March for Science Draws Hundreds in Perth

The March for Science kicked off on Saturday, with rallies held in most of the Australian capitals and many cities around the world.

The Perth rally attracted crowds of hundreds of people, as well as prominent speakers such as ex-Premier of WA Carmen Lawrence, and Professor Lyn Beazley, the ex-Chief Scientist of WA.

The marches, held worldwide, were inspired as a response to the rise of ‘alternative facts’ and US President Donald Trump’s cuts to scientific departments.

Ms Lawrence called on scientists to put greater effort into communicating with the public, and explaining what science does for people and why it is important.

“It requires, as I put it, ‘scientist citizens’, people who are prepared to get involved, to communicate, and to, if not individually at least collectively ensure that the best science is made available to the community, for the public good” she said.

“I hope that the young scientists particularly will see how important it is to translate their work in a form that makes it available to the wider community and to policy makers”.

She also spoke on the changing dynamic science is having in the broader community, with many leaders, such as President Trump, refusing to accept science as valid.

“There is a risk that its influence will be reduced in the face of ideology and misinformation”

Many of her comments, including those about scientists needing to learn to communicate better with the general public, were echoed by Professor Beazley.

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