Why I March

When I was sixteen years old, I came down with a fever.

So exhausted, I could barely lift my head.

“This isn’t a cold,” my mother said,

Half-carrying me to the car.

I march for the radiologist

who analyzed my x-rays

And the physician that diagnosed me with pneumonia

And the pharmacist that filled my prescription for an

Antibiotic that might not exist if Alexander Fleming had not discovered

Penicillin,

Because I had an infection that just decades earlier could have killed me

But science helped me reclaim my lungs.

When I was eighteen years old, I lost my great grandmother.

From the photos I have, I know her

Favorite color

was red.

A slideshow played at her funeral.

I march for the physicists

Who studied lenses

and light

And the chemists

Who studied the properties of thousands of compounds

So the fathers of photography could learn to capture images of

Real life,

Leading to the invention of the modern-day

Camera,

Because I have pictures

Of me and my great grandmother,

Treasured photographs made possible by a

Legacy of scientific discovery.

I march for the computer programmers who invented Short Message Service,

Because when my dad decided to take his own life

I instantly received his last text message,

And I march for Alexander Graham Bell, the man who invented the telephone,

Because when I read, “I love you, sweetie. Goodbye,” I could call 9–1–1,

And I march for the geographers who create maps

And the software developers working at Google

Because when the 9–1–1 operator asked me what my dad’s address was and in my hysterical Panic,

I could not remember where he lived,

She used Google maps to find him,

And I march for Heinrich Hertz, who discovered radio waves,

Because without radio communication

The police would not have arrived at my dad’s home in time

And I march for the emergency medical team

that rescued him,

And the nurses

who cared for him,

And the doctors

who did not give up.

I march for the science that saved my father’s life.

I march for curiosity-driven science.

I march for the botanists who discovered a compound in the Pacific yew tree

that led to a new chemotherapy

medication,

The ecologists who discovered that a hormone found in platypus

venom could help cure

type 2 diabetes,

And I march for the researchers who believe that by studying

the regenerative capacity

of the axolotl

we might someday unlock

the key

to cellular regeneration.

Who knows how many fathers’ lives,

mothers’ lives,

sisters’ lives,

brothers’ lives

might be saved

by discoveries we have yet to make

while exploring nature’s

rich biodiversity?

I march for the astronomers and the astronauts,

The men and women who study the stars and moon,

Unraveling the mystery of how Earth came to be

And the potential for life on planets other than our own,

Whose work shows us just how little

we mean to the Universe

And just how much the Universe

should mean to us.

I march for Aldo Leopold,

The father of wildlife ecology,

who crafted the idea of an environmental ethic and

encouraged us to value all things

Natural

Wild, and

Free,

I march for John Muir,

An adventurous explorer, a writer, a naturalist who worked to preserve the American Wilderness,

And I march for Rachel Carson,

A marine biologist whose rallying cry to the environmental movement

was heard

around

the world,

I march

Because I have parks to play in,

country sides to explore,

trails to hike,

mountains to climb,

rivers to kayak,

lakes

to

jump

into,

Because my tap water runs clean, and the air I breathe isn’t poison

Because science shows us the error of our ways and how to fix our mistakes,

Because rivers no longer burn when someone lights a match —

and when I step outside in springtime —

I hear the songbirds sing.

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Click here to view a video performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmBlXfA4QtY&feature=youtu.be