“What do we want? Data! When do we want it? Forever!”
*Support on social media is growing for plans to mount a Scientists’ March on Washington, designed as a mass response to the Trump administration’s skepticism of climate change and other science-focused policy issues.
A Twitter account launched on Monday and has periodically sent out updates and requests for people to get involved.
According to The Washington Post, the idea was first mentioned on a subreddit.
“Please arrange this. it won’t change trump-mans mind, but by all that is sacred, it needs to be done. Show the governing body you won’t just do nothing,” one Reddit user said.
One postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center took action, the Post reported, creating a Facebook and Twitter account, a website, and a Google form to solicit volunteers. The Twitter account noted that hundreds of volunteers had so far signed up. The Facebook page, which is currently closed, had more than 40,000 members as of Wednesday morning. The Twitter account has more than 19,000 followers.
“Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics,” reads a statement on the website. “Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. …This is a non-partisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science.”
Advocacy group 500 Women Scientists, established in the weeks after Trump’s election, participated in the Women’s March on Saturday, many dressed in lab coats. According to The Atlantic, they chanted “What do we want? Data! When do we want it? Forever!” and “When I say peer, you say review! Peer! Review! Peer! Review!” Someone held a sign saying, “MAR-A-LAGO (Trump’s Resort) WILL BE UNDER WATER BY 2045.” At the bottom, in tiny text, it cited a report from Coastal Risk Consulting, a private firm that uses climate data to project future sea-level rise.
The Trump administration has issued a ban on employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from posting updates on social media and speaking with members of the press. However, that didn’t stop the Badlands National Park from tweeting out multiple messages on Tuesday promoting climate science.
“Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate,” read one of the since-deleted tweets.
Trump also reportedly asked the EPA to take down the climate change webpage from its website.
Caroline Weinberg, a health writer, told the Post that reports of the gag orders issued by the Trump administration on scientists from federal agencies, including the EPA and the research arm of the Department of Agriculture, “lit a fire under us.”