Local March for Science organizers join marches occurring around the world for Earth Day.
By Maria Gardner
To coincide with Earth Day, science supporters across the country and world participated in marches and rallies Saturday to advocate and celebrate science research, education and achievements.
About 700 people, including scientists and enthusiasts, walked through this campus as part of March for Science. Julian Chavez, a monarch butterfly research scientist from the University of Texas at San Antonio, led a call and response. “
Sci— ence!” Chavez chanted. “Sci—ence!” the crowd responded.
Chavez, who is a member of the March for Science volunteer committee, said he is worried about the continuation of monarch butterflies.
Chavez said this butterfly species, which is the only insect that migrates from Canada through the U.S. to Mexico, is seeing a drastic decrease in population because of habitat loss and a decline in the milkweed plant, their main food source.
He said he participated in this march for his three nieces and his nephew.
“When we are gone, I want to leave them a planet worth living in,” Chavez said.
With chants and handmade signs, such as “Less invasions more equations,” “There is no Planet B” and “Science not Silence,” participants hoped to make their point.
Written in varying colors, in thin letters and with a picture of her parents, a sign held by 14-year old Mia Rios read, “My Parents have Chemistry and so today I walk for Science.”
Mia, along with her twin sister and mother, who was dressed in Wonder Woman attire in celebration of her 40th birthday, drove up from Alamo, a small town 15 minutes away from McAllen, to join archeologist Laura Acuna for the march.
They expressed an urgency to be present at the march for the future of the planet.
“With what’s going on politically, the EPA getting stripped, the national parks and research being underfunded or cut, the only way you can be heard is if you march,” Acuna said.
Throughout the route stood volunteers with scientific facts.
William Wise’s sign said “6,000 B.C Ancient Mesopotamia, now Iraq and Iran, created the first irrigation systems during deserts into lush farmland.”
Wise, an aspiring medical researcher, said science helps people understand others and the universe.
“People involved in science really care about others,” he said.
Although some people headed to Austin and Washington, D.C., for the march, Alex Mora, organizing committee member of March for Science San Antonio, said it was important to make a local presence.
Through a call on Reddit by John Berman, a local scientist and organizer of March for Science, people who did not know each other previously began coming together in February to organize this march, Mora said.
Mora, a clinical data analyst by day, said she couldn’t stand on the sidelines because “passive intolerance is just as destructive.”
Scobee Education Center, the San Antonio Zoo and the National Audubon Society hosted tables during the march for participants to learn about their organizations.
After the march, participants gathered at the steps of San Antonio Playhouse to hear speeches from scientists such as Kelly Lyons, biology professor at Trinity University.
She said since a significant amount of funding comes from the state and national level, taxpayers should reach out to legislators to emphasize the importance of funding scientific research.
In closing remarks, Sarah Beesley, director of Mitchell Lake Audubon Center and one of the organizers of the march, said opinions are not substitutes for facts. “Science is not good or bad,” Beesley said. “Science is.”