Miami-Dade County

‘Science not silence’: Hundreds of mad scientists descend on downtown Miami

Hundreds of mad scientists descend on Miami on Earth Day

The afternoon Earth Day rally in downtown Miami was one of hundreds worldwide, from Texas to Greenland, on Saturday, April 22, 2017.
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The afternoon Earth Day rally in downtown Miami was one of hundreds worldwide, from Texas to Greenland, on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

“Mad” scientists descended on downtown Miami on Earth Day.

Instead of beakers and death rays, more than a thousand scientists and science fans carried protest signs reading “A planet is a terrible thing to waste,” “Scientists resist with evidence” and “What do we want? Evidence based science. When do we want it? After peer review.”

The Saturday afternoon rally was one of hundreds worldwide, from Texas to Greenland. The main event, the March for Science in Washington, D.C., drew thousands of people.

Read More: Scientists worldwide leave labs, take to streets to defend research

The goal of the march was to show nonpartisan support for science-based policy, but plenty of the marchers arrived with politics in mind. President Donald Trump’s administration has faced criticism over the validity of information it releases and plans for sweeping cuts to federal science budgets, including a 20 percent slice of the National Institutes of Health.

Terry Mitchell, who said she was there Saturday because her 14-year-old daughter planned to be a scientist one day, said she’s worried about Trump’s policies.

“They’re going to harm us in every single way,” she said. “If he were really a business guy, he would be looking at alternative energy.”

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Protesters wave signs as they prepare for Miami’s March for Science on Saturday in Museum Park. Caitlin Randle crandle@miamiherald.com

Organizers said that it was more than the actions of the current administration that drove them to the streets. Protesters, like retired marine scientist Susan Markley, expressed concern over a societal shift away from science.

“I’m particularly upset that there’s a contempt for science now,” Markley said. “There’s a rejection. It’s described as an elitist approach when that’s not what it is at all.”

Protesters rallied in Museum Park, where speakers Delaney Reynolds, founder of The Sink or Swim Project; Pete Gonzalez of Urban Paradise Guild; astronomer Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego; and state Rep. Daisy Baez talked about the importance of evidence-based policy.

Caroline Lewis of the CLEO Institute, a Pinecrest-based environmental nonprofit, quoted Jane Goodall during her speech.

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy,” she said. “No more apathy. We are becoming warriors, in the name of science.”

One of those warriors is 70-year-old Stephanie Rupp, who said she had two teeth pulled yesterday and chose rallying instead of resting.

Rupp, who also attended the women’s march the day after Inauguration Day, said she was there for her five grandchildren because she was concerned about their future.

Rupp and two of her friends, also 70, march every Tuesday in front of Marco Rubio’s in Doral office with about 100 other people.

“We’re out in the dirty air and the traffic,” she said. “As a native Miamian, I’ve already seen the destruction. I see the water in our roads that’s got nowhere to go. Greed is taking over our country.”

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