Advocates fan out in global show of support for science
- Author: Joanne Flowers Apr 23, 2017,
Apr 23, 2017, 8:00
Science advocate Katie Gibbs said she felt like she was returning a favour.
Trump's budget proposal, unveiled in March, outlined $54 billion in cuts across government programs to make way for an increase in defense spending.
That march paved the way for the advocacy organization that she now heads up, Evidence for Democracy.
Thousands of people joined a global March for Science on Saturday with Washington the epicenter of a movement to fight against what many see as an "assault on facts" by populist politicians.
Gibbs said that when Canadian scientists felt threatened, they got a lot of support from their US counterparts. "I love animals and want parks to stay around for years to come", he said. "We need thinkers not deniers", read one banner.
"When do we want them? So now, it's our turn to return the favour to them".
Organisers portrayed the march as political but not partisan, promoting the understanding of science as well as defending it from various attacks, including proposed USA government budget cuts under President Donald Trump, such as a 20% cut at the National Institute of Health. And we've gone from there to a society where. our officials and representatives belittle science and they belittle intelligence. "So what's happening in the States right now echoes where we were five years ago".
He added: "So, we're shooting ourselves in the foot in many ways if we go down that sort of route". "The truth is we should have been marching for science 30 years ago, 20 years, 10 years ago", said co-organizer and public health researcher Caroline Weinberg.
"In the response to this absurdity lies cause for hope", Paul Hanle, chief executive officer of Climate Central, an independent organisation of scientists and journalists, wrote in an op-ed this week.
"We need to invest in people and the environment", he said. Speakers noted that President Trump was in the White House nearby, having cancelled a weekend in New Jersey. The event's website describes itself as "the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies and governments".
The Commons Science and Technology Committee this month stressed the importance of allowing scientists to come to the United Kingdom after the country leaves the EU.
Satellite marches were planned nationwide in cities big and small, including Auburn, Ala., Valdosta, Ga., Honolulu, Clearwater, Fla., Cleveland, Dallas, and Green Bay, Wis., and at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
"I fear that we're not going to have the planet that you and I grew up on unless we find new ways to make this earth as livable as possible for as long as we can", Shah said.
"It's important to show this administration that we care about facts", said Chris Taylor, 24, who was part of an early crowd of about 2,000 who gathered on the Mall for teach-ins on topics like climate change, water quality and sustainable food.
"It's killing our fish, we have flooding in our communities, we have a rise of environmental diseases", said Cordie Aziz, an American activist involved in plastics recycling.
"If this president has his way, science is in danger but I think there will be a lot of resistance from Congress", said Elisabeth Johnston, a retired biologist. "It's been frustrating to watch as certain forces in our society try to squelch science or their refusal to believe in it or propose alternative realities and facts - alternative facts, whatever that (expletive) is".