for scientists, particularly women in science, has been unparalleled.

At JGI we believe in the power of research, curiosity, equity, community, and compassionate leadership for all people, and particularly in support of the brave women using knowledge to build a brighter tomorrow and beyond. Our organization is home to a variety of scientists, many continuing Jane’s initial research, and many new ones expanding our perception of habitat through GIS and conservation science. We’re also growing activists and scientists of every sort through our youth leadership and education program Roots & Shoots. We’re inspired by the brilliance of women from all over the globe shaping our understanding of the natural world, creating new medicines, and advancing technology for the benefit of all living things. To safe-guard science, create inclusive learning and professional environments, and encourage policy makers to take science seriously, we march on.

Visit our website to learn more about our legacy of science and our current research + our programs : And so scientists and citizens stood up together to stand up for science.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Communications & Policy Officer at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is currently pursuing a MS in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University. She has a varied background including conservation, art, communications, digital media, design, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she believes it is possible to ignite positive change, every day.