Shaun O’Boyle is a scientist turned science communicator and a co-chair of the March for Science, Ireland Organising Committee.
On the 25th of January, a Reddit thread brought a critical mass of like-minded people together, and the March for Science was born. This new movement was in response to a United States Administration that was denying the reality of climate change, befriending the anti-vaccination community, and dismissing any press it didn’t agree with as “fake news”. This new movement was timely and inspiring, and within hours “satellite” marches were emerging around the planet.
On the 26th of January, a small group of scientists and science communicators assembled and March for Science, Ireland was born. This was more than just a display of solidarity with our American peers, it was an opportunity to make a strong stand against this new culture of “alternative facts”, which is by no means limited to the US. It was an opportunity to start important conversations here in Ireland about the value of international scientific collaboration, the importance of evidence-based policy, and the role science has in our society and culture.
Since then, our team has grown. Volunteers and supporters have helped shape our mission, build our community, and focus our goals for this march. This process has formed a critical mass of like-minded people here in Ireland, who will continue to stand up for science and evidence beyond 22nd April.
For me, the March for Science is about people – because it is people who make science happen and it is people who are affected by it. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I know what it means to march with your people. We march because we are strongest when we are together, united and visible. We march because it is a political statement that we, as a community, will stand up for what is right.
I never thought I would be marching on the streets of Dublin because I am a scientist. But here we are.
On Saturday, 22nd April at 2 pm, I will be marching to ensure that science and evidence are part of our national policies, conversations and culture; and I will be marching for the wonderful, diverse scientific community that I’m proud to be a part of.