Scientists are fed up. And on April 22, 2016 — Earth Day — they’re taking their issues to the streets.
The March for Science is a global movement to show policymakers why allowing well-funded scientific research to help shape public policy is crucial in any thriving democracy.
“It’s not only about scientists and politicians,” say organizers, who’ve stressed that the event is nonpartisan. “It is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.”
Not everyone can make the trek to Washington, D.C., of course, but that’s OK.
Here are 18 ways you can still make a big difference, even if you can’t make it to the march itself:
1. Attend a local satellite march.
Although the official March for Science is in D.C., there are over 500 satellite marches taking place around the globe, many of which are in the U.S.
Try to make it to one nearby.
2. Don’t see a satellite march near you? Start your own.
It’s super easy, and it’s not too late! You can register one in your own town on the march’s website and invite friends to join. Every marcher matters.
3. March virtually.
Anywhere you have internet access, you can tune in to the march’s livestream. Organizers are asking you to still register as a participant at the D.C. march, though, then follow along during the event on Facebook and Twitter.
4. Make a kick-ass sign for your yard.
Just because you won’t be carrying it in the march doesn’t mean it can’t do its job attracting plenty of eyeballs in your community. (Here are some cool sign ideas if you need ’em.)
5. Spend time on Saturday reading, subscribing to, and sharing articles from science publications.
Scientific journalism is critical in keeping the public informed on recent breakthroughs, technologies, and studies. Outlets like Scientific American, National Geographic, New Scientist, and Cosmos (and many, many more) do a great job at keeping readers up to speed on the science stories that matter (so does Upworthy’s own James Gaines). Journalists can’t do their jobs and publications can’t operate without engaged readers and subscribers.
6. Buy books that support real science.
7. Share this powerful video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining why science is what helped make America great.
Tyson said the video contains maybe “the most important words [he has] ever spoken.” It’s definitely worth the watch.
The march is completely volunteer-led. To help it run as smoothly and successfully as possible, funds are needed for things like event promotions and day-of operations. And while the march isn’t technically a nonprofit yet because it just applied for C3 status in February, your donation will still be tax-deductible.
9. Know someone who is going to D.C. for the march? Chip in to help them cover gas or lodging.
Traveling can be expensive, after all.
10. Share the marcher pledge on your social media channels.
Let your friends and family read why well-funded and respected scientific research is so vital for democracy to keep thriving.
“We, the peaceful, passionate, and diverse members of the March for Science, pledge to work together to share and highlight the contributions of science, to work to make the practice of science more inclusive, accessible and welcoming so it can serve all of our communities, and to ensure that scientific evidence plays a pivotal role in setting policy in the future.”
Get the rest of the pledge here.
11. Support teens and young people who love science.
The march wants people of all ages and walks of life to take part, but particularly young people. That’s why it created a student outreach team aimed at bringing teenagers into its grassroots movement. Help elevate their voices on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
12. Buy a science-march-themed hat on Etsy.
They’re adorable, they look ridiculously warm and cozy, and they might even nudge your IQ up a few pegs when you have one on.
They’re a great conversation starter too, so when you’re wearing it and get some questions, it provides the perfect opportunity to talk about the march and the importance of science.
If the “brain hat” isn’t your style, maybe the “DNA-hat” is.
13. Take a few minutes to donate to the groups doing so much to keep science a priority on the national radar.
Groups like the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and The Sierra Club are some big ones doing important work. But smaller, more niche organizations — like Black Girls Code, for example — need our support too. Find the groups doing work in areas you’re passionate about and, if you can afford to, send a few dollars their way.
14. Shop march merchandise.
15. Do your leaders in Washington care about science? Find out, and then set a reminder on your calendar to make sure to vote!
Science spans many different topics and political issues, of course. But, if you do a little digging, you can find out where your senators and representatives stand on issues like climate change, wildlife conservation, and funding for scientific research.
The League of Conservation Voters, for instance, tracks how your leaders have voted when it comes to protecting the Earth.
16. Find a cool science project to sponsor on DonorsChoose.
DonorsChoose — a platform where educators (much of the time in underserved communities) can crowdfund projects or raise funds for new learning tools in their classrooms — has many fantastic science initiatives that could use your help. Help students in Los Angeles get a Lego Mindstorms Robotics kit or provide students in Louisiana with materials they need to learn about a variety of STEM fields, and help budding young scientists stay curious.
17. Fight for local solutions to scientific or environmental problems in your own backyard.
In Maryland, for example, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore created Mr. Trash Wheel and his friend Professor Trash Wheel (no relation) — two hilarious-looking contraptions that use the water currents and some old school technologies to help keep Baltimore’s Inner Harbor garbage-free.
18. Even if you’re stuck in front of a computer screen for the day, you can use the #MarchForScience hashtag.
Share your ideas, photos, and messages of support using the hashtag across social media and make sure all your friends and family know where you stand when it comes to science.
No matter where you are on the globe this Earth Day, you can make a difference when it comes to standing up for science.
After all, it’s important to remember “There is no Planet B.”