Protesters across the globe marched in support of science, the legitimacy of fact-based evidence, curiosity, access to education and public funding of research, among a variety of other related causes. The marches on Saturday, April 22, were timed to coincide with the 47th annual celebration of Earth Day. The streets of Washington, D.C., hosted the primary march on an afternoon that started gray and rainy and remained that way throughout hours of speakers, musicians, educational sessions and other events that culminated in a march from the Washington Monument to the Capitol building.
Scientists, feeling increasingly under pressure from a new administration that's perceived as varying between indifferent and outright hostile to science, aimed to send a clear message.
One of the most well-received speakers on the main stage was scientist and television personality Bill Nye. With storm clouds overhead and facing the White House in the distance, Nye said, "Scientifically literate citizens are needed to drive innovation and compete globally."
"Science serves every one of us," he said, and the audience rewarded his passion with sustained cheers and chants of "Bill! Bill! Bill!"
The artist, architect and sculptor Maya Lin spoke from the event's main stage, saying she hopes that these marches, along with her work, will act as "a wake up call to action for losing species, and for learning to balance our needs with those of nature."
Christy Goldfuss, formerly of the Council on Environmental Quality and former deputy director of the National Park Service, spoke passionately about accompanying President Obama to the middle of the Pacific Ocean before he created the largest section of protected ocean in history. "The most powerful nation in the world can not turn its back on science," Goldfuss said.
Though the majority of the speakers and signs in the audience on Saturday aimed to place above political influence, a clear majority of people in attendance spoke out against the policies of President Trump.
"The White House reeks of greed, sleaze and mendacity," scientist Denis Hayes shouted from the main stage in a particularly pointed speech. Hayes was an early supporter of solar energy and whose Bullitt Foundation recently built its Seattle headquarters in what's being touted as the greenest commercial building in the world
He was also the principal national organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970. "It's 47 years later, and to my astonishment," he said, "we're back in the same position."
The Washington March for Science also incorporated a number of teaching events, performances from musicians. Thomas Dolby took to the main stage to blast out his New Wave hit "She Blinded Me With Science," while John Batiste gave a hushed rendition of "What a Wonderful World." The event was largely inspired by the Women's March on Washington in January, and grew from a small social media campaign to something significantly larger and more organized, with affiliated satellite events taking place on all seven continents.