London’s March for Science Targets Brexit

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Scientists and activists in London also organized a March for Science on Earth Day. One of the issues was how Brexit would impact Britain’s commitment to counter climate change

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Story Transcript

CROWD: (chanting)… science, not… science, not… science, not… science, not…

STORY SYLWESTER: Yeah. So, the march is a celebration of science, one of the largest celebrations of science, I think ever. It’s global. Worldwide.

It was initially a reaction to the climate change denialism in the U.S., and then it gained international attention from the U.K., especially, in part because of Brexit concerns. So, after Brexit, how are international research partnerships going to be affected by the negotiations? And how will the quality of that research be affected, as well?

DR. ANDREW STEELE: … at the moment it’s very hard to see any upside for science, when it comes to Brexit. If you work in a lab like mine, at The Francis Crick Institute, 56% of the post-docs of the staff at my level, are European citizens, and they’re not from the U.K., they’re from other countries in the EU.

And it’s just essential for the way that we work. Science is a collaborative, international endeavour. We need to recruit the broadest possible pool of talent, and leaving the EU is just going to make that harder and harder.

What I’d like to see in this election isn’t that(?) knowledge of science at all. It’s rarely mentioned in politics because it’s… it’s kind of that, it’s quite a niche issue. Even though it affects every aspect of our lives, from our health, to the environment, to our economy, politicians rarely talk about it directly.

It just gets all pushed to the sidelines in an election. So, I really hope that it gets the mention, and have some actual debate about the issues.

MAN: Give me a wave!

CROWD: Wave!

MAN: Give me a …!

CROWD: …!

MAN: Give me a wave!

CROWD: A wave!

WOMAN PROTESTOR: Because I don’t think people really understand what science does for them, and it’s only if we lose it, they’d realize how much we benefit from it. And we need to really get representation out there, like, representation out there, that science is really important.

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