On April 22, approximately 1000 Salem demonstrators joined an international march to support science and reason.
The non-partisan event, held on State Capitol steps, was officially presented as an effort to draw attention to the importance of fact-based policy by governments. Many present considered the event a call-to-arms to resist the Trump Administration’s defunding of science-based agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health.
Placards on display also decried the denial of the scientific consensus on climate change by Trump and other Republicans, and the imposition of gag rules on some scientific topics in federal agencies.
The goal of the march was “to highlight the valuable public service role science plays in society and in policy and demonstrate the deep public support for science,” organizers said. “Scientific knowledge must be sought, trusted, and meaningfully incorporated at every level of political decision-making.”
The event began with several speakers at the foot of the capitol, including Jon Yoder, president of the Salem Environmental Education board. Yoder said “We really want our policy makers to fund science and use science to make policies in our government.” Trevor Phillips, an emergency room doctor, said, “science saves lives.”
After comments, the hundreds of attendees set out marching through the downtown area, looping around approximately ten blocks. The march was accompanied by chants, drumbeats, bullhorn calls and a police escort.
Attendees included environmental groups 350 Salem, Salem Environmental Education, Salem Solidarity Network and individuals from Lincoln City and Eugene.
One marcher reflected, “Many would not think that a concept like science would be in need of defending, but such are the times we live in.”
The Salem march was one of 600 held around the world on Earth Day.