Residents of the Lehigh Valley gather for a rally on January 21, 2017, at Payrow Plaza outside of Bethlehem City Hall. The March for Science will be on April 22, 2017, hosted by Lehigh Valley for All. (Courtesy of Lehigh Valley For All)

First March for Science comes to Bethlehem

Lehigh Valley for All is hosting a March for Science outside Bethlehem’s City Hall April 22.
Bethlehem’s satellite march, one of the 430 marches worldwide, will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. and is a public protest for science in policy making, environmental issues, sustainability and supporting science education. One of the goals of the march is to raise a hand in communal support rejecting President Donald Trump’s budget cuts and to educate members of the community on federal policies.
“Bethlehem’s March for Science, which is really more of a rally, is the first step in a progressive platform that will allow voters to become more aware of events occurring in the government around them,” said Ginny Atwell, the co-chair of the Lehigh Valley for All events committee.
The March for Science will have kids participate in activities such as planting vegetables and making friendship bracelets out of recycled plastic. A variety of speakers will also be present, such as a member of the Bethlehem City Council, the director of conservation and animal welfare at the Lehigh Valley Zoo and a lobbyist from Cedar Crest Climate Commission.
Support for the main March for Science held in Washington D.C. is in response to Trump’s first budget request to Congress.
Trump’s budget calls for an 18 percent cut — a drop from $31.7 billion to $25.9 billion — to the National Institute for Health. NIH is a biomedical community that trains scientists in developing countries. The cuts also include a major reorganization of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers as well as eliminating the Fogarty International Center, which helps guard the health of Americans from emerging diseases.
“Though the federal cuts haven’t been passed and might not go through at all, people should be aware of the devastating effects that could result from Trump’s new policies,” said Sharon Friedman, the director of the science and environmental writing program at Lehigh. “The Environmental Protection Agency will be affected. Anyone depending on federal research grants, and especially research universities like Lehigh, will feel the brunt of the cuts if Trump’s proposed plan is accepted.”
Friedman suggests students host their own rallies on campus if they are not inclined to attend Bethlehem’s at Payrow Plaza. Students can also tweet their awareness of events and raise public outcry.
Leah Charash, ’19, an environmental engineer, is interning with the Department of Forestry this summer. As a result of the budget cuts, Charash said she will now be paid half as much as she was previously offered.
“The march isn’t just for science,” Charash said. “This is about more. The march is about getting people to see that being aware of distant federal policies can directly affect them.”

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