SCIENCE
04/23/2017 03:03 am ET Updated Apr 24, 2017

Antarctic Researchers Face Bitter Cold To Support The March For Science

Scientists from the North and South poles joined the global movement.

Some demonstrators who came out for the March for Science protests on Saturday faced rain and sloppy weather. Others faced elements much more severe.

A team of German researchers showed their support for the pro-science protests by enduring below-freezing temperatures outside of their research lab in Antarctica on Saturday.

The researchers, who are with the Alfred Wegener Institute, are spending the upcoming Antarctic winter at the institute’s Neumayer III research station. They took the photo below as a show of solidarity with protestors around the world and included a sign with a quote by Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist who discovered the elements radium and polonium.

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.”

AWI serves as a year-round lab where researchers observe climate change and study meteorology and atmospheric chemistry.

Scientists with the AWI also joined the demonstration from other locations, including aboard Polarstern, their research vessel in Bremerhaven, Germany, from their larger research vessel Heincke and from their French-German research base in the Arctic.

Karin Lochte, the director of the institute and a climate change specialist, spoke out against manipulative anti-science “populist movements” in a statement announcing support for the March for Science protests.

“In numerous countries around the globe, populist movements are currently manipulating the facts to support their own views and goals,” Lochte said. “’Undesirable’ research is being hampered and good science is being called into question ― a trend that could seriously jeopardize important achievements like the Paris Agreement.”

Lochte said that “when scientific findings are disputed at higher influential political levels,” it may lead to the public losing faith in science altogether. 

AWI’s research, which has shown that climate change is affecting the Arctic and Antarctic, is also in danger.

“These are the facts that we have to take seriously,” Lochte said. “It is vital that the scientific community remains a dependable, trustworthy and independent source of information to guide many of society’s most important decisions.”

“That’s something we all have to fight for,” she added. “As researchers and as citizens.”

CORRECTION: This article previously misidentified Marie Curie as a Pulitzer Prize winner.

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