March for Science rally spans the globe, takes aim at Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s been 47 years since the first “Earth Day” and today it was observed around the world with a focus on science.

Rallies and marches were held in more than 600 cities — from New York, Chicago and Washington — to London, Berlin and Sydney, Australia.

The officially titled “March for Science” was not billed as a political event — but many who marched said they were concerned about threatened cuts to research programs, especially those aimed at fighting climate change.

There was plenty of H20 on this wet, dreary day in the nation’s Capital, but the rain did not seem to dampen the spirit of the crowd.

Clinical psychologist Tim Truemper came from Salisbury, North Carolina.

CBS News asked specifically what makes him worried?

“Climate changes is my biggest concern,” Truemper said. “We can’t stall our progress any more in this area.”

Kristin Sanborn from New Jersey senses a change in climate … for science.

“I’m here because I’m so upset because science seems under attack, facts seem under attack,” Sanborn said.

Speakers at the rally spanned many disciplines.

“We’re not politicizing science … we’re defending it” Dr. Jonathon Foley of the California Academy of Sciences said.

And those of many ages also attended.

“We cannot vote … but we will be heard,” a group of teenagers exclaimed on stage.

The roster included crowd favorites like Bill Nye “The Science Guy.”

“I’m in the same place with Bill,” one girl screamed from the crowd.

“We are going to save the world,” Nye shouted.

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Bill Nye leads demonstrators on a march to the U.S. Capitol during the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Sat., April 22, 2017.

The march was billed as a non-partisan defense of science. But some strongly attacked the policies of the Trump administration.

Marchers’ concerns include:

  • An 18 percent, $6 billion dollar proposed cut in funding for the national institutes of health.
  • Denial of what they see as established science, such as the threat of climate change.
  • Changing immigration policy. Foreign-born scientists fill nearly half of U.S. postdoctoral research positions.

Lillian Knipp, Kathy Ely and Lucia Teal live in Baltimore and spoke to CBS News.

“We were born in the ‘50s, we grew up in the ‘70s,” Knipp said. “We watched progress, we were protesting back then, and we’re too old for this. We should not be out here protesting for things we won in the ‘70s and the ‘80s.”

“We were at the first Earth Day,” Ely said.

On this 48th Earth Day, marchers turned out in communities large and small — including a tiny contingent on the north pole.

President Trump released a statement saying:

My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks.

Mr. Trump said to remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.

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A man carries a sign during the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Sat., April 22, 2017. Scientists, students and research advocates rallied from the Brandenburg Gate to the Washington Monument on Earth Day, conveying a global message of scientific freedom without political interference and spending necessary to make future breakthroughs possible.

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