Last Saturday was Earth Day, and the planned March for Science that I have talked about previously. I went, dear readers, not as a marcher, but as a journalist.
Like many such marches that have taken place since January 20, this one came together through social media. April 22 was chosen, because that is Earth Day. Although the official website says that this was supposed to be non-political, that idea created a rift between scientists. Many didn’t want to attend, and presumably these people stayed home, because it ended up being very political. I’ve talked at length before about the Trump’s administration’s apparent disregard for science-based policy decisions, which people were marching against.
The Salt Lake March was one of other 600 that happened around the world on Saturday. The largest was in Washington D.C., where my favorite person (Bill Nye) headlined, along with Mona Hanna-Attisha, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, and Questlove.
Our keynote speaker was the University’s very own Mario Capecchi. Other than having a large street in the middle of campus named after him, Dr. Capecchi is known for winning the Nobel in Medicine in 2007 by figuring out how to use stem cells to “knockout” a gene.
At least 97% of people were there for the same reason according to a study– to encourage policies based on science. “I’m here to support science and fact, evidence based science and truth. I think they’re anti-science. … I think [marches] inspire people to com together, and make the point that this is very important to us, and that we want to be recognized and heard,” said Susan Michael, a physical therapist.
Another theme was to encourage young people to become scientists, despite the possibility of funding cuts. Alicia Shilder wished she could tell budding scientists to “charge ahead. Do not let this administration dampen any effort. We have to push ahead now.”
And now to my favorite signs.
One that caught my eye quoted scripture:
When asked about her sigh, Samantha Adams said, “I’m a faithful person, I’m an active member of the LDS Church, I’m also a graduate student at the University of Utah in occupational therapy. I think it’s really important to get the word out that you don’t have to be religious or scientific, that those two worlds can work together and compliment each other. You don’t have to be one or the other.”
Here are some of my favorite signs:
This was a very good dog. When asked about his sign, he replied by licking my nose.
Although I could not get a very good picture, my favorite by far were four feet tall homemade electrical resistors that people were carrying around.
Of course, there were many signs that only make sense if you’ve taken science classes:
Many of them included puns:
This one I thought was particularly depressing: