Here’s What’s Happening
- The March for Science took place in Washington, DC, on Earth Day Saturday amid growing concerns over the Trump administration's policies.
- Satellite marches also took place in 600 cities on six continents.
- The scientific community was divided over just how political the protests should be. Some believed the march should strive to be nonpartisan, partly due to federal funding concerns, but others said scientists had a moral duty to speak out against a perceived hostility to evidence-based research.
Researchers in Antarctica tweeted their support for the march.
March for Science protests reached all seven continents Saturday, with scientists at Neumeyer Station, a German research outpost in Antarctica, tweeting their solidarity.
President Donald Trump sent mixed Earth Day messages.
In an initial tweet marking Earth Day Saturday, Trump said his administration is committed to environmental "preservation."
Democrats, meanwhile, took the opportunity to voice their criticism of the Trump administration's environmental policies, and several prominent lawmakers even made appearances at their home state marches.
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, tweeted that "science is science."
Democrats, meanwhile, took the opportunity to voice their criticism of the Trump administration’s environmental policies.
Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono mocked the White House by contrasting "objective science" with "alternative facts."
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet sent out a series of tweets calling for the Trump administration to continue funding research into climate change.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin spoke at a March for Science rally in his home state of Illinois.
Senator Tom Udall, of New Mexico, joined a rally in Santa Fe.
US Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, also joined the marchers.
The March for Science hits San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — "Science is not a liberal conspiracy," read one of the more popular T-shirts on display the March for Science in San Francisco on Saturday. But there was little doubt that this city is a center for the liberal resistance to President Donald Trump's proposed cuts for science funding.
The event kicked off with speeches from local Democratic politicians including Rep. Jerry McNerny, a former engineer, and San Francisco supervisor Jeff Sheehy, a veteran AIDS activist who is HIV-positive.
"I'd be dead without science," Sheehy told the crowd.
The headline act, however, was Adam Savage, host of Mythbusters, who introduced himself as a guy with no science qualifications beyond a high school diploma, and then delivered a speech that got the scientists cheering.
"We push ourselves to the edge of what is known," he said. "We are scientists."
DC organizers: The march is over, but the movement has just begun
WASHINGTON—Demonstrators with posters and lab coats thronged the Mall and filled Constitution Avenue for the March For Science event Saturday.
The march reached the Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol just after 3 p.m.
Banner carriers at the front of the march led chants including, "This is what a scientist looks like" and later, "One nation underfunded."
Along the way, the group passed a pro-life demonstrator with signs and a megaphone, but ignored him and walked on.
All along the rainy path of the march, supporters dealt with rain and dodged wayward umbrellas, cheering all the while.
At the end of the march, with the Capitol behind them, the organizers told the gathering that the march was over, but that the movement was just beginning.
Then they offered to recycle everyone's signs.
Trump releases statement on Earth Day — but makes no mention of March for Science (or climate change)
From the White House:
Our Nation is blessed with abundant natural resources and awe-inspiring beauty. Americans are rightly grateful for these God-given gifts and have an obligation to safeguard them for future generations. My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species.
Economic growth enhances environmental protection. We can and must protect our environment without harming America's working families. That is why my Administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment.
Rigorous science is critical to my Administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.
This April 22nd, as we observe Earth Day, I hope that our Nation can come together to give thanks for the land we all love and call home.
Thousands march for science in New York City
MANHATTAN — New York City's March for Science began around 10:30 a.m. ET with a series of enthusiastic speeches about the power of science and technology.
Many of the speakers were kids, including members from Black Girls Code and a 10-year-old boy who performed a science rap ("Science is awesome!"). Others were cancer survivors.
The innocuous speeches made for a bizarre juxtaposition with some of the more sharply political members of the crowd, holding humorous and sometimes cutting signs about the president's hair, tweets, intellect, and policies.
After about an hour of speeches, the actual marching began, when large speakers blared the theme of — what else — Star Wars.
As the crowd pushed a half block south, to the Trump International Hotel and Tower, some stopped to chant, "Shame! Shame!", while others raised signs in favor of STEM education, wolves, facts, and truth.
Many of the signs were too nerdy for this reporter to understand. The soundtrack switched to "Mr. Roboto."
The crowd marched slowly and peacefully south about 20 blocks, to the edge of Times Square, under a light drizzling of rain.
Some then merged seamlessly into the march for a "Car Free NYC," which continued south to Union Square.
—Kelly Oakes and Ikran Dahir
DC March for Science gets underway
WASHINGTON — Despite the rainy morning in DC, scientists and science supporters are gathering at the National Monument in droves.
They have brought signs, lab coats, and hats patterned in the coils of the brain. They brought their kids — who have their own signs — and their dogs. One woman showed up in scrubs.
The speeches have begun, delivered to a large crowd in front of the stage, but people are still queuing in a line that spans at least a block to enter the area.
Huge march underway in London
BuzzFeed science editor Kelly Oakes is at the London March for Science, which has started to wind its way through the city.
