YAKIMA, Wash. -- Some shouted for physics. Others spoke for chemistry. There were chants for biology. And those who spoke for geology.
Yvette Marquez and her 5-year-old son Isaac said they spoke for the trees.
Marquez and her son were among around 200 who took to the streets of downtown Yakima on Saturday afternoon in a March for Science.
“This is very important to me. My kids know how important it is to me, and I think it’s important to them,” Marquez said.
Braving increasingly gusty winds along Yakima Avenue, Marquez and other participants lifted their signs and chanted slogans including “Science saves lives,” “Health not wealth” and “Every day is Earth Day.”
The animated crowd included many self-proclaimed “nerds” and “geeks” gathered for the satellite march — one of 14 around the state. Marches in Seattle and at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., drew thousands. Many scientists said they were anxious about political and public rejection of established science such as climate change and the safety of vaccine immunizations.
Alarmed by proposed federal cuts for science and research budgets, organizers around the nation said they hoped to advocate for the role of science in policy making and political discourse.
If Congress approves President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, nearly 20 percent of the National Institutes of Health’s funding would be cut.
Trump, in an Earth Day statement hours after the marches kicked off, said that “rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”
Coinciding with Earth Day, the march was organized by local nonprofit Act Yakima and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima.
Marquez, a vegetation biologist with Yakama Nation Wildlife Resource Management Program, said participation for her was important, especially as she continues educating her children on differentiating between facts and opinions.
She’d opted to have Isaac hold the sign showing The Lorax — the environmentally conscious Dr. Seuss character from the eponymously titled children’s book — because it was something he could understand as it related to the march.
With speakers on issues related to climate change, the history of public health and the future of the application of the scientific method in the world today, a rally took place when the march re-entered Performance Park, the spot where it began.
Julie Richardson of Yakima said she wanted to attend because of concerns that many federal policies are becoming increasingly anti-environment.
“I also believe we should be stewards of our Earth,” Richardson said.
- Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.