Scientists are banding together to organize a march on Washington in protest of the Trump administration's forceful denial of climate change and other "ideals of science."
The movement began with a group of scientists talking on Reddit about the incoming administration's policies, the Washington Post reports. That gained momentum Tuesday night when the Twitter account of the Badlands National Park posted several messages about the scientific evidence of climate change. Those tweets were later deleted.
“We were inspired (well, infuriated) by the current attacks on science from the new administration,” one of the organizers, science writer and researcher Caroline Weinberg, told the Post. “Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy.”
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied that communications restrictions for those agencies had come from the White House. But federal employee watchdogs say employees are operating in a climate of fear. And the EPA, the Department of Transportation, and Interior Department have all sent orders to employees instructing them to limit or altogether stop responding to press requests and using social media.
Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the Trump administration is mandating that scientific studies and data from the EPA must be reviewed by political staffers before being released to the public.
“From what we can tell, the cloud of Mordor is descending across the federal service,” Jeff Ruch, executive director for the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told Politico.
A Facebook page for the March for Science popped up Wednesday morning:
As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had 16,563 likes. Organizers wrote that they will be meeting this weekend and announcing a date for the march and sister marches around the country soon after. The news has also spurred the creation of Twitter accounts like Rogue NPS, Rogue NASA, and AltUSNatParkService–it's not clear if these accounts are run by NPS and NASA employees, but they say they aim to provide scientific facts while government employees are being prevented from doing so.