LP science teachers join in Chicago March for Science

Zaynab Hossain, Staff Writer

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Thousands were gathered in the streets of busy downtown Chicago last month. Chants echoed in the air, and the area was full of signs with catchy slogans and critical illustrations.

These people were participating in the March for Science as they highlighted the importance of science and celebrated it in the face of what they perceived to be anti-intellectualism pervading society, government and the country overall.

They marched from Buckingham Fountain to the Field Museum, carrying signs and calling out slogans. Several people who were participating in the march are a part of the LP community, including teachers John Regan, Leah Macnamara and Julie McDonnell, among others.

Marchers gathered as different people gave speeches about the importance of supporting scientific research and the scientific process for humanity and society.  Then the march began that eventually reached the rally point at the Museum Campus– where the Field, Shedd, and Adler Planetarium are located– where there was a science expo.

It was not aggressive in the least, as people marched in peace, according to McDonnell.

“Never before have I heard politicians berate science and downgrade the importance of science as I have been hearing lately,” said Regan. “The march was also on Earth Day, so there were two messages at the same time.”

Concern about global warming and climate change have been growing among people as temperatures rise around the world. Medical research must also advance as we struggle to find cures for cancer. Science is needed to address all of these concerns, and many have realized this.

This drives them to participate in actions such as the March as they fight for the continual support of science.

“I have a trepidation about whether my children, my past/present/future students, and the world’s population as a whole will get to have the basic living conditions that we may currently take for granted or will their lives be more complicated and perhaps in danger,” said Macnamara, science teacher.

As she teaches students, she sees their misconceptions about different aspects of everyday life. Although she enjoys seeing them realize something new, the lack of awareness for science is alarming because it could hurt the future generations.

She is not the only one with this attitude.

“Every day in the media, there is coverage of ways that science is not being supported and our environment is in danger,” McDonnell said.

Reports show that the march kept getting more and more crowded as over 40,000 people arrived to raise awareness. Not all of these people were scientists. A majority of them were just concerned citizens, many of them students in high school and junior high, according to one of the participants.

Progress is being made. Earlier this month, Congress set up the budget for 2017 that included continued support and even in some cases increased funding for important science-based programs including and not limited to National Institute of Health (NIH) (which is important for such things as cancer research) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which plays an important role in climate change research.

In addition to all of these advances, the current administration’s proposal to severely cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which plays a crucial role in ensuring that the states work together to have clean air and water- is not going through.

There is no proof that this is in direct correlation with the March in Chicago, but people are beginning to be more aware of the growing issues that face the environment.

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LP science teachers join in Chicago March for Science