More than 100 people gathered at Harper McCaughan Town Green on Saturday afternoon with a single goal — to show their support for science. The messages of those who made the 1-mile trek to the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus were varied, however.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast March for Climate Science was one of three planned in the state in observance of Earth Day. The Associated Press reported marches were held in Oxford and Jackson.
The marches, associated with a national march Saturday in Washington, are a grassroots response to President Donald Trump’s budget cuts to the EPA and other science-based organizations.
Jessi James of Biloxi is a marine biologist at USM’s Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs. She said she was marching in Long Beach for several reasons.
“I’m a scientist and we want to help bring awareness to things such as climate-change denial,” she said. “These are real problems that we are facing, regardless if some people don’t believe it.”
She said she also is marching to bring awareness to the great quantity of plastic products the world uses.
“We need to drastically reduce our usage of plastic and plastic product,” she said. “This is having an adverse effect on our ecology — especially on our Gulf, where it is harming the marine life.”
Amanda Michaela also works at GCRL. She said she was making the march for both science and equal rights.
“I’m doing this because I want female scientists to be paid as the same men,” she said.
Forrest Gibson of St. Martin was another participant. He said the proposed budget cuts to the EPA and other agencies could harm South Mississippi.
“If Trump cuts the budget for science organizations, it could mean some people on the Coast would be out of work at the Research Lab,” he said. “I don’t want to see people lose their jobs.”