Thousands of scientists and supporters hit the streets in Southern California and elsewhere around the U.S. and the world on Saturday for the March for Science, intended to promote science and defend it from attacks and proposed budget cuts.
Scientists involved in the march say they’re anxious about political and public rejection of established science such as climate change and the safety of vaccines.
The march also comes on the 47th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual
observance focusing on environmental and climate literacy that is celebrated
in nearly 200 countries.
Like many of those who spoke out Saturday, Jet Propulsion Laboratory electrical engineer Christophe Basset of Altadena said he was concerned about the health of the sciences under President Donald Trump.
“We’re all worried with the new administration,” said Bassett, who attended the Pasadena rally with his wife, fellow JPL scientist Kari Lewis, and their children Eric, 6, and Marie, 8. “They’re proposing to cut earth science, and this whole ‘alternative facts’ thing.”
Christophe Bassett’s sign, adorned with the electrical symbols for resistors and transformers, stated, “We are not resistors. We are transformers.”
In an Earth Day statement, President Donald Trump said that his administration is “committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes and open spaces and to protecting endangered species.”
But that won’t be done, he said, in a way that harms “working families” and he said the government is “reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment.”
In Pasadena, home to prestigious institutions such as Caltech and the Huntington Medical Research Institute in addition to NASA’s JPL, science has a special place in people’s hearts, Mayor Terry Tornek said following the 1.5-mile march.
Pasadena is “a city of science,” the mayor said to cheers. “Science is really baked into the culture of this city.”
“Science everywhere promotes the search for object truth, and in a contentious world with lots of divergent points of view, we desperately need that truth,” Tornek said.
In Orange County, about 1,000 people marched in downtown Fullerton. Some held signs saying “Dump Trump” and “Make Science Great Again.” Protestors shouted “Science not silence” as they made their way along the march route.
Steve Besneatte, an AT&T engineer, carried a sign that read “Make America Smart Again. Read.”
“It’s time to make politicians and everyday people aware of the science in our lives and the crisis we’re facing,” he said.
“We want to see change. This is what makes things change: being visible,” said Gill Kanel of Fullerton, who has a machine shop specializing in aerospace and medical products.
Kanel held a sign that read “In science we trust.” He stood on the corner of Commonwealth and Highland,…