Written by Angela Poffenbaugh
Jamie Dangler, Cortland, steps up to a microphone and takes a deep breath. As she looks around, she sees hundreds of people standing in the crowd, ranging from children to older adults. Some people are holding signs with sayings such as “There is no Planet B” and “Make Earth Great Again.” She then begins to speak as an advocate for science.
Dangler is one of the many people making a speech for the first March for Science, a movement that took place on Earth Day in the Ithaca Commons and across the nation. This march instrumented the idea of supporting climate change, discouraging cuts to scientific research and bringing the scientific community together.
Dangler has been the Vice President of the Academics of United University Professions since June 2012. The organization played a large part in partnering with the march and raising money through marketing. However on a personal level, she wanted to be involved because of her strong ties to the science community.
“I certainly feel that every one of us has an obligation to participate when there is such a massive need to affirm the importance of scientific investigation and inquiry.” Dangler said. “As an individual and a member of my union I certainly want to participate in the call for responsibility and celebrating science.”
The event was estimated to have hundreds of people in attendance, but this was not the only event taking place that day.
The March for Science was part of a nationwide movement with over six hundred other satellite rallies across the United States. The core march was in Washington, D.C. and was estimated to have about 40,000 people in attendance.
Sullivan O’Donnell, an Ithaca local, says the march in Ithaca was important to him due to the controversies over the topics of climate change.
“I know it’s a satellite march but I think it’s still as important as the regular march,” O’Donnell said. Iit makes me feel happy because I know that other people are trying to work with each other [during this march].”
Ithaca Rally showcased through scientific themes
Not only did the March for Science generate huge success, it also gave scientists a chance to share their passion with the Ithaca Community. While there were rallies taking place at the Bernie Milton Pavillion, other forms of activism were spread throughout the Commons.
There were multiple booths throughout Downtown Ithaca that people could explore. One was dedicated to creating signs so people could be more active members of the march.
Molly Robins, from Irvington NY, says her favorite part of the march was the creativity behind the posters that were made.
“Scientists don’t often make protest signs. We’re often in a lab, which is kind of an out-of-place group of people,” Robbins said. “It was cool to see what they’d put on a poster. It was all just really nerdy and funny if you had any understanding of [the topic].”
Another part of downtown Ithaca contained a Physics bus that encouraged children to explore the different aspects of science as a form of activism. Children could walk onto the painted school bus, play with the differing gadgets and learn about the scientific methods behind them. Dangler says that it’s not only important to educate people on science but also on the governmental impact on science research.
“What’s happening today is that this national March for Science is really bringing together social scientists, natural scientists, researchers and ordinary citizens to learn about science, celebrate science.” Dangler said. “[We need] to affirm the importance of science and scientific research as the basis for making policy decisions and understanding what [the government] needs to protect our planet.”
Robbins says she is unsure if this type of event will happen again, but would participate if it did.
“I think it’s hard to get scientists to take off their lab coats and peel them away from their research to do a march,” Robbins said. “I was really surprised by the attendance too. I hope [the march] would happen again.”
So far there is no confirmation if this will become a recurring event.