The march itself has sparked a lot of discussions and a surprising (at least to me) amount of strong feelings; is it the right way for science to communicate, is it okay for scientists to protest, what happens if people all show up in white lab coats (what the 500 women scientist group plans to wear), that would be horrible, we can't have scientists identifying themselves as scientists... (Really?!?!?)
So what does one scientist do? Well as always it is up to the individual. Marching, public speaking, public engagement in general is a very personal thing, and it's okay that perhaps not everyone is open to it.
Personally I see the march as a way to show my support for the thing I love, science. In a utopia, I would have never ending funding for my science. I could put up as many satellites, balloons, rockets, ground instrumentation as my heart desired. I could go to conferences at the drop of a hat and hide away in coffee shops when some coding needed to get done. I would never again have to write a proposal or a paper. When my science provides new insights for how we live and how it affects our technology, I would be able to go to my representatives, or the president, and be heard and have my advice taken... but unfortunately I am not Elon Musk, nor Elon Musk rich. So I am dependent on science funding, and good science informing policy, and both are solidly in the realm of politics. In my 8th grade civics class it was ingrained that our most important job as an American citizen was to vote, and our second most important job was to be involved in politics that matter to us and affect our lives. Science is something that matters greatly to me and affects my, and really everyones life. So this matters, and thus I see it as my civic duty to stand up for science and march.
What the SPA Advocacy committee decided to do was write a commentary. We hope that this commentary will encourage our colleagues to become involved. Marching this Earth day is a great place to start; hang out with like minded people, and add your voice to the crowd. But hopefully it will not be the end of your engagement. Getting involved can take an incredibly small amount of time and have a huge impact. There are lots of resources through AGU, AAAS, and other institutions about how to get involved and have a effective message. Often your academic institution, company, or professional community will have people to help you, all you have to do is ask.
Of course there is the obvious steps of speaking with and/or writing your representative, both state and federal. But something that comes up time and time again is that we shouldn't just stop there. Make sure to talk with your local representatives, your mayor, your local school board, and your neighbors. We often state how science is a global endeavor, which it is. But science is also local. Scientists may not be as visible around town as the local businessmen and women, but we help provide jobs and support the community (sometimes to our own financial and professional stagnation) . Our findings inform policy like the Chesapeake Bay clean up efforts. New technology is developed as we find new materials and discoveries. Science helps tell us what the weather will be like this weekend. Science can be incredibly local, especially if you are looking for new species of bugs in your own backyard.
So whether you march tomorrow or not, I hope you get involved and support those who do.