WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO: Tens of thousands of people turned out in cities across the United States and beyond on Saturday for Earth Day events billed as a "celebration of science" to counter what organisers say is a growing disregard for evidence-based knowledge in Washington.
In hundreds of 'March for Science' events from Boston to Sydney, Australia, engineers, researchers and teachers took a break from the lab to apply their ingenuity to colourful protest placards.
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Demonstrators carried signs like "There Is No Planet B," "No One Is Above Peer Review," "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Make Science Great Again," a play on US President Donald Trump's campaign promise to "Make America Great Again." Other signs featured mathematical formulas in a display of geek humour.
The marches put a new twist on the traditional Earth Day activities, the aim of which was to reaffirm "the vital role science plays in our democracy," according to the march's website.
Festivities at one of the largest events on Washington's National Mall included scientific "teach-ins" and musical performances.
"It's important to show this administration that we care about facts," said Chris Taylor, 24, who was part of an early crowd of about 15,000 who gathered on Washington's Mall for teach-ins on topics like climate change, water quality and sustainable food.
"It just seems like they're not really concerned about economic growth or creating new technologies, just catering to massive corporations," said Taylor, who is earning a PhD in robotics at George Mason University in Virginia.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday's marches, but Trump released a statement on his approach to environmental issues.
"My administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment," Trump said.
"Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection," said the president, who passed dozens of protesters as his motorcade made its way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington.
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