Monday, April 24, 2017

March for Science

I saw a lot of brilliant, creative signs at the march,
but this one succinctly summed up my own feelings.

On Saturday, I attended the March for Science in Washington D.C. This march was intended for scientists, but also "science enthusiasts." I'm an analyst which is similar to a scientist, only we work with data and not the natural world. Anyway, it's not like you had to show your science cred to participate, although it was clear that many, many people at the march were genuine scientists.

Originally, three of my children were going to go with me, but for various reasons, had to cancel. That was OK because I had plans to meet with a friend who was traveling down to the march from Pennsylvania. Brigid made this fantastic sign for me out of an old shower curtain. "Mama" = Mother Earth.

I rode up on a bus full of other marchers and when we arrived and parked at RFK Stadium, I set off alone on the three and a half mile walk to the Washington Monument. It was a nice walk and, as at the Women's March, many of the houses along the way had pro-immigration, anti-racist, and anti-Trump signs displayed in their yards or windows. Trump seems to be deeply unpopular in Washington. 

One of the signs I liked - Approaching the security checkpoint.

The crowd swelled as I approached the monument and we were all funneled through a security checkpoint for a bag search. Once through security, the crowd was very tightly packed, and it had started to rain. I draped my handy waterproof banner over my back like a cloak, and it did a good job of keeping me dry, but people kept stepping on it, and the wetter it got, the harder it was to hold around myself. Then I realized that the ink was running off and my fingernails were black, so I reluctantly folded it up and carried it in one hand. 

Selfie with Shower Curtain

It was, I have to admit, intensely uncomfortable. The rain was lashing down now and it was cold and muddy, with medieval-grade filth in a wide margin all around the portapotties. (Which were, I was pleased to note, "Don's Johns" - the same used at the inauguration and about which Trump insisted that the word Don be covered up.) I stood on a manhole cover - a tiny island in the mud, while my friend and I kept missing eachother's texts and my brain began another weary round of depression thoughts. What a stupid and useless person I must be, not to be able to manage a shower curtain and an iphone simultaneously in the pouring rain. 

We cared enough to brave these muddy conditions

Rain lashing down. Mine wasn't the only sign with runny ink.
(Actually, I saw another sign that said, "Now I AM a mad scientist.")

But then my friend Laura and her daughter and their friend found me on my manhole cover island and things were better after that. It was still raining and freezing, but it was nice to be together. The first part of the event was a rally with speeches and music. (I arrived just in time to hear Bill Nye speak!) At 2:00pm, the actual march started, in which we would all walk to the Capitol Building. We were eager to march, if only because moving might help us warm up a bit. The entire rally area was fenced off, with the only exit through the narrow security checkpoint. Luckily, someone realized that this wasn't a good situation and took away some of the fencing and we all poured out into the street. The crowd was so dense, that after the initial surge, we stood at a standstill for quite a long time. The rain cleared for a bit, but then started again.

Here are a few pictures I took - the conditions for photography were terrible.

Crowd density during the march

Above is my friend Laura's daughter's sign. It perfectly captures what I wish politicians would understand. Climate change trumps everything! If we don't have a planet, we have nothing. Do jerks like Trump really not care that they are destroying life for future generations? Is it really worth it to sacrifice the lives of billions of people so that a tiny few can get rich? This shortsightedness for the sake of instant gratification is truly baffling to me. And, and, let's just say that climate change isn't caused by human behavior? Even if that were true, WHERE IS THE HARM IN REDUCING EMISSIONS AND INVESTING IN GREEN ENERGY? It could be an economic boom, I DON'T understand the resistance to it.

Steminist - very nice

Eventually we started moving and marched our way up to the Capitol, where the march ended. The program suggested that everyone would "peacefully disperse" at the end of the march, which is more or less what happened, although a lot of people stuck around to take pictures. On a tree near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, Laura and I hung a yarnbomb I'd made for the occasion. It was gratifying to step away from the tree and immediately see a group of people notice it and take pictures.

Impeach Trump

Laura took this picture of me at the end of the march.
Nice capture of the random Buffalo Bills poncho! Go Buffalo!

My bus wasn't scheduled to leave Washington until 7:00 PM, so I had three hours to kill. We walked in the general direction of RFK stadium and stopped in a burrito place. I'd eaten nothing since 6:00 am. It was so good to get out of the cold and sit down! The actual air temperature wasn't really all that cold - upper forties or low fifties - but when you are soaking wet from head to toe in fifty degree weather for over five hours, you are very cold indeed. My hands and arms were so cold and wet I was unable to unzip my jacket, could barely pick up a pen to sign the receipt for my meal, and was unable to sign my name but managed a sort of scrawl. But the food was delicious and the warm bowl returned the function to my hands. I dug into my bag for the sweater I'd packed and found it buried under the wet and inky shower curtain I'd stuffed into the bag and carried all over town. Laura's bus left at 5:00, so they said good bye. I found a cozy coffee shop on North Carolina Ave and waited there with a latte until it was time to get my bus.

Despite the rain and discomfort, I'm glad I attended the March for Science. If a march has a good turnout, it sends the message to our elected representatives that the people are serious about this issue. I read here that the estimated attendance at the DC march was 40,000 people. That's a lot of people who were willing to give up their Saturday and endure being cold and wet for the sake of humanity and the sake of our planet. Without science, we are doomed.

Did any of you make it to your local march, or the one in DC? Anyone have plans to attend the Climate March this Saturday? (I'm not, it's a bit much for me to go to DC two weekends in a row, but if there's a sister climate march in Charlottesville, I'll go to it.)


  1. I admire every single person who attended in DC, here in Cville, and all over the world. What a great outpouring! And in the pouring rain! Thank you SO MUCH for going, and for telling us how it was to be there. It was a great day. Your yarnbomb is the best. In the middle of the night I woke up and thought about all the programs 45 wants to cut, and I feel such despair. We have to keep resisting.

    1. Thanks! You're absolutely right, we can't give up. It's nice to see how many people are actively resisting and I know it drivers the Trumpers nuts.

  2. I love your yarn bombing.

    Thanks for the report on the march. We did not attend, although I did watch some of the speakers online with my husband.

    1. I found out there will be a climate march in Cville this weekend, on the downtown mall, around 2:00 pm at the Free Speech Wall.

  3. Thank you for joining the march. I believe it sends a strong message. Rest up, be strong, and persist.

  4. I don't seem to do manifestations, I think I've said it before. Not sure why. Kudos, anyone who does!