The March for Science and What it Means for a Dying World

Rising sea levels and breaking temperatures are just two reasons why environmental activists are taking action

Thousands of protesters at the March for Science in Portland, Oregon (CNN)

By Emma McDonald

The Progressive Teen Staff Writer


THE WOMEN’S MARCH BACK IN FEBRUARY WAS NOT THE ONLY MARCH ON WASHINGTON to take place this year. April 22, better known as Earth Day, brought thousands of scientists, activists, speakers, and politicians to the March for Science demonstration in the D.C. area. The march addressed science as facts instead of opinion, sending a signal to governments around the world that issues such as climate change are not debatable in the political arena.

President Trump’s blueprint of budget cuts — which would take away 12.6 billion dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services — and the success of the aforementioned Women’s March lead to the initiation of the Earth Day demonstration. Action toward preventing such budget cuts have already taken precedent, with environmentalists asking Congress to pass a 2017 budget that funds science. The event was started by Jonathan Berman, a biology post-doc at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who wanted to make it clear that science is not a partisan issue; the only way for the United States to battle environmental problems is by doing so together.

Attempts to sway cabinet members and key Congressmen towards a more environmental friendly attitude were a major goal of the march; however, demonstrators wanted to make it clear that the march was not based on political beliefs out of fear that they would be labeled as “liberal crusaders.” Such an image would disrupt the notion that science should be seen as non-political.

“Demonstrators wanted to make it clear that the march was not based on political beliefs out of fear that they would be labeled as “liberal crusaders.” Such an image would disrupt the notion that science should be seen as non-political.”

Over 512 official satellite marches took place on April 22, with the kick-off in Sydney, Australia. A few hours later, the crowd in America’s capital marched down Constitution Avenue toward the Capitol Building. Longer than a one mile walk, the March for Science included speakers and scientists; most notably Bill Nye and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician who advocated for the Flint Water Crisis and the dangerously high levels of lead that contaminated its water. Teaching demonstrations were also available, encouraging those at the event to become further involved in science activism and introducing alternative campaigns such as “Protecting Wildlife in an Era of Climate Change” and the Environmental Voter Project, an attempt to make it easier for people to register to vote.

On Earth Day, environmental activists brought their concerns to the streets (wikimedia.commons)

While it seems the key issue at hand is climate change, advocating for smarter plans on resource use, sustainable agriculture techniques, water contamination, and alternative energy sources were also on the table. With the invention of wind turbines and nuclear, solar, and wind power, hopes of a more environmentally friendly America perished within. However, speculation about where government money should go toward remains high, since many still believe it is too much of a cost to build alternative energy sources, but at the same time support a ten billion dollar wall that is being planned by the minute.

Although the finish line is far out of sight, prevention of further damage to our planet’s atmosphere and wildlife continue to be the number one tactic of environmentalists. The demand for transportation vehicles such as cars increases as the world population increases, thus raising anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from engines. Even so, the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle was launched in Japan in 1977 and has since then been available in almost every country. Today, eleven billion hybrid electric vehicles have been sold worldwide, 36% of which are American. The point? People are opening their eyes to the impacts they have on our one and only home.

“Although the finish line is far out of sight, prevention of further damage to our planet’s atmosphere and wildlife continue to be the number one tactic of environmentalists.”

The March for Science is only a small part of the fight for environmental sustainability and, while opposition will always remain an obstacle, there is one thing to be known: best said by astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The good thing about science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it.” It may be impossible to tell today how long it will take to reverse the effects of humans on the environment, but if we are still advocating for the same things 150 years from now, I guess we will now.


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