Take the Women’s March on Washington, slash its attendance, throw in Bill Nye “the science guy,” and you have the formula for Saturday’s March for Science, the latest in this year’s series of anti-Trump protests.
Framed as a defense of scientific inquiry, the Earth Day march offered a lesson in political science as speakers urged thousands of rain-soaked attendees to fight President Trump’s “anti-science” agenda by advocating more federal funding for research.
“This is about last November’s election,” said Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970. “Did America somehow vote to melt the polar ice caps and kill the coral reefs and acidify the oceans? Did we vote to reduce the EPA’s research budget by a whopping 42 percent? Did we vote to defund safe drinking water by one third?”
“Well, that’s what we got,” said Mr. Hayes, followed by a chorus of boos.
Thousands gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument prior to the march to hear from a lineup of speakers that consisted of scientists, progressive activists and at least one poet, while others gathered at more than 600 satellite events across the nation and around the world.
Organizers had insisted beforehand that the march, while political, was non-partisan, an assertion belied by the sea of anti-Trump signs and repeated condemnations of the Trump administration.
The Democratic National Committee War Room sent out a blast Saturday pegged to the event saying, “Donald Trump doesn’t believe in climate change.”
“Today as Americans across the country march for science, say you’re ready to fight against the anti-science GOP,” said the email missive.
Among those in the crowd Saturday was Stephen Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science Culture, who said the March for Science and its supporters made claims that science alone can’t support.
“They’re conflating political claims about the need to fund the EPA or to prevent the Keystone pipeline with science,” said Mr. Meyer. “They’re conflating religious and philosophical claims about materialism with science. And then they’re conflating particular theories with the practice of science itself, such that if you disagree with those theories, you’re deemed a ‘science denier.'”
“So it’s massive confusion because of the conflation at all three of those levels,”he said.
The crowd was considerably smaller than that of the Women’s March on Jan. 21 but otherwise strikingly similar, with some protesters even wearing pink hats.
The overlap was not lost on some speakers.