She is speaking to those marching about why they have turned out and spotted Dr Who actor Peter Capaldi among them.
"Science is vital. At a time when ignorance is more fashionable than intelligence it's important," Capaldi told BuzzFeed News.
Follow Kelly on Twitter for all the latest.
Marches beginning in cities and towns across Europe
March for Science events are beginning to start in earnest in European cities.
Thousands of people are expected to turn out for events in the UK, Germany, Spain, and many other countries in Europe.
These are some of the cities who have taken part already:
When Story Sylwester set up a Facebook group five days after Donald Trump's inauguration as US president, she didn't intend to organise a march on parliament, she just knew she had to do something.
But today thanks to the efforts of Sylwester and dozens of other volunteers around the UK, thousands of people are expected to march in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Bristol in support of science. They join thousands more scientists at over 400 satellite marches around the world, as well as at the main event in Washington, DC.
Sylwester is originally from the US and moved to the UK to do an MSc in paleopathology (looking at bones for evidence of disease) at Durham University. Seeing events in the US unfold from across the pond – a short-lived order preventing US Department of Agriculture employees communicating science to the public, for example, or Trump appointing a new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency who's expressed doubts that humans are causing global warming – she needed to feel like she was taking action, she says.
"I was very excited that a movement for science was happening. It occurred to me that if I wanted to go to a march, then it might be good to just start a group myself," she tells BuzzFeed News. "I wasn't intending, originally, to take a role in the planning of our London march.
"I've never done anything like this before."
As well as standing in solidarity with fellow scientists in the US and celebrating the positives of science at a time when experts are feeling increasingly ignored, UK scientists say they are marching to highlighting local issues – including how Brexit is affecting their labs and how important science is for the UK economy.
March for Science protest already takes place in Australia
Thousands of people have already participated in the March for Science in several cities and towns in Australia.
Crowds gathered in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Brisbane, and Townsville as part of the inaugural march, the ABC reported.
Speaking at the Sydney march, Professor Stuart Khan, one of the organizers, said: "The gaps that we see between what science tells us and what we actually see being translated into policy is very large, particularly when you look at things like climate change and the Great Barrier Reef.
"We're calling on politicians to make laws that are based on evidence that are appropriate for our future … Australians want to understand how science and how evidence is being incorporated into policy.
"Disease, famine, communicable disease, pollution of the ocean, climate change, all of these challenges are addressable by science."
Scientists preparing to March on Washington, DC, on Earth Day
Scientists and their supporters were preparing to march in Washington, DC, and cities around the world on Saturday to stand up for reason and facts amid what they say is a hostile attitude and actions from the new Trump administration.
First dreamed up on the day President Donald Trump was sworn into office, the March for Science, which coincides with Earth Day, is expected to be the largest ever public gathering of scientists. More than 600 satellite demonstrations are scheduled to take place globally, according to the March for Science website.
"People are denying the facts of science in the world's most influential economy," scientist and television host Bill Nye, who is one of the march's leaders, told BuzzFeed News. "We're marching to remind everybody of how much science serves you, a person, as a citizen in our society."
Since his inauguration, Trump has taken a number of steps that scientists have found alarming. The president, who has repeatedly called climate change a hoax, appointed climate change-denier Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and has given mixed signals about whether he will withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Deal. Trump has also signed an executive order that starts a review that halts the EPA's plan to limit power plants burning coal. He has also proposed a budget that would slash funding for biomedical research and public health agencies.
The March for Science, which hopes to replicate the success of the Women's March on Washington, now has nearly 2 million supporters across social media platforms, more than 100 scientific groups signed on as partners, and 100,000 pledged volunteers.
"The March for Science is a global movement," said March for Science satellite organizer Kishore Hari in a statement. "The number of marches is remarkable and a reflection of how important this effort is."
As well as standing in solidarity with fellow scientists in the US and celebrating the role of science in daily life at a time when experts are feeling increasingly ignored, British scientists told BuzzFeed News they would march on Saturday in order to highlight local issues – including how Brexit is affecting their labs and how important science is for the UK economy.
However, the demonstrations have also divided the scientific community. Some argue that organizers aren't doing enough to politicize the march, while others contend it is potentially fatal to science to politicize it at all, especially when the federal government funds so much scientific research.
"People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world," the March for Science group wrote on their website. "New policies threaten to further restrict scientists' ability to research and communicate their findings."
There has also been criticism that march organizers haven't done enough to represent the diversity in the scientific community.
The march has addressed this in part by adding prominent speakers who are scientists and advocates for marginalized groups, including Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who first exposed dangerous lead poisoning among the mostly poor black kids in Flint, Michigan, and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a biologist and advocate for Latinos in science. They've also joined with several other partners, such as the National Center for Trans Equality and the National Society of Black Physicists. But some members of the scientific community who have felt excluded since the march's inception have decided, in the end, to sit it out.
The Washington march will begin with a series of speeches from prominent scientists, including climate scientist Michael Mann and astronaut Leland Melvin.
—David Mack and Azeen Ghorayshi