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March for Science draws crowds in the rain to support science on Earth Day

Bill Nye "The Science Guy", center, poses for a photos backstage at the March for Science event in Washington, Saturday, April 22, 2017. Thousands of scientists worldwide left their labs to take to the streets Saturday along with students and research advocates in pushing back against what they say are mounting attacks on science. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

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March for Science planned for Saturday; large crowds, road closures expected

With their umbrellas held high in the air, crowds of people gathered on the grounds of the Washington Monument in the pouring rain Saturday to support science.

"We are taking a public stand for science, which for the last few years has come under threat. It's not just Donald Trump, it happened before then," said Dan Abrams, the global director of Earth Day for the Earth Day Network.

Abrams said the March for Science is political but nonpartisan. But many in the crowd protested against President Trump and his administration's environmental and energy policies.

A list of speakers from all walks of life took the stage in the rain and inspired people to take action.

Bill Nye the Science Guy took aim at lawmakers, and told them not to ignore the significance of science.

"I will claim that denying science is a very short-term idea. You're not going to be able to do it for long," Nye said. “Science has always been political, we want it to be used to inform and shape policy.”

Tents were also set up for teach-ins. Twenty-four sessions were held to help educate people on the vital role science plays in the world and actions they can take in their community.

The Earth Day March for Science attracted people from all over. Fred Sylivia came to DC from Iowa, and wore a hat that said, 'There is no Planet B." Sylvia said he’s fearful after seeing proposed cuts to science-based agencies.

"Seeing the EPA basically being defunded and dismantled, hopefully it doesn't go all the way," Sylvia said.

Earth Day Network said the march is the first step in a global movement to defend the role science plays in every day life.

Also leading the march was another familiar face, who is now known as Little Miss Flint. She first stepped into the spotlight, when she wrote a letter to President Barack Obama about the flint water crisis.

“I think this march is very much about the bipartisan need….I think that we have to be careful to ever think that it’s partisan,” said Megan Smith, who was President Obama’s Chief Technology Officer.

Throughout the march, people held signs that made a political statement. Many of those messages were directed at President Donald Trump, urging him to provide federal funding to organizations that rely on science.

“I don’t like the fact that we have people in power who don’t recognize the very valid science,” said demonstrator James Ramsey.

“I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!” said President Trump in a tweet on Saturday afternoon.

Over 22,000 people indicated on a Facebook event for the march that they were interested in attending.

The mission of the nonpartisan march, which coincides with Earth Day, is to rally in support of “evidence-based policymaking, science education, research funding, and inclusive and accessible science,” organizers write on the event’s website.

Over 425 satellite marches were also planned across the country in addition to the D.C. event, according to the website.

The march started at 2:00 p.m. on Constitution Avenue Northwest between 15th and 17th Streets.

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