Winnipeggers to walk for science on Earth Day

Manitoba scientists will be marking Earth Day by marching in solidarity with their U.S. counterparts.

March shows solidarity with U.S. scientists protesting Donald Trump’s stance on climate change

Scientists rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, September 16, 2013. There will be a march in Winnipeg on April 22. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Manitoba scientists will be marking Earth Day by marching in solidarity with their U.S. counterparts.

The March for Science on April 22 will see Winnipeggers join with scientists around the world to protest President Donald Trump's stance on climate change and on science. Thousands of people are expected to show up for the march in Washington while other marches are planned throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Organizer and director of Science First Nathan Zahn said they are hoping for hundreds to take to the streets in Winnipeg.

"If the Americans don't follow through on their climate change commitments, are not following the good science and evidence-based policy, their policy will really impact Canada and the rest of the world," he said.

Zahn said there could be major consequences for the world, particularly after Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has questioned the science of climate change, was chosen to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Trump has said he'd like to eliminate the agency and gut environmental policies.

"In terms of science that is respected around the world to have a climate change denier leading the EPA was a giant red flag," Zahn said.

Trump himself dismissed global warming as a hoax created by China to weaken U.S. business and during his election campaign promised to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement which aims to cut CO2 emissions in an effort to reduce the pace at which the planet is warming.  

Canada has experience tackling the "muzzling of scientists," Zahn added, and could have valuable insight. According to a Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada in 2013, hundreds of federal scientists said they had been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-scientific reasons, and thousands said they had been prevented from responding to the media or the public.

Zahn said some American scientists are reaching out to groups in Canada about their advocacy work during the Harper government.

The March for Science will be the latest in a line of big protests around the world after Trump became president. Zahn said he hopes the Earth Day march will be just as large because "it really affects everyone's lives every day."