Around two thousand people turned out for Bellingham’s March for Science, according to organizers. The Earth Day march was a satellite of a march in support of science research funding in Washington D.C.
The mission of the Bellingham march was to raise public support for the scientific community and to reject the characterization of science as a partisan issue, according to the march website.
Melissa Rice, assistant professor of Planetary Science at Western, gave a speech which celebrated the scientific method.
“There are forces at work to undermine science, while evidence is being undermined by illogical fallacies, and by political agendas on all sides,” Rice said. “We need to come together and stand up and raise our voices for the greatest thing that humankind has ever come across—the scientific method.”
Captain Wendy Lawrence, a NASA astronaut who has been on four shuttle missions, spoke at the event. She described seeing Earth from space, and emphasized the importance of scientific findings.
“We have to get involved with political activism from here on out too, and make sure that this momentum carries forward.”
Kathy Hennessy, science march organizer and postbaccalaureate student
Regina Barber DeGraaff, a physics and astronomy instructor at Western, was one of the organizers of the Bellingham march. DeGraaff said the march was in response to the federal administration’s threats to decrease science funding.
“How much the government actually puts into science and supports it directly affects my livelihood, but it also affects our education,” DeGraaff said.
Signs that read, “Science not Silent” and “Don’t be a fossil fool” were written on cardboard that followed the crowd.
The Neuroscience Research Driven Students club (NeRDS), was among student groups attending the march.
“The sad part is that this administration is not going to be the ones to experience the fallout from ignoring the climate that is being destroyed for their children, their grandchildren, my children,” senior José Carrillo, president of the club, said.
Kathy Hennessy, an organizer for the march and a postbaccalaureate student, said the march was in support of science-based evidence, as opposed to pseudo-science and corporate interests. Hennessy also said she is concerned federal cuts to science programs will harm our future.
“We have to get involved with political activism from here on out too, and make sure that this momentum carries forward,” Hennessy said.
The event began around noon with speakers in front of city hall.
At 1 p.m., the marchers went down Commercial Street, turned on Holly Street and looped back via Bay Street and Grand Street.
Booths from different organizations and clubs lined Lottie Street. Present was the Western Chemistry club, WWU Women in Physics, the Sierra Club, Spark Museum, Whatcom Democrats and Young Democrats.