Since Donald Trump took office less than three months ago, he's been busy appointing climate-change deniers to his cabinet, silencing scientists, and undoing environmental protections.
It's not hyperbole to say science is under attack in America. That's why scientists — who generally do their damnedest to stay out of politics — are getting ready to take to the streets. Three months after the Women's March drew an estimated 5 million worldwide (and more than 10,000 in Miami), the March for Science is being planned for Earth Day.
"I think the political climate in the past 20 years has kind of thrown scientists and science into the political spectrum and polarized it and made scientists like a character in the political game,” says Theresa Pinto, director of education and community engagement with Urban Paradise Guild and one of the Miami march's planners. "It's important that now scientists are standing up and saying, 'That's not what science is about.'"
The main event will take place April 22 in D.C., along with nearly 400 satellite events across the globe. And Miami again has a march of its own in the works. The pro-science rally will begin with an 11 a.m. gathering at Museum Park, followed by a march to the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, where a science expo will be held from noon to 4 p.m. About 1,000 people have already RSVPed.
Pinto says that the local event is nonpartisan and that organizers have reached out to officials from both political parties. She says the goal is to get policymakers to make decisions based on the evidence, not the politics.
She says she's been alarmed by the misuse of science in political debates and its politicization in issues such as vaccinations and global warming. Casting science as political allows politicians to ignore overwhelming evidence.
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"I think the misuse of science has contributed to the current state of events, so I'm hoping that our march will be able to keep shining the light on what's wrong," Pinto says.
Another local organizer, Delaney Reynolds, is a 17-year-old high-school senior who’s grown up on the water and is deeply concerned about the threat posed by climate change. She started the Sink or Swim Project to raise awareness and began advocating for a Miami-based science march soon after plans were announced for one in D.C.
"One of the things that I often like to say is that science trumps politics," says Reynolds, who attends Palmer Trinity School. "And I know I'm only 17, but my generation is about to inherit the greatest environmental challenge in the history of mankind — the climate-change crisis — so there's really no more important issue to my generation."