Chilly weather did not deter a crowd from marching along Joplin's Main Street Saturday to promote policies and laws based on the best science.
A group of about 50 people showed up in downtown Joplin with signs urging legislators to take climate change seriously and to take the necessary steps to make the environment cleaner for future generations. They ended the march at Spiva Park, where they gathered to continue their advocacy.
“I feel like in this political climate, science has been denied a lot,” said Sabrina Madewell, 21, of Miami, Oklahoma. “So I feel like people need to stand up for science because it needs to not be a debate."
Madewell, a student at Missouri Southern State University, was marching with friends and carrying a sign that read: “Facts should be peer-reviewed, not ‘alternative.’”
“Science can’t be ignored; you can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist, because science is everything we do,” Madewell said.
The event was organized by Southwest Missouri Democrats, who defended the role of science in determining public policy.
The march was one of many across the country and around the world over the weekend.
Krista Stark, executive director at Southwest Missouri Democrats and one of the organizers, was leading the crowd.
“What do we do when clean air is under attack?” she yelled.
“Stand up and fight back,” shouted the marchers.
“Science will not be silenced," others said in response.
Stark said that they don’t believe legislators have been doing enough to ensure clean water, clean air and clean soil for the community. She said that Southwest Missouri has been struggling to protect its water and soil.
Shelby Horn, 75, who grew up near the Kentucky River, said he used to go fishing there as a child, but 65 years later, he said, the river is unrecognizable because of all the plastic bottles and trash.
“We ate fish from the river, but I wouldn’t eat one now from it because it’s so polluted,” Horn said. “It’s sickening.”
At the end of the march, several booths were displayed at Spiva Park with science activities and demonstrations for children.