Opinion: Cleveland March for Science

Bobbie+Szabo

Bobbie Szabo

Bobbie Szabo

“What do we want?”

“Science!”

“When do we want it?”

“After peer review!”

The crowd chanted as we walked past Cleveland Town Hall on Earth Day this Saturday.

The last time I walked that same path was during the Women’s March in January. I was overwhelmed by the same sense of comradery, the same sense of being amongst thousands of people who believe something is wrong and something needs to change.

My mother accompanied me to this march. It was her first time participating in a protest movement, and she was exhilarated by the experience.

She did not stop smiling the whole time we marched. She is a seventh grade science teacher. I will never forget her saying, “This is why I do what I do. This is why I’m a teacher, and this is why I teach science.”

A child dressed as the Lorax and their parent held the famous quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

An older couple held hands and marched wearing knit hats designed to look like brains.

Liberals and conservatives unified for bipartisan efforts to bring fact and evidence-based legislation back into our government. The speakers before the march stated that “science is not a partisan issue,” although with the rise of “alternative facts” and the blatant denial of peer-reviewed scientific evidence by the current presidential administration, that sentiment is difficult to believe.

People are tired of government officials who — as one sign aptly stated — “make shit up.”

I am tired of politicians and those who are convinced by politicians’ rhetoric that global climate change does not exist.

I am tired of politicians claiming that defunding Planned Parenthood will keep taxpayers from paying for abortions when federal funding already is not used for abortions. Defunding Planned Parenthood keeps people from receiving necessary medical checkups and procedures like cancer screenings.

I am tired of people who claim vaccines are detrimental to children when we have essentially eradicated hundreds of fatal diseases, which wiped out significant portions of the world’s population throughout history.

I am tired of a presidential administration that thinks fracking does not hurt our environment and that we do not need to fund the EPA. I am tired of politicians who care more about the money in their own pockets than they do about pipelines which leak and poison both people and animals.

I am tired of people ignoring our planet in favor of their own checkbooks.

I am tired of people ignoring what is true because it does not fit with their beliefs.

The March for Science inspired millions of people around the globe to stand up for science and evidence-based policy. I am so proud to have participated in the march, and I am so proud to continue to advocate for the planet on which we live.

But I am even more proud to have had my mother beside me. I am proud to see people who have never before felt the need to protest stand up against what is wrong and in favor of what is right.

The grassroots campaigns, which have turned into global movements, are inspiring people who never otherwise would have spoken up to start community organizing, to start writing letters and making phone calls and attending protests. I am so unbelievably excited to see people being energized into political engagement, and I cannot wait to see how we change the world.

Bobbie Szabo is columnist, contact her at [email protected]