“This long-simmering history of anti-science is on a freight train that’s barrelling down on all of us”
By: Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – U.S. scientists will mark Earth Day by marching on Washington in protest at U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change and on science they consider under threat from ideology, organisers said on Thursday.
“This long-simmering history of anti-science is on a freight train that’s barrelling down on all of us,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network, the Washington-based non-profit that coordinates Earth Day.
Since launching a website for the anti-Trump march on Monday, more than 40,000 people have registered interest, saying they planned to attend the march or a satellite event.
Some 325,000 people have also liked a Facebook page announcing the “March for Science”.
“The election of President Trump and the Republican party – which has adopted more often than not an anti-science platform -has certainly inspired some of the viral explosion that we’ve seen come out of this movement for a march for science,” Ted Bordelon, acting spokesman for the march, said in a telephone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The march is planned for April 22 in downtown Washington – centred on the National Mall, a park bordered by Congress and the White House – in conjunction with the long-running, annual Earth Day environmental event.
It is the latest in a line of big protests staged to voice anger at the new Trump presidency and oppose his policies on everything from women to immigration. Last month, hundreds of thousands of people took to the same D.C. streets to greet the new presidency with a loud rebuke of an agenda many see as demeaning to women, Mexicans and Muslims.
Organisers said the idea of a science march began as a casual conversation on a discussion website, Reddit, following Trump’s surprise election.
Scientists were alarmed that science may not drive policy-making under his leadership, said Bordelon, after Trump dismissed global warming as a hoax created by China to weaken U.S. business.
During his election campaign, Trump also promised to pull the United States out of the so-called Paris Agreement aimed at curbing global warming. Trump has since told the New York Times he has an “open mind” on the pact.
But Trump then shocked experts by picking Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has questioned the science of climate change, to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Organisers said the march would span other scientific issues beyond global warming. Protesters will also make their voices heard on other areas of science they feel are under threat, from public health to federal funding for research.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)