Evidence-based knowledge, not views and opinions, should form the basis for the development of society. This is the key message that will be communicated the world over on Saturday 22 April, when tens of thousands of people in more than 400 cities will take to the streets in the March for Science. The initiative has no political or religious associations and originates in the USA, where researchers and the public are keen to highlight the importance of science.
Vattenfall supports the march and has also endorsed an op-ed article that will be published on Saturday 22 April, which highlights the links between science and a democratic society. The article warns of the dangers of attributing equal importance to opinions and facts in the public debate, which results in decisions being taken on the basis of public opinion rather than evidence-based science.
"It's important that society champions science and follows scientific advice, for instance on how we should look after the only world we have, especially in this age of 'alternative facts'," says Karl Bergman, Head of Research & Development at Vattenfall..
He emphasises that science is an important factor in the development of our world and therefore affects us all.
"The world is advancing: we are living longer, on the whole our standard of living is ever better and new technology is creating new opportunities. This applies to all areas of science: natural sciences, engineering and social sciences, technology, medicine, humanities and mathematics, where progress derives from new knowledge. Not something we often think about when we're hunched over our smartphones, for example, which, after all, are based on knowledge," says Bergman.
Climate change engages
For Vattenfall, climate change is a key issue, and Bergman is concerned that scientific evidence of the correlation between CO2 emissions and the greenhouse effect is not being taken seriously.
"Like most people, we are concerned about climate change. We are very worried, for example, that the US is considering withdrawing from the environmental undertakings it made at the climate conference in Marrakesh. This concern is compounded by the fact that President Trump has appointed a climate sceptic as head of the US equivalent of Sweden's Environmental Protection Agency, Naturvårdsverket," says Bergman
In Sweden, marches are due to take place in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Uppsala, amongst others.
In Germany, marches will take place amongst others in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, in the UK amongst others in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, in the Netherlands in Amsterdam and Maastricht, in Denmark in Århus and in Finland in Helsinki.