Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day. Since 1970, it has been recognized as a time to reflect upon and respect the planet. It is a day to draw attention to ways we can save energy and stop pollution, save endangered species, and start more sustainable industries. Recycling, conservation, green technologies, composting... these activities are a big part of our lives now. And a lot of the reason why is thanks to programs started because of Earth Day events and protests.
A huge part of this success comes down to how Earth Day brings people together. It helps them focus on a common problem and speak with a voice larger than any one person. That's a big reason why today's March for Science is something worth paying attention to. According to the march's website, it is a "celebration of science". It is a chance for people to say that the work of scientists around the world matter to them.
Marching in the capital
The main march is happening on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The mall is the central park in the heart of the city. It has the Washington Monument on one end and the Lincoln Memorial on the other. There will also be many other satellite, or additional, marches at the same time in different cities around the country, as well as in other parts of the world.
You might remember the Women's March that took place in Washington earlier this year on January 21? Those marches drew a lot of national and international attention to their cause. Organizers are hoping for a similar turnout in the name of science (there are as many as 500 of these marches planned around the globe).
Standing up for science
Why have this march? And why on Earth Day?
The March for Science website does not mention U.S. President Trump or his administration by name. But his government has already taken steps to defund, or take money from, numerous scientific and science-based organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the Chemical Safety Board, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The science community is having this march because they feel concern that the Trump government is both ignoring their research into critical issues facing the planet—such as climate change—and taking away the money that they rely upon to do important research in the future.
But even if this march feels mostly like a response to Trump, it is bigger than that. Many governments and corporations around the world are working against the advice of leading scientists on issues of the environment. That's why the organizers feel this is so important.
How do you feel about these issues? Will you be marching today?