Scientists Are Planning Their Own March on Washington for Earth Day 2017

The Women's March on Washington brought an estimated 500,000 people into the streets of the nation's capital. Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Getty Images
The Women's March on Washington brought an estimated 500,000 people into the streets of the nation's capital. Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, which by several experts' estimates drew about three times the crowd as did President Donald Trump's inauguration the day before, may have emboldened another group that feels threatened by the new president.

Many in the scientific community seem rattled by the some of the Trump administration's early moves, including an apparent imposition of a social media and press release blackout at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the likelihood that EPA researchers now will have to submit findings for prepublication approval before sharing information outside the agency. Additionally, the agency has been instructed to remove climate change research and data from its website, Reuters reports.

A recent discussion on Reddit has spawned an effort to organize a pro-science march on the nation's capital. Organizers already have set up a website and a "March for Science" Facebook page, as well as the Twitter account @ScienceMarchDC, which in just a few days has amassed a huge and growing following (more than 54,000 followers at the time of this article's publication). The nascent organization is also soliciting volunteers to help with the nuts and bolts of setting up the event.

The Washington Post reports that the event's organizers will hold a virtual meeting this weekend, in an effort to develop a plan. The group has tweeted that it will set the official date of the march next week. [UPDATE: The March for Science will take place on Earth Day, which is Saturday, April 22, 2017.]

A statement on the Scientists' March on Washington website denounces the idea of restricting scientists from communicating results from their tax-supported research, which they say is a nonpartisan issue that "should concern anyone who values empirical research and science."