Tex­ans to march for sake of science

‘We want to show … that facts mat­ter,’ says teacher go­ing to D.C.

The Dallas Morning News - - NATION - By JOR­DAN RUDNER Wash­ing­ton Bureau jrud­ner@dal­las­news.com Twit­ter: @jrud

WASH­ING­TON — She packed her bags. She con­firmed her air­line reser­va­tion. But be­fore Ylianova Modesto, a preschool teacher, could leave Fort Worth for Wash­ing­ton, D.C., she had to take one fi­nal step — print­ing out the pe­ri­odic ta­ble of ele­ments for her protest sign.

Modesto, 44, is one of many Tex­ans trav­el­ing to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal for the March for Science. The rally on Sat­ur­day is in­tended to sup­port in­creased fund­ing for sci­en­tific re­search and the use of sci­en­tific ev­i­dence in the devel­op­ment of pub­lic pol­icy.

There will be sis­ter marches across the coun­try, in­clud­ing in Dal­las, Fort Worth, Den­ton and 13 other Texas cities.

“We want to show peo­ple that facts mat­ter,” Modesto said. “That truth mat­ters. That science mat­ters.”

Or­ga­niz­ers of the Dal­las march say they’re ex­pect­ing a crowd of 2,000 on Sat­ur­day. The march will be­gin out­side City Hall at 10 a.m. and go roughly 2 miles to Fair Park.

In Wash­ing­ton, sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple are ex­pected at the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment, where speak­ers will in­clude Bill Nye, a fa­mous ad­vo­cate for science ed­u­ca­tion, as well as cli­mate sci­en­tists, pe­di­a­tri­cians and bi­ol­o­gists.

The idea for the marches orig­i­nated on the web fo­rum Red­dit a few days af­ter the Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton in Jan­uary. The Women’s March drew hundreds of thou­sands to D.C. and more crowds in cities across the globe.

Like the Women’s March or­ga­niz­ers, the na­tional or­ga­niz­ers of the March for Science em­pha­size that the point is not to an­tag­o­nize Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“We’re not here to be a par­ti­san group,” said Daniel Bar­ros, one of the lead or­ga­niz­ers of the Dal­las march. “We’ve ac­tu­ally had to kick peo­ple out of the Face­book group who join be­cause all they want to do is bash the pres­i­dent.”

At the same time, Bar­ros said, Trump’s en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies — such as his de­ter­mi­na­tion to dis­man­tle the Clean Power Plan and to slash the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s bud­get — have clearly gal­va­nized marchers.

“We don’t want to see so­ci­ety take gi­ant steps back­ward, away from ev­i­dence-based pol­icy,” Bar­ros said.

In Dal­las and in D.C., marchers hope to draw at­ten­tion to a va­ri­ety of causes. Robert Lan­dolt, a re­tired chem­istry pro­fes­sor from Ar­ling­ton, says one of his chief con­cerns is Trump’s stated in­ten­tion to with­draw the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Agree­ment on com­bat­ing global warm­ing. “He’s of a mind to turn things in the wrong di­rec­tion,” Lan­dolt said.

Lan­dolt, 78, will par­tic­i­pate in the Dal­las march with his son on Sat­ur­day. Next week­end, he’ll fly to D.C. for a sep­a­rate event — the Peo­ple’s Cli­mate March — where he plans to wear a shirt that says, “There is no Planet B.”

Modesto, the preschool teacher, says her con­cerns are also long-term. “I work in pre-K, so I’m al­ways in­volved in the lives of th­ese lit­tle hu­mans,” she said. “I re­ally worry about what kind of en­vi­ron­ment we’re leav­ing for them.”

Even be­fore Trump took of­fice, anti-science at­ti­tudes were gain­ing trac­tion, said Eugene O’Don­nell, a Dal­las en­gi­neer help­ing to or­ga­nize the lo­cal march.

“All of this is hap­pen­ing within the con­text of re­duced NASA fund­ing, na­tional labs hav­ing their bud­gets slashed, the ris­ing ac­cep­tance of an­ti­vac­cine sen­ti­ments,” O’Don­nell said. “It’s all just sort of come to a boil­ing point now.”

“With­out ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the sci­en­tific method, all of the tech­nol­ogy that makes this world work — none of it would be pos­si­ble,” he said. “At the end of the day, facts are im­por­tant. And facts come from the sci­en­tific method.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.