ST. PAUL (KMSP) - March For Science Minnesota estimates that about 50,000 people marched in the name of science at the state Capitol on Saturday, one of many such marches around the world.
The March For Science mission was twofold: to mark Earth Day, and to protest what participants call “an assault on science” by lawmakers in Washington, and closer to home.
“Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like,” marchers chanted.
The march began on Cathedral Hill. Retired river scientist Cathy Larson was among those in the large crowd.
“It used to be we respected our scientists to deliver good data,” said Larson. “And now it’s as if people don’t believe in science.”
Larson’s worries are shared by scientists and those backing them around the world.
In the United States, thousands turned out for rallies in New York, Chicago and Washington D.C.
“Our numbers here today show the world that science is for all,” said American educator Bill Nye. “Our lawmakers must know that science serves every one of us.
Bill Nye “The Science Guy” was among those who said President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would mean big cuts in funding for research. Nye believes it represents a general war on science.
“We have seen the proposed budget that has cuts for scientific programs and environmental programs,” Nye told a crowd in D.C. on Saturday. “And I think it’s important that congress speaks up and voters speak up about the importance of keeping these programs in place.”
The marchers in St. Paul said the same thing is happening in Minnesota, too. They’re concerned by the environmental bills in the state legislature. Some feel the bills will roll back protections.
“Even in our state we have multiple bills that are attempted to be passed in the legislature that would defy science,” said Larson. “And I think we should be using good data and good science for good decisions.”
The Trump administration released a statement Saturday saying it is committed to advancing scientific research.
The president himself also made his thoughts clear in a tweet that said “I am committed to keeping our air and water clean, but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!”
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, republican lawmakers say their bills make environment agencies more responsive, and halt overspending in a number of areas.