March for Science started in the United States of America as a response to the moves of the newly elected Trump administration aimed to restrict scientific knowledge especially regarding climate change for the benefit of corporations which will be the most affected by the cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. At its beginnings, it was a broad call for the people to stand for science against Trump’s repression of scientific knowledge and information blackout on climate change.
As the impacts of Trump’s policies which blatantly deny climate change will directly affect not only the United States, the biggest historical carbon emitter, but the entire world as well, March for Science soon grew into a global movement of people to defend science as an indispensable tool for society building and policy making.
In the Philippines, scientists, environmentalists, and grassroots organizations from various sectors will march on Earth Day 2017 to express solidarity for the global movement as well as advocate for local issues and call for a science and technology sector that will genuinely serve the interests of the majority.
The March for Science, Environment, and the People is a nationwide campaign that seeks to showcase how the struggle for the development of science and technology is intertwined with that of the environment and of the people: how science and technology can provide concrete solutions for the real issues faced by the Filipino people.
March for Science!
Science and technology (S&T) has a vital role as a catalyst for national progress and development especially in a developing country where innovations in S&T can both provide immediate relief to the people as well as create long term solutions that address their issues at its roots. To enable S&T to contribute to genuine national progress, it needs to be developed under a comprehensive plan that is geared towards addressing domestic needs.
In the Philippines, science and technology was historically undertaken not as an instrument for national development but as a means to answer foreign demands. Content with basic science that is able to follow instructions to use technology developed by other countries, Philippine S&T has been stunted by neglect and non-prioritization as reflected in many programs and policies that restrict and actively obstruct its development. This lead our local S&T to be underdeveloped and backward in the face of global scientific advancement.
The backward and stunted state of S&T in the Philippines is a manifestation of the lack of industries in the country, a situation which does not encourage the development of S&T. Unable to process our own products for domestic use, we are bound to the export of raw materials and import of finished products to meet our demands.
The little technology and modernization we do have is confined to city centers, leaving it unavailable to a large number of people especially farmers in the rural areas who can use technology for agricultural modernization.
Our country lacks a comprehensive plan for the science and technology sector that includes research and development (R&D) as one of its primary thrusts. Without R&D, we are incapable of developing new technologies or improving on existing ones, and we are limited to our ability to imitate emerging technology from other countries.
This lack of support for S&T is one of the reasons why more and more scientists choose to work abroad where they are secured of their jobs and welfare. The few who stay are riddled with problems such as contractualization, no tenurial security, absence of welfare and benefits, and others.
Science is a powerful tool that can cut both ways; while scientific and technological advance can be used for national development, it can also be used to repress it. There is need to identify who stands to benefit from the science we are marching for.
We are marching for the development of a science and technology sector geared towards national industrialization that will address domestic needs and will benefit the majority of the Filipino people. Contrary to serving merely as a ‘technological fix’, the development of this type of S&T will aid in finding solutions to issues of the environment and of the people.
March for the Environment!
The issue of the environment is an issue of science and technology. We fail to maximize our country’s vast natural resources such as water, minerals and ores, varied energy sources, and others, because we do not have the means to utilize them. For example, mineral production in the Philippines remains bound to the extraction phase as we lack industries to process minerals to end products.
The plunder of the biggest corporations and countries on global natural resources and the environment adds to the vulnerability we already face as a small developing country. Despite the presence of international agreements that seek to minimize the effects of climate change, we are witness to business as usual levels of fossil fuel consumption. In the Philippines, the increased use of pollutive energy sources such as coal and the proposed use of the unstable and potentially harmful Bataan Nuclear Power Plant are examples of the biggest environmental issues we face.
Our primitive science and technology also aggravates our inability to adapt to climate change. With the continuing plunder of natural resources and without the capacity to create or use technologies that increase our adaptability and resiliency in the face of major disasters, we are held even more vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
March for the People!
The Filipino people are burdened by many issues that are manifestations of the lack of industries coupled with the backward and stunted state of S&T. A developed S&T can serve as a backbone towards the solution of the people’s issues. National industrialization will create industries for domestic needs, in turn producing jobs and products which the people need.
A science and technology sector that is developed under a comprehensive plan geared towards national industrialization will help address the long standing issues faced by the people. More than developing on S&T for its own sake, this type of science and technology can genuinely serve in the interests of the people.
Unite the broadest range of scientists, environmentalists, workers, farmers, students, and other sectors, to call for environmental justice and greater support to a science and technology that will genuinely serve the interests of the people!
March with us!
This event is part of the March for Science international movement.