PDX March for Science 2017: making America great again

Protesters marched all across the United States for the nationwide event “March for Science,” on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Participants carried signs and spoke out against President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the upcoming years of his presidency. Trump’s budget introduces financial cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Agriculture Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Education Department and the Energy Department.

Portland’s March for Science event took place under windy, rainy-one-minute then sunny-the-next weather. Some Portlanders were seen donning white lab coats while marching near the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

“Science saved my life,” said Robert Seware, a retired physician. Seware recounted how 31 years ago, he underwent a double-bypass surgery and later returned to work six weeks. “Everyday life—aviation, civil engineering, healthcare, food ,and agriculture today is based on science. How was it discovered that lead damages the brain? Science. To deny climate change is stupid.”   

Seware made it clear to the Vanguard why he was there to march. “The only way we’re going to fight back to get science for schools and public education is for people to get politically involved,” Seware said.

Another marcher in a vibrant pink jacket, Heidi Owen, carried a sign that on one side read, “I support rational thought,” and on the other, “Science made America great.”

“Rational thought is an overarching theme in science,” Owen explained. “I think it’s totally sad that we have to actually march to support science. I think it’s really important to fight for science.” Rational thought, Owen believes, is valuable for approaching anything.

“Science is really important for so much of our society. Science has affected almost every portion of our lives,” said James Yarger, March for Science participant. “They are telling us that scientific evidence is pointing towards man-made effects on climate change. You have to take that as fact. For science there’s no flip side. You can’t argue against empirical evidence.”

Yarger, whose sign read, “There is no planet ‘B,’” feels it’s important not to take advantage of science and to listen to scientists.

”We’re out here to oppose continued ignorance to the facts that our planet is changing, and that’s going to affect not only us but future generations,” said Kaycia Ogata, whose sign read, “Love it or leave it,” and featured a big, blue and green planet.

“We only get one shot at this,” Ogata continued. “There is no planet B. There’s a lot of talk and hype about it. We have to fight the battle that’s happening here on this planet before we go invade and populate another planet and ruin that one.”

“I think it’s incredibly disturbing when scientists must march to prove the validity of their research—of the things that are scientific and intellectual,” said Blaed Spence, another protest participant. “Empirical fact must now be protested and protected in the streets when what passes for fact is taken for granted.”

Spence continued, “When you look at climate change and science, this literally is our collective evolve or die moment.”