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22 April: Earth Day & the March for Science

Why is there a March for Science this Saturday? 22 April marks Earth Day and the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. This was the first time a voice was given to environmental consciousness and a call to action was made to support environmentally friendly and sustainable processes. In the face of climate change denialism and pending US budget cuts to the National Institute of Science, the 22 April has again been identified as a day to call for action!

Earth Day 2017 will host the global March for Science, where thousands are suspected to flock to the streets worldwide in support of science. While there are strong political elements associated with the march, people are joining the March for Science for many different reasons. Some are marching to raise awareness around Climate Change science; others are marching as a political statement in reaction to the US budget cuts to scientific research, and others will take part to promote a general awareness around the fundamental role of science in all sectors of society.

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The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation support this march and encourages all our staff, collaborators and supports to take part. As a scientific research institution, we conduct and rely on rigorous and innovative research to advance against the HIV and Tuberculosis epidemics, and other public health emergencies (some of which, such as malaria,  are a direct response to global warming). We need to find improved treatment and prevention options for our communities. Many of our projects are funded by the National Institute of Health and related US organisations, and our research and ability to be a cutting-edge research centre stand to be affected by these proposed budget cuts.

Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, says, “At this time in the world, innovation and research is key to changing the trajectory of public health. It is the worst sin of all to ignore good science. Let’s find new innovations, apply the science we’ve got, and work to really make a different to the face of public health!”

For those in Cape Town, the event details for the March for Science are as follows:

Date: Saturday, 22 April 2017
Time: 10:20-12:30
Meeting Point: Observatory Swimming Pool, Willow Rd, Observatory, Cape Town. The march will process to Station Rd, down Station Rd to Main Rd, and over to the Cape Town Science Centre where speeches will be made.
How to prepare: bring signs and wear green or science-related clothing.