“Science isn’t just numbers or something far off with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or NASA, it’s also in the community,” said Katherine Meyer, one of the organizers of the March for Science rally taking place Saturday in Pullman. “Science really is for everyone. We use it every day. If science for the common good is threatened we may not have those breakthroughs that make a better life for all of us.”
The rally is an affiliate of the national March for Science movement. Hundreds of marches are planned for Earth Day on Saturday across the country with the largest to take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The March for Science movement began in January after the Trump administration purged nearly all mention of climate change from White House and State Department websites and froze federal grant spending for the Environmental Protection Agency and other government offices. It began on social media and grew into a grass-roots movement with scientists and science supporters rallying behind the motto, “Science, not Silence.” The mission of the national march is to champion “robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity,” according to the national website.
With two land grant universities, the Palouse is full of scientists from dozens of fields, Meyer said. Holding a march on the Palouse gives people the opportunity to support the national movement and connect with and support scientists in the local community.
The all-ages event begins downtown at Pine Street Plaza and marchers will proceed to Reaney Park. A half dozen speakers will give three to five minute speeches on their work in a variety of fields, including water, animals, engineering, biology and astronomy. Postcards will be available for people to write to representatives in the Washington and Idaho legislatures. The Washington State University Raptor Club will show birds and science clubs from the University of Idaho and WSU have been invited to be on hand, Meyer said.
Speakers at the national rally in Washington, D.C., will include Bill Nye the Science Guy, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose lead poisoning in Flint, Mich., and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, who helped produce insulin from bacteria.
Like the national march, the Pullman march aims to be nonpartisan, Meyer said. The purpose is to show support for science and encourage political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies for the public good.
Meyer lives in Pullman and works in the international programs office at WSU. She describes herself as a science supporter. She has a pre-existing medical condition and can thank scientific advances in medical technology for her quality of life, she said.
“To me this is something very important and I’m supporting it wholeheartedly,” she said.
The march is an opportunity, she said, “to not be silent.”
If You Go
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, April 22
Where: Pine Street Plaza, downtown Pullman
Of Note: The group will march via the Pullman trail system to the main event site at Reaney Park.