March for Science Melbourne – 22 April 2017
The Royal Society of Victoria has been promoting scientific literacy, evidence-based decision making and the expansion of human knowledge through teaching and research since 1854. We are an independent, community-based membership organisation constituted of thoughtful human beings; scientists, engineers, industrialists, public servants, teachers, clinicians, parents, students and anyone else with a broad interest in the sciences, coming together to promote the development and application of sound knowledge for the benefit and progress of our planet and our species.
There has never been a more rapid rate of discovery that in our current age; we are finding new species, new planets, new treatments and cures for our ailments, and new technologies to improve our lives. We have lived with the conveniences and comforts that science and technology have provided to our remarkably inter-connected, traversable planet for many generations. A short decade after the introduction of smart phones, a short century after the introduction of trans-continental flight and electricity in our homes and workplaces, we take modern life for granted. Science has demonstrated the power to transform us.
While we promote the sciences to the entire community, we have a particular focus on improving the scientific literacy of Victorian primary and secondary school students, alarmed at the trend for a continuing, long-term decline in science and mathematics enrolments in Australian high schools and a chronic short-fall in availability of science teachers with science qualifications. We view science not just as an exciting and intriguing field of study and exploration, but as a vital toolkit for addressing many of the “killer problems” presented by life in the 21st century as our fast-growing population, industries and activities continue compete for resources with a diminished and increasingly compromised ecosphere. In a time of disruptive climate change, our species will face unprecedented challenges, and we will individually need all the capacities of our remarkable brains to successfully navigate the future together.
Many of our members have indicated their alarm at the recent tenor of domestic and global political debate and rhetoric, particularly where this foments uncertainty around the validity and integrity of scientists and the scientific process, apparently to suit ideological or commercial agendas before the interests of sound objective reasoning and evidence-based decision making. Consequently, we lend our support to the March for Science movement in Melbourne and join the organisers in calling for action in the following areas:
Universal Literacy: A well-informed community is essential to a free, democratic and successful society. We support education to promote broad public knowledge and discussion of scientific work. As professionals, parents and community-engaged volunteers, we enthusiastically contribute our time and expertise to helping children and students of all ages engage with the physical universe and biological world.
Open Communication: Publicly-funded scientists have a responsibility to communicate their research; public outreach and accessibility of scientific knowledge should be encouraged. Communication of scientific findings and their implications must not be suppressed.
Informed Policy: Public policy should be guided by peer-reviewed evidence and scientific consensus. Public policy must enable scientists to communicate their publicly-funded research results, and must support literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Stable Investment: A long-term, strategic approach to investment in scientific research and development is essential for driving true innovation. Government commitments to stable science funding policy will deliver solutions to our complex challenges, promoting prosperity for all.
Our members and friends will congregate at the Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne at 12:30pm on Saturday, 22nd April before joining the main march at the State Library of Victoria at 1:00pm. Please join us: register to attend below, and we’ll look out for you!
Remember to be prepared for Melbourne weather; bring a hat, bring a coat, wear good walking shoes and bring some drinking water. It will be a gentle walk through the City, but rallies are typically slow moving affairs and it may take a good hour to travel from the RSV to the State Library and on to Parliament, despite their close proximity to one another.
Contact for further comment:
Mike Flattley, CEO
(03) 9663 5259