Even if you can't make the March for Science, you can make a difference. Here's how.

Scientists are fed up. And on April 22, 2017 — Earth Day — they're taking their issues to the streets.

The March for Science is a global movement to show policymakers why allowing well-funded scientific research to help shape public policy is crucial in any thriving democracy.

"It's not only about scientists and politicians," say organizers, who've stressed that the event is nonpartisan. "It is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world."


Not everyone can make the trek to Washington, D.C., of course, but that's OK.

Here are 18 ways you can still make a big difference, even if you can't make it to the march itself:

1. Attend a local satellite march.

Although the official March for Science is in D.C., there are over 500 satellite marches taking place around the globe, many of which are in the U.S.

Image via Google Maps.

Try to make it to one nearby.

2. Don't see a satellite march near you? Start your own.

It's super easy, and it's not too late! You can register one in your own town on the march's website and invite friends to join. Every marcher matters.

3. March virtually.

Anywhere you have internet access, you can tune in to the march's livestream. Organizers are asking you to still register as a participant at the D.C. march, though, then follow along during the event on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Make a kick-ass sign for your yard.

Just because you won't be carrying it in the march doesn't mean it can't do its job attracting plenty of eyeballs in your community. (Here are some cool sign ideas if you need 'em.)

5. Spend time on Saturday reading, subscribing to, and sharing articles from science publications.

Scientific journalism is critical in keeping the public informed on recent breakthroughs, technologies, and studies. Outlets like Scientific American, National Geographic, New Scientist, and Cosmos (and many, many more) do a great job at keeping readers up to speed on the science stories that matter (so does Upworthy's own James Gaines). Journalists can't do their jobs and publications can't operate without engaged readers and subscribers.

6. Buy books that support real science.

If you buy a science book from the march (topics and genres vary greatly), all profits go toward supporting the march. Getting a good book to read while helping make the march a success is a win-win.

7. Share this powerful video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining why science is what helped make America great.

Science In America

Dear Facebook UniverseI offer this four-minute video on "Science in America" containing what may be the most important words I have ever spoken.As always, but especially these days, keep looking up.—Neil deGrasse Tyson

Posted by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tyson said the video contains maybe "the most important words [he has] ever spoken." It's definitely worth the watch.

8. Donate.

The march is completely volunteer-led. To help it run as smoothly and successfully as possible, funds are needed for things like event promotions and day-of operations. And while the march isn't technically a nonprofit yet because it just applied for C3 status in February, your donation will still be tax-deductible.

9. Know someone who is going to D.C. for the march? Chip in to help them cover gas or lodging.

Traveling can be expensive, after all.

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images.

10. Share the marcher pledge on your social media channels.

Let your friends and family read why well-funded and respected scientific research is so vital for democracy to keep thriving.

"We, the peaceful, passionate, and diverse members of the March for Science, pledge to work together to share and highlight the contributions of science, to work to make the practice of science more inclusive, accessible and welcoming so it can serve all of our communities, and to ensure that scientific evidence plays a pivotal role in setting policy in the future."

Get the rest of the pledge here.

11. Support teens and young people who love science.

The march wants people of all ages and walks of life to take part, but particularly young people. That's why it created a student outreach team aimed at bringing teenagers into its grassroots movement. Help elevate their voices on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

12. Buy a science-march-themed hat on Etsy.

They're adorable, they look ridiculously warm and cozy, and they might even nudge your IQ up a few pegs when you have one on.

They're a great conversation starter too, so when you're wearing it and get some questions, it provides the perfect opportunity to talk about the march and the importance of science.

If the "brain hat" isn't your style, maybe the "DNA-hat" is.

13. Take a few minutes to donate to the groups doing so much to keep science a priority on the national radar.

Groups like the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and The Sierra Club are some big ones doing important work. But smaller, more niche organizations — like Black Girls Code, for example — need our support too. Find the groups doing work in areas you're passionate about and, if you can afford to, send a few dollars their way.

14. Shop march merchandise.

All profits from the march's online store — selling shirts, pins, and more — goes toward the March for Science.

15. Do your leaders in Washington care about science? Find out, and then set a reminder on your calendar to make sure to vote!

Science spans many different topics and political issues, of course. But, if you do a little digging, you can find out where your senators and representatives stand on issues like climate change, wildlife conservation, and funding for scientific research.

The League of Conservation Voters, for instance, tracks how your leaders have voted when it comes to protecting the Earth.

16. Find a cool science project to sponsor on DonorsChoose.

DonorsChoose — a platform where educators (much of the time in underserved communities) can crowdfund projects or raise funds for new learning tools in their classrooms — has many fantastic science initiatives that could use your help. Help students in Los Angeles get a Lego Mindstorms Robotics kit or provide students in Louisiana with materials they need to learn about a variety of STEM fields, and help budding young scientists stay curious.

17. Fight for local solutions to scientific or environmental problems in your own backyard.

In Maryland, for example, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore created Mr. Trash Wheel and his friend Professor Trash Wheel (no relation) — two hilarious-looking contraptions that use the water currents and some old school technologies to help keep Baltimore's Inner Harbor garbage-free.

18. Even if you're stuck in front of a computer screen for the day, you can use the #MarchForScience hashtag.

Share your ideas, photos, and messages of support using the hashtag across social media and make sure all your friends and family know where you stand when it comes to science.

No matter where you are on the globe this Earth Day, you can make a difference when it comes to standing up for science.

After all, it's important to remember "There is no Planet B."

Correction 4/21/2017: The March for Science is on April 22, 2017, not 2016, as an earlier version of this article stated.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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