Today is Earth Day, and scientists, environmentalists and concerned citizens in London took the occasion to unite in a “March for Science”. The rally was just one of about 600 taking place in cities across the globe amid anxiety over what many regard as the growing political assault against facts and scientific evidence.

This first ever “March for Science” is advocating for robustly funded and publicly communicated scientific knowledge as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. Participants say they want political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies for the public good, and to safeguard the scientific community.

The London march got underway at Victoria Park at 10:00 this morning. The local event is a satellite march to the main one taking place in Washington, D.C., where thousands of people gathered on the grounds of the Washington Monument for a four-hour rally.

The rally was inspired by a Reddit conversation following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The new administration was suggesting funding cuts to various scientific arms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health will see significant funding cuts if the first proposed budget is passed. President Trump has in the past cast doubt on the validity of climate change.

Amanda Moehring, the organizer of the London march and a Western Biology professor, said, “Science is how we cure disease, make airplanes fly, and figured out that the earth revolves around the sun… It’s science that allows us to know what is factually correct. However, even today, some policy-makers show a disdain for science, and that is a serious concern.”

Many Canadians are concerned that policy changes in the U.S. will impact Canada by reducing protection for waterways along the border and stifling scientific advancement worldwide.