Like the Women’s March on Washington, the idea for the March on Science was born from a single action on social media. One comment on Reddit has led to what could become the next major demonstration against President Donald Trump.
“There needs to be a Scientists’ March on Washington,” a Reddit user suggested last week on a thread discussing the recent removal of the climate action page from the White House website.
Nearly five days later, the idea has taken the internet by storm, likely fueled by the news that the Trump administration plans to “revive America’s coal industry” and advance construction on controversial projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The official Twitter account for the march, @ScienceMarchDC, has gained over 60,000 followers in two days. The event’s original Facebook group, which is now only accessible to members, had only a handful of subscribers on Wednesday morning but grew to more than 350,000 people by that evening.
Organizers encouraged supporters to “like” their recently created public page on Wednesday, where they plan to post future announcements. It’s unclear how many people actually intend to join the march, but the group’s rapidly growing popularity suggests that interest in the event is skyrocketing.
As momentum continues to build, organizers have yet to release details about the event. The group tweeted that more information, including the march date, would be announced next Tuesday.
Interest grew “far faster” than anticipated, two organizers for the march told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. They said they were still in the early stages of planning.
The organizers said they wanted to withhold their names until they created an official mission statement. But they offered some of their motivations in an email:
Scientists worldwide have been alarmed by the clear anti-science actions taken by the Trump administration. It has been less than a week and there have already been funding freezes and efforts to restrict scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public. These actions are absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is not a partisan issue — people from all parts of the political spectrum should be alarmed by these efforts to deny scientific progress. Scientific research moves us forward and we should not allow asinine policies to thwart it.
They also stressed the march’s commitment to inclusivity and pledged to coordinate “sister marches” in other cities for those unable to travel to Washington, D.C.
“We are a diverse group of organizers focused on intersectionality both in the mission statement and the March itself,” they wrote. “We are including everyone in this movement.”
Trump, who once called climate change a “hoax,” has done little to quell the scientific community’s fears that he’ll take anything but a regressive stance on addressing climate change and protecting the environment. The administration has already demonstrated its hostility toward empirical evidence and facts.
Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, refuses to accept that human activity is the main cause of climate change ― a stance that puts him at odds with 97 percent of climate scientists. Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a man with deep ties to the oil and gas industry, has all but secured his confirmation as secretary of state.
“We write as concerned individuals, united in recognizing that the science is unequivocal and America must respond,” more that 800 earth and energy scientists wrote in an open letter to Trump in December. “We urge you to decide if you want your Presidency to be defined by denial and disaster, or acceptance and action.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.