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Protesters March For Science In St. Pete

Apr 24, 2017

St. Petersburg played host to a regional offshoot of the March for Science on Saturday morning. 

By 10 a.m., Poynter Park was a blazing 86 degrees. But that didn't stop a group of Bay Area scientists, activists, and community members from protesting recent legislation impacting the scientific community and the environment.

The heat even became a talking point.

“We are here because the president believes that climate change is a hoax while the scientific community is confident that climate change is real, that it is caused by human interference, and that it demands solutions,” said David Hastings, Professor of Marine Science at Eckerd College.

In his address to the crowd, Hastings argued that we're living in a scary time, one in which science is being disregarded.

“We are here because we support sound science. We support policies based on sound science. Based on data. And truth. To enact any other policies is unsafe,” he said.

Everywhere there were handmade signs:

"Science is real. Deal."

"It's not nice to frack with Mother Nature."

"There is no Planet B."

Other speakers included former Gov. Charlie Crist, St. Pete City Council Chairwoman Darden Rice, and other members of the USF scientific community. Around 11 a.m., the crowd made its way down Third Street South and then back toward Poynter Park for a meet and greet with local scientists and researchers.

Regina Morrissey, a St. Pete resident, expressed dissatisfaction with a number of recent environmental policy decisions, including “legislation to remove requirements to keep our rivers clean.”

“The Dakota Pipeline action seemed mean-spirited,” Morrissey said.

Yvette Hammett, another protestor, said she's against proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I think what’s happening with the EPA is what got me really fired up,” Hammett said. “Climate is a huge issue and we cannot afford to sit on our hands for four years.”

President Trump's budget plan would reduce EPA funding by around 30 percent.