Thousands gathered today around the world for the March for Science to celebrate the International Mother Earth Day and fight against “alternative truths.” Scientists, engineers, researchers and science supporters marched to raise awareness about important issues that concern the scientific community such as climate change and public funding for science.
The rally was being organized since January 2017. It was planned to be nonpartisan, though some saw it as a way to challenge Trump’s views and actions toward climate change and science.
“The science community faces the most anti-science budget proposed by a U.S. Administration in over 30 years. If enacted, the immediate and long-term repercussions to prosperity, health, and safety of Americans could be severe,” the March for Science organizers wrote in a statement.
The March for Science could not come at a more consequential moment
The Earth Day Network decided to start organizing the March for Science soon after they saw the reaction to the Women’s March in January, according to Kathleen Rogers, president of the advocacy organization. They didn’t want to make the march political, but something that would enhance the value and the integrity of science.
Rush Holt, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the march is not an “orchestrated political attack.” He said it is a “cry” by scientists because they have been taken for granted for so long, though everyone knows that science is important in every aspect of life. Valerie Aquino, co-chair of the National March for Science, said that people are worried about the fact that scientific integrity is being eroded. There is a sense of urgency to defend science.
However, Mutale Nkonde, the co-chair of the March for Science in New York City, said that about 100 organizations and 2,500 people involved in the march in New York had expressed their rejection of Trump’s proposed cuts to the EPA and the National Endowment for the Arts. According to them, he is diminishing the importance of science and arts. A lot of scientists working in the U.S. also expressed their frustration over the proposed immigration ban to seven muslim-majority countries because they would’ve been affected by it.
Organizers expected 600 Marches for Science worldwide
The largest movement, as it was anticipated, took place in Washington D.C. Thousands reunited there though there was a wet weather. There was a group of speakers –including educator and television personality Bill Nye- before the crowd advanced through the streets of the city.
Kimberly Fisher -a 51-year-old librarian from North Carolina- traveled to assist to the march in Washington with her daughter. She said that it was important to recognize how fundamental science is for her, her family and the generations to come.
In New York City, people began marching at Central Park to continue passing by the Trump Tower to end near Times Square.
“I don’t want to say it’s just the Trump administration,” Said Elle Barnes a 23-year-old Ph.D. student at Fordham University “Science can be bipartisan. But it’s really important to digest what you hear in the news and to think critically about it.”
Other notable rallies occurred in Toronto, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Boston, Trinidad, Berlin, and Tokyo. According to the organizers, there were about 600 satellite demonstrations, most of them in the U.S.
Though the Trump administration denies science, people believe in it
Advocates say science is under attack lately. President Trump’ Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt doesn’t seem to accept that human actions are accelerating climate change. According to recognized astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, this is a recipe for dismantling democracy. The scientific community is alarmed by the recent actions taken by the administration because they are diminishing the role of objective science in American life.
However, though people has lost trust in many public institutions over the last century, science has not suffered an erosion of the public confidence. In fact, several surveys assure that people trust in science more than they trust the Congress and the executive branch. They trust scientists more than they trust the press, CEO of large enterprises and even more than organized religion.
“The issue of climate change isn’t about what you know,” said Dan Kahan, a professor of psychology and law at Yale and a member of the university’s Cultural Cognition Project. “It’s about who you are.”
He said that people have a psychological tendency to perpetuate their beliefs and to reject anything that contradicts some of their fundamental beliefs. Kahan said that people open to the new scientific truths more about curiosity than because of knowledge.
Marcia McNutts, an American geophysicist and president of the National Academy of Sciences, says that she is not worried about the crisis of science because science is about the unbiased search for truth. That is what she expect people can get from the March for Science.