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 organizers 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 colorful protest placards.
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 U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign promise to "Make America Great Again." Other signs featured mathematical formulas in a display of geek humor.
While the events were non-partisan according to organizers, many marchers were in effect protesting Trump's proposal to sharply cut federal science and research budgets and his administration's skepticism about climate change and the need to slow global warming.
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.
In Los Angeles, at least 12,000 people joined the March for Science, police said. Some demonstrators walked in lab coats while others shaded themselves under umbrellas and signs as temperatures neared 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).