Salt Lake City was one of over 500 participating cities to join in the first-ever world-wide March for Science on Saturday, April 22.

Other cities who marched to support efforts in science sprawled across six continents, including London, Geneva, and Berlin.

In January, the protestors who demanded respect and funding for STEM research started planning the events online. When all mentions of climate change were deleted from the White House website and after viewing Trump’s budget blueprint released in early March that showed scientific funding was not a priority of the administration, the event continued to grow.

Thousands of Utahns crowded the streets in a walk from City Creek Park to the Capitol Building, where a handful of speakers, including 2007 Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Mario Capecchi, had a chance to speak to the crowd.

Capecchi was greeted with thunderous applause, “I think [Earth] is a fragile planet and it requires stewardship. We can’t just continue our policies. By inaction, we are creating enormous problems.” he said.

Other issues were touched on throughout the event, including the importance of environmental concerns, stem cell research, and education for young people.

“I am here to defend science, I am here to protect science, I am here to say ‘no budget cut’ when it comes to science,” said climate scientist Heidi Redd. “Let’s keep America on top, let’s keep our science funded.”

Scientists were not the only ones in attendance; hundreds of families attended the event, bringing along young children that broadcast signs with sayings such as: “Science rules, trash drools” and “Research equals hope.”

The crowd was lively throughout the march to the Capitol building, chanting “these are what scientists look like.”

The final speaker at the event, Tami Goetz, invited all the children at the event to join her in front of the crowd. She talked about “superheroes”; how everyone has them, and everyone can be them. “Scientific superheroes use their powers to cure disease, help build safer buildings and homes, keep our environment safe, so our water is drinkable and our food is safe and our air is clean,” she said. “They also connect us to our families across the globe, with innovative technologies and communication.”

Towards the end of her speech, Goetz spoke firmly to the crowd, “I’m going to challenge you to not celebrate science just on one day, not just today, but to make this a challenge that you pick up and you take with you when you leave the capitol. Go out and spread the word that science is here to stay,” she continued. “Science is going to make lives better and we’re here to ensure the future of science.”

Cappechi, the renowned molecular geneticist,  finished with a question that would likely stay with the audience long after the rally ended, “What will we hand over to our children, and our grandchildren?”

m.alder@dailyutahchronicle.com

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