By: Jack Elmendorf, 23News Reporter and Juliana Tornabene, 23NewsReporter

The March for Science Mid-Missouri hopes to generate conversation on science’s role in politics.

This is a satellite march for the March for Science in Washington D.C., both of which will occur on Earth Day, April 22 at 2 p.m.

The March for Science website includes information on registering for local marches.

Matt McCune, a spokesman for the march, is hopeful that the event will make people more aware of how decisions made by the government will affect our world and the scientific community. McCune wants to get “people who are science enthusiasts, science advocates… more engaged.”

“I hope people… would listen to somebody who is an expert and who has spent decades researching something over a corporate lobbyist,” McCune said.

McCune hopes that those who participate will become a group of self-advocates that will reach out to their representatives and senators in order to get their voices heard for future policy changes.

This march comes in the wake of 20 percent budget cuts to the National Institute of Health, according to Forbes. The former director of the NIH, Elias Zerhouni, described the cuts as “catastrophic” for the scientific community.

“I mean a lot of our funding especially with respect to health – it comes directly from the NIH,” McCune said.  “When we have a president proposing a budget that cuts their funding by 20 percent, well… that’s certainly going to lead to a 20 percent reduction – minimum – in the jobs available for research.”

Over 900 people are planning on attending, according to the March for Science Mid-Missouri Facebook page at the time of publication.

“It is important that scientists’ voices get heard,” said Alexandra Roper, an MU student who plans on attending the march. “I want to march to let it be heard that we can save the planet.”

McCune hopes that the march will bring about a higher respect for science, the scientific process itself and scientific results.

“I hope people… would listen to somebody who is an expert and who has spent decades researching something over a corporate lobbyist,” McCune said.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. with a rally at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater. Immediately following the rally, the march will head toward Francis Quadrangle. To conclude the day, there will be a science festival held in Peace Park from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The festival will be co-sponsored by Science Communication and Public Engagement of MU. People are encouraged to attend any of the events throughout the day, there will even be an “Ask a Scientist” panel at the festival.

“Go out and talk to us, hopefully, we can help people better connect with the scientific community, and show the value of our work,” McCune said.
Edited by Isabel Lohman | iplp54@mail.missouri.edu

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