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San Diego Scientists Prepare For March To Bolster Science's Role In Policy

Signs for the San Diego March for Science, in an undated photo
KPBS Staff
Signs for the San Diego March for Science, in an undated photo
San Diego Scientists Prepare For March To Bolster Science’s Role In Policy
San Diego Scientists Prepare For March To Bolster Science's Role In Policy GUESTS: Robert Cooper, executive committee, March For Science - San Diego Lynne Talley, professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Is a much to depoliticize science a political act? That's one of the questions surrounding the March for science. Scientists researchers doctors educators will be demonstrating at a big March for science rally in DC. Or at smaller events in hundreds of cities including here in San Diego. The idea of the March will be is brought on by the reversal on climate change situations. The organizers say -- 20 me as Robert Cooper postdoctoral researcher San Diego's much for science. Also been telling profession -- Professor of oceanography at Scripps. Welcome. The huge women's marches that followed President Trump's inauguration were technically nonpartisan but just about everybody interpreted them as a critical response to Donald Trump's agenda. Several other similarities with the March for science nonpartisan but really anti-Trump. That is not what we want to do with it. When you mentioned at the beginning that it was sparked by something what is more interesting is not the spark that the fact that there was so much underlying enthusiasm waiting there to be ignited. We had marches in Washington DC and San Diego and Boston and Kansas City and Florida and Korea and Norway and Australia and New Zealand and France and the United Kingdom. All of those marches around the world in six continents cannot just be about domestic politics. What that says to me is there's a lot of excitement around science and the general public. There has been a lot of enthusiasm that people have been waiting for this to happen. I understand many people are attending the March and fact-based ideology has been growing in the country and politics for quite a few years. I would clarify that that's not a political issue I do not think that is one party versus another it is particular classes of people or this particular ministration or this particular attitude toward science that I think itself may reach across parties and our deep support for science and engineering and evidence-based knowledge also absolutely reaches across parties. The simplest answer is that science is call. Science does so much for people. It makes us healthy and gives us jobs and powers our technology it bubbles and fizzes. Linea study climate change you are one of the speakers at the event here and Saturday. My message will be that as scientists and engineers we all have common ground and fact-based information and understanding how important that is and to just accept that for what it is and just to do with it what you choose to do as a religious person or a politician. We have to ground everything that we learn for science and I'm happy to be in a field that has targets on her back for a long time. I haven't been a climate scientist that long but I'm a very large-scale oceanographer. That fits into climate I take deep into this and it turns out to be very relevant for climate and suddenly I have a target. I think that is what you some of us out there on our feet. Near scientists and are just looking for how things work. I read a story yesterday about the latest that is known to sea level rise was Governor Jerry Brown he was very attentive and asked informed questions and ended the meeting by saying you guys need to do a better job of telling the public what is going on and explaining this stuff to the public. Do you agree with that. We attempt to but we are grounded in science. One of the aspects of science that you have to get order and over -- over in order to communicate is that we are constantly picking ourselves with critique. I just said that the number is 2.3 but the uncertainty on that is this big. The uncertainty on this is this big part of the goal over several decades now and the climate community has been to understand what our consensus is on top that is based on all of this peer-based review science and we have come to a very deep consensus and that's where we feel unfairly targeted because this is our message. Politics Professor David Victor predicted this much for science will make of you scientists as just another interest group. How do you combat that. The factors that they created a much for science and if we is scientists want to make sure that we portray science and the correct light what we have to do is get out there and show people on the inside that this will go in the right direction and make sure that this is the message that we want to show which is that science is for everybody. Doesn't matter if you are liberal or conservative or libertarian or something in between. Do you think this is kind of a sustained effort of the community to reach for public effort. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for science outreach. Nothingness big rally for science around the world has ever happened before the we need to show people this is how science works. We breathe the same air that you do and to be involved in science and have more science in your life you do not have to be the official jobs title scientist you just have that mindset of I'm going to evaluate the evidence and question things and think critically about them and not just say what I want here. I've been speaking with postdoctoral researcher at San Diego co-organizer of the San Diego March for science thank you both very much.

Scientists from across the country will be demonstrating Saturday in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of other cities, advocating for science's role in public policy and against proposed cuts to federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Robert Cooper, a post-doctoral researcher at UC San Diego and one of the organizers of San Diego's march, said the march will let scientists interact directly with the public and explain their work. The march is also meant to be nonpartisan, despite many individual scientists criticizing policies from the Trump administration.

"Passions have been running high all around recently. But that’s not what this needs to be about," Cooper said. "We all have the same message: science needs to be above and beyond the divisions in the rest of society. That’s the power of science, it’s something we all should agree on."

Some San Diego scientists have said they won't be participating in the march, arguing it will only further politicize the debate over climate change and other scientific research. UC San Diego global politics professor David Victor told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the march, "will signal to the folks who want to cut the federal budget to the bare bones that science is a well-organized interest group.”

One of the speakers at San Diego's march is Lynne Talley, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She said she wants to dispel the idea she and her colleagues have a political motive in their scientific research.

"I didn’t have any agenda when I became an oceanographer," Talley said. "I came from an engineering family. The highest value in our family is integrity: facts, telling the truth, explaining your work, what’s your uncertainty, etc."

Cooper and Talley join KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss the march's goals and what their plans are for future activism.

San Diego March For Science

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22

Where: San Diego Civic Center