The last week has been a tumultuous one for environmental activists, who marched en masse on Washington, D.C. Protesters demanded the Trump administration take action against global warming, claiming the president was waging war against science. The gatherings, staged in the nation’s capital as well as across the world, took place as the Environmental Protection Agency removed information about climate change from its official website.
The Guardian reported that nearly 600 marches took place in the United States, Europe, Australia, and South America. The organizers and protestors all shared a common concern – that the world’s greatest economic power would turn its back on numerous accords and treaties intended to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution.
While right-wing politicians have traditionally called the veracity of scientific inquiries into global warming into question, the common consensus among climatologists is that the Earth has begun heating up – in part due to nature, and in part due to the influence of human activities.
The appointment of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency caused panic among the organization’s employees as well as its proponents outside Washington. Pruitt, who had sued the EPA over a dozen times during his tenure as AG, is a vocal skeptic of climate change. He only reluctantly admitted man might be playing a role during his congressional hearing.
“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s a tremendous amount of disagreement about the degree of impact,” said Pruitt in a CNBC interview. “So, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
Many have expected the EPA’s website to change in accordance with the priorities of the Trump administration. Several organizations announced a concerted effort to save information and documents pertaining to global warming which they worried might be destroyed or taken offline by Pruitt’s intra-agency picks.
J.P. Freire, the EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs, explained the webpage’s recent change as a move “to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
A large part of the Trump’s administration vision for the EPA involves returning the agency to its perceived roots as an organization which regulates air and water pollution. Conservatives like Trump and Pruitt have largely been critical of the agency’s wandering bureaucracy, claiming its regulations on emissions and chemical plant safety damage American businesses.
However, people attending the rallies throughout the week didn’t seem specifically interested in what Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt have to say about the environment’s well-being.
Protestors were more concerned with the ramifications of a word they kept chanting: science.
Some marchers began to respond to the chant by calling out, “When do we want it?”
To that, the crowd responded by bellowing, “Following peer review!”