Carrying signs with messages such as “End fracking now,” “One earth — no do overs” and “Talk nerdy to me,” thousands of science lovers rallied on Capitol Campus on Saturday.
March for Science-Olympia organizers estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people participated, which began with an 11 a.m. rally on the steps of the Legislative Building and included a march down Capitol Way, ending with more speakers and events at Heritage Park. It was one of nearly 500 marches around the world on Earth Day aimed at promoting science programs and use of the scientific approach in policymaking.
“It really raised awareness for the importance of science in all of our lives,” said Jessica Archer, a March for Science-Olympia organizer. “… Science is under attack.”
The scientific approach includes citing sources, explaining methods and describing findings clearly without exaggeration, said Dargan Frierson, a University of Washington faculty member who has done research on climate change.
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While at Heritage Park, he sang about the connections between science and politics in a song that he wrote, “Science Rules.”
“Sometimes science tells you things that you don’t want to hear,” Frierson sang. “That’s no excuse to hide your head in the sand and fear. We’ve gotta listen to the evidence, let our scientists compete, get more to participate and take it to the street.”
Several people said they came out in support of science, but just as in earlier marches this year, they were also part of an organized citizen resistance against President Donald Trump, his appointees and supporters.
Until this year, Sharon Reddick of Olympia had never participated in a political protest. Now she’s rallied at five demonstrations, including the Women’s March in January, an event to support health care and last weekend’s Tax Day March.
“We need to speak up and speak out and say that we’re all human beings and our government needs to treat us all humanely,” said Reddick, who is retired from the state Health Care Authority.
Sharon Versteeg, who is retired from the state Department of Social and Health Services, said she participated in several demonstrations against the Vietnam War during the 1960s and was inspired to start protesting again after November’s election.
“Everything that’s happening right now is diminishing what we’ve worked on for years and years,” she said. “And I would like to right now keep the energy going so that in these next four years that we don’t lose too much.”
Jhana Chinamasta of Olympia joked that she should just park a lawn chair on the Capitol Campus because she’s participated in so many of the political marches this year and plans to be part of future ones.
She said she hopes the activities will inspire more people to get involved in local politics, vote in elections and work to create change.
“I do have a lot of hope that other citizens who are helpless and hopeless will stop feeling that way,” Chinamasta said. “We have nothing to lose. You might as well be positive and get out there and do something because it ignites, it’s contagious. Hope creates hope.”