Tim Roberts | Science on the front foot to trump a post-truth world

Athena goddess of wisdom.

Athena goddess of wisdom.

Spurred on by the reporting of deletion of all references to climate change from the White House website, a world-wide movement for scientists to speak out for science was sparked in the US in January 2017. 

At last count, about 481 cities, including Sydney, will hold a March for Science on April 22. In Newcastle we are hosting a Forum for Science “Science not Silence” on April 20 at Newcastle Museum before taking part in the Sydney march on Saturday. Join us in a public discussion about the importance of science in decision-making, public policy, job creation and future prosperity.

The forum and the March for Science demonstrates our passion for science and sounds a call to support and safeguard the scientific community and the value of evidence over opinion, intuition and assertion. 

We marvel at the practical inventions that have evolved from Australian scientific research – Wi-Fi, plastic bank notes, cochlear implants, Google maps, black box flight recorder, permaculture, world’s first anti-cancer vaccine, to name but a few – and yet we are facing political denial of scientific facts, the abolition of key science-focused national bodies such as the Climate Commission and the National Water Commission, and record low government funding for research and development, including deep cuts to CSIRO. 

It’s time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted. The relationship between science and democracy must not continue to erode. The Newcastle Forum for Science will take science out of the laboratory and share it with the public in an effort to encourage political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the interest of the present public, and the future public – our grandchildren. 

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, University of Newcastle