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"March for Science" Returns to Iowa Capitol Saturday

About 3,000 people attended the 2017 March for Science in Des Moines last April. (sciencemag.org)
About 3,000 people attended the 2017 March for Science in Des Moines last April. (sciencemag.org)
April 13, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa's primary election is less than two months away, and organizers of tomorrow's second annual "March for Science" have asked gubernatorial candidates and others to attend and share their beliefs about science with potential constituents.

Multiple candidates are running for the office held by Gov. Kim Reynolds, who was appointed to the post and is now seeking a full term. March for Science Iowa president Kaitlin Higgins says because Iowa ranks second in the nation for agriculture production, it needs elected officials who will create policies that reflect its importance to the state.

"When it comes to water quality and responsible and sustainable farming practices,” says Higgins, “we need legislators who are going to listen to what the farmers are saying they need, and listen to what the scientists are saying."

Science marches were first organized in 2017 after President Donald Trump, who has referred to climate change as a hoax, was elected. In Iowa, about 3,000 attended the first Des Moines event, while global attendance was projected at 1.7 million.

Many scientists have expressed alarm in the past year over actions that they see as "anti-science," from the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement to the rollback of water and air quality regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency. Higgins believes it's important to question Iowa candidates in advance about where they stand on science and science education.

"This year, we're really just trying to connect the public with the people who are running for office who can have an impact on science policy, and doing it in a way that they can make their own decision," says Higgins.

This year's science march will begin at the State Capitol in Des Moines at 1 p.m..More than 230 satellite events around the world have registered to participate, with marches planned as far afield as New York City, India and Nigeria.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA