Thousands of scientists and their supporters gathered around the world on Saturday for the March for Science, which is being hailed as a celebration of science to counter a growing disregard for scientific consensus.
In Washington, the March for Science kicked off around 10 a.m. and is being attended by science enthusiasts at the National Mall, many sporting white lab coats.
Marchers are seen carrying signs calling for funding for scientific research — “science is not an alternative fact,” the signs read.
The motivation to organize the March for Science, which was created out of a social media campaign, stemmed from Trump and some of his cabinet members delegitimatizing climate change and cutting federal science and research budgets. Others activists are upset over Trump casting shadows on topics such as vaccines, genetically modified organisms, and evolution.
According to the march’s website, the demonstration aims to reaffirm “the vital role science plays in our democracy.”
Organizers are hopeful the March for Science demonstrations will result in coordinated efforts aimed at persuading elected officials to adopt policies consistent with the scientific evidence on climate change, vaccines, and other issues.
“Science isn’t respected and it needs to be,” said Sarah Binkow, 22, a civil engineer who traveled from Michigan to attend the Washington rally.
“We are at a critical juncture. Science is under attack,” said Cara Santa Maria, one of the emcees at the four-hour rally, “The very idea of evidence and logic and reason is being threatened by individuals and interests with the power to do real harm.”
She continued to rally the crowd: “We’re gathered here today to fight for science. [The crowd cheered.] We’re gathered to fight for education. [Cheer.] To fight for knowledge. [Cheer.] And to fight for Planet Earth.” [Cheer.]
YouTube star Tyler DeWitt also attended the rally and appeared on stage to deliver the message that experts need to learn how to explain things in terms that a layperson can understand. “Ditch the jargon!” he said. “Make it understandable. Make people care. Talk to them, not at them. We cannot complain about slashed funding if we can’t tell taxpayers why science matters.”
The March for Science is the latest in a series of national anti-Trump rallies to protest the new administration’s policies.
Watch live footage of the March for Science Earth Day events taking place in Washington:
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 22, 2017
— Rush Holt (@RushHolt) April 22, 2017
— Amanda Arlington (@AKAcitizen) April 22, 2017
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