As rain pounds the pavement along Columbus Circle, small clusters of New Yorkers gather at the foot of Trump International Hotel, posters in hand. It’s 3:00 PM, Earth Day, and the March for Science is well underway.
Rebecca Lysen, a 35-year-old senior creative director at a Chelsea ad agency, brought her son Orion to the March with his own sign. “I want him to see this when he’s older so I can tell him, ‘You stood up for this’.” This is their second march. They also attended the Women’s March in D.C. earlier this year. She says she’s still surprised marches like these are necessary. “I’m here because I believe in science,” she said. “But I can’t believe that even has to be said. Needing science is like breathing air.”
William Tester started life as a creative writer and professor at Columbia University, but over the years his passion brought him to a new life as an arborist. Growing up on a farm in Florida, he is no stranger to the value of nature. Now 56, he regularly attends protests and marches. “I believe sitting at home and being an armchair activist on Facebook isn’t enough,” he said. “We have to put the fear of God in our representatives, and show them we’re serious about this.”
Eldon Payne, 7, attended the march with his mother and his own homemade sign. He decided upon the design in honor of Earth Day. His reason for attending? “I want a clean Earth,” he said. And with a nod to the rain, he added: “And I want it to be more like Hawaii.”
Susan Gardner and Bruce Brooks, Brooklyn artists and a couple of 36 years, have been marching together since the Vietnam War. “We marched against every war,” Gardner, 75, said. “We also write letters and keep signs on our door. It just has to be done.” Brooks, 69, has the simplest reason of all for attending the march. “There is no Planet B,” he said.
A young girl holds a poster emblazoned with the words, “Science is my Superpower,” while her friend stands in costume nearby. “They’ve been to ten marches so far,” said Talia Braude, the mother of 3-year-old Rian in the background. “They’re experts now.”
A group of young girls huddled together in the plaza with handmade posters, occasionally broke into song and dance.