Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world, and it is common to find people protesting, asking for a better quality of life. But this past Saturday, for the first time hundreds of people came out for science, showing that science is universal and without borders. This outpouring of support turned into the first March for Science in Mexican history.
An estimated 5,000 people came out for science, and not just in Mexico City. People participated also in other states of the country, including Puebla, Queretaro, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Baja California, Yucatan, Tabasco y Morelos, all of them speaking up to show their support for science.
The main objectives of the march were to ask the current government to practice science-based decision making, support scientific research, and allocate financial support to science, as well as to the public universities and research centers in Mexico, such as UNAM, IPN, UAM and CINVESTAV, among others.
During the March, it was common to see students, graduate students, scientist, professors, journalists, concerned citizens and even families supporting the movement. Despite the hot day, the contingent grew, attracting more participants as it made its way to El Zocalo, the center of Mexico City.
The March for Science showed us that science matters and is important not just to scientists, but to everyone, and has worldwide importance. As citizens, it is our right to have policy decisions based in science, not in myths and misinformation, as sadly happens in Mexico as well as in others parts of the world.
We marched, and now what comes next? We should continue defending the science and become more active participants in the decision making process to guarantee that the scientists are heard. If they are not, then we need to ask our politicians to listen.
Luis A. Ventura-Martinez is a 2016 Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellow.