California Science Teachers March for Science

Athena Acevedo and Piper Canty

Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 people attended the April 22 March, according to event organizers.

As stated on their official website, the March for Science is to “celebrate a passion for science and to support and safeguard the scientific community” as a response to recent claims of disbelief in science. “The goals for the marches include advocating for open, inclusive, and accessible science; affirming scientific research as an essential part of a working democracy and of course, supporting scientists.”

The march started at Southside Park in downtown Sacramento at 10 a.m. with performances and speakers,  including Rio Americano biology teacher Toby Spencer.

Speaking as a representative of the California Science Teachers Association, Spencer pointed out that marches were taking place across the country and elsewhere in the world.

“Not only here today in Sacramento, but across the world, hundreds of cities are celebrating the importance of what we do,” he told the crowd.

At noon, the marchers started walking to the Capitol building, sharing the importance of science and research with the city through songs, signs and chants.

After everyone arrived to the Capitol, a stage was set with musical performances and speakers in the science community.

Ilonka Zlatar, an environmental scientist for CalRecycles, shared her views on the way people now pollute the Earth on a day to day basis.

“The number 350 is the number of parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that scientists believe is the safe upper limit for a safe climate. Today we’re about 410,” said Zlatar.

Zlatar is worried about the government not caring about the future and what will eventually happen to the planet.

“We are ready for our elected officials to start caring more about our planet and our future than their profits and the company’s profits,” she said.

Tracie Stafford and James Nachbaur, the co-chairs of the event, hosted it. Stafford organized the Women’s March on Sacramento last January and is the president of the Women Democrats of Sacramento County. Nachbaur works for the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

Speakers represented the California Association of Professional Scientists, California Air Resources Board, and Women Democrats of Sacramento County. Many others were professors at schools like Sacramento State and Stanford.

In his speech, Spencer brought up the issue of actually standing up for science and saving it. He called for listeners to support science education and the new Next Generation Science Standards.

“It’s not just enough to bubble an answer in a test, it’s not just enough to have knowledge but you must also have the application and have the drive to do it,” Spencer said.

 

More information about the California Science Teachers Association and Next Generation Science Standards is available at http://www.cascience.org

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