It is time for scientists and concerned citizens to gather and be heard!

Science is a fundamental tool for seeking answers, and values the objective weighing of evidence. It serves no special interests, nor should it be rejected based on opinions. Science values the notion that through rational inquiry and the rejection of superstition and prejudice, humanity can make real progress.

Currently, these values are under threat, as we see an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery. Anti-intellectualism has been subtle for years, but now is rising faster than ever, and cannot be denied anymore. Inconvenient facts are shamelessly replaced with “alternative facts”. Entire movements refute scientific evidence by denying climate change, blaming vaccines for the development of autism, writing away evolution as just a theory, claiming homosexuality to be a willful choice, and finding the white race to be genetically superior. Rejection of overwhelming evidence by policy makers and opinion leaders is a critical and urgent matter. This is becoming a global problem. In the US, publicly funded scientists are censored and silenced under policies of the new administration. In Turkey thousands of academics are jailed. The Dutch parliament has recently approved a resolution to monitor political preferences in scientists. The tobacco industry has undermined or manipulated scientific evidence. Worldwide anti-immigration sentiments are threatening the spirit of international communication and collaboration, hampering the free-flow of people and ideas which are the keystone of modern science. These are many symptoms of the global problem.

For far too long, scientists and supporters of science have remained silent in the face of policies which ignore scientific evidence, and endanger human life and the future of our world. Today, staying silent is a luxury we can no longer afford. It is time for everyone who supports scientific research and evidence-based policies to speak out for the values they believe in, for the sake of society, as citizens of the world. We need to bring awareness to the community and higher bodies that science is important, and it is everywhere, in every layer of society, even though this is not always directly perceivable. Importantly, science should not be partisan, left nor right, progressive nor conservative, and should not be controlled by governmental politics. It is a method for discovering the actual truth of things, regardless of ideology and regardless of authority. Nonetheless, for science to remain free from political influence, scientists need to engage with politics – now more than ever.

Worldwide, dozens of cities have started to organize a march for science, ready to take to the streets in support of science. We will march on April 22, 2017, Earth Day. With The March for Science we want to celebrate our passion for science, call for support, and safeguard the scientific community. What unites us is a love of science, and a limitless curiosity. The March For Science is about the crucial role science plays in each of our lives, and about the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world. We are committed to promote science and highlight diversity. We must work to make science available to everyone, and encourage individuals of all backgrounds to engage in science, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion or lack thereof, political affiliation, or socioeconomic status. A diverse group of scientists generates progressively diverse research, which broadens, strengthens, and enriches scientific investigation, and therefore, our understanding of the world.

We invite scientists, concerned citizens and all science lovers to join us on April 22nd at the Museumplein in Amsterdam. There will be a diverse group of science educators and scientists representing many fields speaking to the public about ongoing research and its vital importance in our everyday lives. We encourage scientists to reach out to their communities, to share their research and its impact on people's everyday lives, and to mobilize together in the march. We must take science out of the labs and offices and share it with the world. During the March For Science we will bring forward a pro-science ambiance together, to show the world that evidence-based science is the fundament of democratic decision making.

The March For Science champions science, but it is only the beginning of the process towards encouraging the belief in, and application of science in policy. Our enthusiasm and commitment to science will not end after the march! The most effective way to protect science along the way is to encourage the public to value it and invest in it. This can be achieved through science education, communication and mutual respect between scientists and their communities.