Southern Oregon joins the 'March for Science' on Earth Day

A Merlin resident holds a sign mirroring the Grants Pass 'It's the Climate' sign, which can be seen in the background. Hundreds of residents Marched for Science in Grants Pass on Saturday. (KTVL/Mike Marut)

Grants Pass, Ore. - For Earth Day, southern Oregon residents Marched for Science to try and show President Trump and his administration they want evidence-based environmental policy changes.

"We're angry!" Bob Bath, a science teacher at North Middle School in Grants Pass, said into a megaphone during the march. "This is what grass roots pushback looks like!"

Bath says he teaches his students about climate change despite what Trump's Administration says about it.

"It's a very, very interesting dance, so you make sure the facts entirely back you up," Bath said. "You do bring them up and sometimes it's not fun but you need to do it."

Many residents associate Grants Pass with the 'It's the Climate' sign in town, so it seemed particularly appropriate to hold a March for Science there. One Merlin resident recognized the opportunity and made her own sign saying 'It's the Climate... and it's changing.'

"I was inspired by driving under that sign everyday and well I thought this was perfect to keep it localized because it affects everybody locally," Anita Stafford said.

Many marchers held signs or flags to remind passers-by about the reality of climate change.

NASA says 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree the drastic increase in climate change is extremely likely to be caused by human activity.

"I never thought science would be attacked," Linda Hugle, a former educator and school principal, said. "I mean, conservatives and liberals, we all have been pushing ... STEM education for how long?"

Bath says the March for Science was not just about climate change though, it is for actions based in evidence.

"In part, the March for Science is timed with Earth Day, but yet, at the same time to see these horrible cuts taking place to these federal agencies, to see great scientists laid off that do very, very valuable work to our country is absolutely horrible," Bath said.

He left his audience with that message.

"I don't know about you but I'll see you in 365 days or less!" Bath yelled into the megaphone.

Residents also planned a March for Science in Ashland, but the official event was cancelled due to not meeting event planning regulations set up by Ashland.

Despite the cancellation, some residents still marched to ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum to hear scientists speak up about climate change.

"Scientific peer review has established that our climate is changing," Jamie Stephens, the science director at Klamath Bird Observatory, says. "What we need to focus on now is the policies that we can put in place to remedy the situation and make sure that we are moving things forward in a way that our world can sustain."

Stephens also noted that peer-reviewed science is what allows scientists to continue to answer questions and ask new ones based on previous findings and observations.

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