The Earth Day March

Across the world, people marched to celebrate Earth Day and to call attention to our planet’s needs and the role of science in our lives. Many marched in rain or snow.

The weather in California was balmy. Neither too hot nor too cold. We met on the university campus at what was called the free speech area in the 1960s. Today it goes by a more neutral name. Tables of exhibits adorned the area, illustrating a variety of topics, from brewing to solar ovens to natural history to…well, you name it. Even so, the display of topics could barely touch how¬†much we depend on science and a healthy planet for our daily needs. A few short speeches prepared us, with the mayor reminding us that Republicans weren’t originally against science, having introduced among such things as the Environmental Protection Agency.

We took up our signs and according to instructions, marched on the right-hand sidewalks, giving respect to traffic lights. Some drivers passed, tooting their approval. One guy stopped at the red light and played his horn to the tune of Tequila. I estimate about 500 of us took to the sidewalks with our signs, so it took us about an hour to march, which increased our public exposure. Some wore costumes, the like of which I’ve never seen. One was a balloon dinosaur with a marcher inside. Another was an eight-foot tall mother earth figure. I expect the person inside must have held her up with a stake. My favorite was a guy in medieval chain mail with a metal helmet. His sign said we must not go back to the dark ages.

The signs were clever. The spirit was cheery. The intent was serious. Men, women, and children–and a few dogs took part. A perfect day for a march and with hope that we can make a difference.

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