Washington progressives to hold Earth Day march for environment

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, April 20, 2017

Science lovers in “little” Washington will join with those in Washington, D.C., for the upcoming March for Science on Saturday.

Across the country, marches are being held in 400 locations, in 37 different countries. Hosted by Beaufort County Indivisible, a progressive group, and the Pamlico-Albemarle Wildlife Conservationists, Washington’s will take place at 10 a.m. on the waterfront.

“While scientists generally stay away from politics, the antagonism many politicians have expressed toward science has prompted them to take a stand,” Attila Nemecz, Beaufort County Indivisible organizer and president of PAWC, wrote in a press release. “At risk are millions of dollars in funding for research and monitoring in areas of public health, the environment, energy development and agriculture.”

According to the March for Science website, the march is a “call to political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” The website states that the application of science is not a partisan issue, but should influence policy and guide long-term decision making.

“(The march) was initiated at the beginning of this year by scientists who have just seen the decline in enthusiasm for science,” Nemecz said. “We’re hoping to restore that — that it’s OK for people to stand up and say, ‘I believe pollution is real;’ ‘I believe in climate change.’”

Nemecz referred to the ongoing court battle between environmental advocate Sound Rivers and the mining company that wants to discharge up to 12 million gallons of freshwater per day into the headwaters of Blounts Creek.

“Even Martin Marietta has said, ‘Yes, we’re going to change the creek,’ but they just don’t think it matters,” he said.

Nemecz said Beaufort County Indivisible’s membership started to plan their own march after realizing the closest events were in Raleigh and Wilmington, and eastern North Carolina wasn’t represented.

“This is where the impact is, right? We live in a place where climate change is going to have real effects. A Martin Marietta Mine is going to have real effects,” Nemecz said. “We’re the people that it affects, and it’s some of our representatives that seem the least interested in believing in science. It matters here.”

The local march is focused on the environment, in honor of Earth Day, he said. Speakers at the march will include Mary Farwell, director of undergraduate research at East Carolina University, Philip Ninan, chief scientific officer for eMind Science Corp, Jennifer Alligood, board member of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and Ed Rhine, one of the founders of “Save Blounts Creek,” a consortium of Blounts Creek residents, business owners, fishermen, environmentalists and more who have supported Sound Rivers’ efforts to redirect Martin Marietta practices.

The march will begin at Crab Park at the west end of Stewart Parkway at 10 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring signs and instruments.

“We’re going to try to make some noise,” Nemecz said.