I took part in the "Meet a Scientist" portion of the festivities. Carrying around my lion skull instead of a protest poster was a great conversation starter. I talked to a lot of people about conservation, lions, bones, genetics, graduate school, etc. I passed my card out to teachers who were interested in having scientists come talk to their students and ended up having a great conversation about Conservation Genetics with someone who said they had never heard of it before. It was exhausting but I had a lot of fun.
Once upon a time, scientists had faith in their president and government. They believed they were advocates of progress and defenders of the planet. These days, massive cuts to funding, freezes in government agencies employing scientists, and attacks on facts have caused a lot of doubt in our government and it's relationship with science.
Yesterday was Earth Day and thousands of scientists WORLDWIDE marched to show solidarity for the importance of science. I attended the Bryan/College Station March for Science which was small but did a great job of including the local community. As one of the largest research universities in the United States, Texas A&M University does a lot of ground breaking research but most of the community probably doesn't know much about it unless they are directly associated with it in some way. After the march we had a Science Town Hall. There were science demos, the opportunity to "Meet a Scientist" and talks on how science is a part of everyone's life.
I think our little event was a success. And, as for the marches around the globe, I don't know how much it will effect policy, but it got people excited about science. And support from the public is just as crucial to policy as support from politicians, as one can lead to the other.
I am a biologist and my life is crap!