It was a lousy day for a March of any kind. But no one bothered to tell the fired-up 3,000 who attended Portland’s March for Science – part of a national movement around the world today – Earth Day. Most seemed oblivious to the drizzle and down right cold temperatures as participants from all over southern Maine and New Hampshire came together for science and particularly climate change.
“We had the best seat in the city to watch the Science March this morning,” said Jamie Economo, of the popular Sister’s Gourmet Deli near Monument Way in downtown Portland.
There were people who came in before the March to get coffee and warm up, she said. “We knew we’d be really busy and we were. We had to make lots of extra coffee to keep up with the demand,” she said. “There were many more people than we expected for about an hour before the March.”
Marchers began at City Hall and proceeded down Congress Street to Congress Square Park where speakers addressed an overflow crowd that several independent estimates put at 3,000 rather than the 1,000 expected to attend.
Mary Schwanke, who taught biology to non-major students for twenty-seven years at the University of Maine, Farmington said she started teaching climate change back in 1989 as a small section of the course. “This is not new. It’s hard to believe that in 2017 we still have climate deniers in positions of power.” Ann McBride, also a college professor, said that “science is our chance to understand how the world works.” (See left photo).
It was advertised as a non-political March, but for many it was very much a political March. In view of President’ Trump’s remarks that climate change was just a Chinese hoax and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s agenda to rollback pollution safeguards crucial for Maine – it was very much a political event for many as evidenced by the signs Marchers carried and their concerns about the Trump administration policies.
Furthermore, Trump’s proposed budget calls for massive cuts which if enacted would threaten the US’s dominance in the fields of science and technology according to an article in The Washington Post last month. China, South Korea and India are investing in research and development. The proposed budget cuts would imperil our leadership in these areas. The article went on to say that the personal computer, the Internet and smartphones were all developed by funding at least in part by the government. Where will the funds for research and development come from should this budget be approved?
Researchers in the medical community have likewise expressed concern over ;proposed budget cuts that could have devastating effects in the health field.
(See below for another photo of the day in Portland.)