Tay Greenleaf graduated from UNCA with a degree in creative writing and poetry. She spends way too much money on coffee.
Right out of the gate, Trump built a battleground. But the fight wasn't with ISIS. It was with the environment.
It was five days into the presidency when the new administration green-lighted the XL Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, froze grants and contracts with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S department of Agriculture, and called for a media blackout to the National Park Service, especially in regards to climate change. As this act led to online outrage and particularly gratifying acts of defiance from National Park rangers via Twitter, a new protest emerged out of a grassroots effort on reddit.com—to take to the streets for science.
Today, the idea has taken shape. The fast-growing march in D.C. boasts the likes of Bill Nye; Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who discovered lead poisoning in Flint, MI; and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, who helped produce insulin from bacteria. It has also inspired a long list of satellite marches around the nation—Asheville included.
While the march itself is built by scientists and the scientific community, its goals are to reach the greater public. Both marches in D.C and Asheville advocate the use of evidence-based policy, accessible education in the sciences, and diversity in the STEM fields. "We want to explain that science is not just defined by political action," says Luke Shealy, the head organizer for the March for Science in Asheville. "It affects everyone in the community on a daily basis."
And it indeed affects Asheville. Although popularly known for being "Beer City USA," Asheville and the surrounding region have also been host to organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Mountains to Sea Ecological, The Collider, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation (part of the EPA), along with myriad other national parks.
Both marches stress that they are non-partisan. While the current administration has certainly raised greater concern for people and the landscapes that surround them, scientific education has always been an important priority in politics and the community.
The March begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday in Aston Park and ends in Pack Square, where speakers will give lectures on everything from science, health, and agriculture to how to advocate for science as citizens.
“We hope to create a good connection between scientific education and the general public,” says Shealy. Organizers plan to continue to offer free lectures, events, and educational opportunities even after the march.
For more information visit http://ashevillemarchforscience.weebly.com/.
And check out the official March for Science website here: https://www.marchforscience.com/.