November 10, 2016
An internationally celebrated day to highlight the importance of science in and for society and that science, peace and development are interlinked
It is Day 2 after Election 2016 in the United States. Many people are still trying to process what just happened. On social media, I see scientists disappointed, angry, sad, and fearful for what the future holds for scientific research, development, and funding, especially with the federal agencies EPA, NASA, NOAA, USGS, etc. What scientists cannot lose sight of, and what we need to do even more of, is embrace our role as advocates, communicators, and educators.
This is why I want to call attention to World Science Day for Peace and Development. Established by UNESCO in 2001 and celebrated annually on November 10, World Science Day for Peace and Development “highlights the important role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives. By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.”
The 2016 World Science Day for Peace and Development is dedicated to the theme “Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums”. Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, has issued a formal statement about “why science centers and museums are so important — for capacity building, for advocacy, to send strong messages about the importance of science for sustainable development.” You can read her full statement online.
Ms. Bokova closes her statement with the following: “…I invite all of partners and governments to do everything to support, nurture and harness the full power of science museums and centres to shape a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.” Fellow scientists, it starts with us. Let’s not just think about our critically-important informal science education centers on this day but on every day, and let’s make intentional efforts to help the everyday citizen, kids through senior citizens (especially our elected government officials), understand the global impacts, need for and relevance of science.