Ahead of San Antonio’s second annual March for Science this Saturday, some may wonder why people march for that particular cause.
There’s virtually no avoiding the many services of science, and I’d challenge anyone to count them all. Applied sciences touch everything in our lives – from medicine and pharmaceuticals to space exploration, and from the high-technology-laced cars we drive to the cell phones that occupy endless hours of our time.
So why march for science when its applications crowd every space of our daily lives?
The scope and sweep of human activity and achievement that science empowers can hardly be overstated. But science also empowers something more fundamental – and vastly more important – in our lives.
Science is the greatest conduit for human invention and imagination, with the arts as a rival for that title.
Like other paths of exploration, science enables people to pursue an understanding of the world in a way that creates a rich adventure. The joy of discovery is both thrilling and personally rewarding.
But coupling individuals’ enriching discoveries with advances in science – the addition of our contributions, both small and large, to the scientific bank of knowledge – increases our ever-greater understanding of the universe. This expanding base of knowledge from contributions across human endeavors is unique to science.
This is why we march.
The celebration of human inventiveness and imagination that science enables is why we march. Such celebration is just one reason to support STEM education in our schools, because just as science enriches and empowers our young people’s thoughts and abilities, so it strengthens our economy, our nation, and our world.
But there is more.
We march to call on our elected leadership to illuminate our steps using science.
Most people are familiar with the blindfold the statue of Lady Justice wears, and few mistake her blindfold for blindness.
So it is with science. Science itself is impartial and does not see politics.
And science, like Lady Liberty, also holds a torch aloft. But in the case of science, the torch serves to light the path before us.
The gifts of science are not limited to enriching the human cerebral experience nor to the creation of the next electronic device that makes billionaires nor to the next discovery that can lift the human spirit or provide greater contributions from individuals to the world’s collective conscience.
Science should guide public policy to help ensure that fewer people live in poverty; that the environment is safeguarded so our earth will be fecund for all coming generations; that our population growth, to include the building of our cities and civilizations, is managed with equity and justice; to assure that all of our children benefit from the finest education, including one in science that allows them to reach the stars.
This is why we march. Join us.
San Antonio’s March for Science will begin at Jefferson High School on Saturday, April 14, at 10 a.m. Mayor Ron Nirenberg will deliver opening remarks around 10:45 a.m. Marchers will then leave the Jefferson campus and head south on Wilson Avenue toward Woodlawn Lake. After the march, three accomplished scientists with ties to San Antonio and South Texas will speak during a rally, and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) will conclude the day’s events.