On April 29, 2017, the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency, over 200,000 people in Washington DC and over 300,000 across the US joined together at the People’s Climate March in a powerful demonstration of unity for climate action and justice. Okeanos Foundation US joined Pacific Islanders and First Nation groups in Washington to represent the Pacific Islands on the frontline of climate change.
A Vaka Motu float, designed by artist Adam Nawrot and decorated by our Okeanos staff and Pacific Island partners, floated through the crowd who marched their way to the White House and through the Washington Monument. Our team was joined by friends from Hawaii, Tahiti, Marshall Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
One week earlier, on 22 April, Okeanos already took a stand during the March for Science in NYC. Originally based in Washington D.C, the plans for the march soon spread to include over 600 satellite marches. The Okeanos US team proudly carried our traditional sailing canoe replica which was fully outfitted with masts, sails and posters through the streets of New York, from Trump Tower to the Times Square, chanting “Science, Not Silence” and “Science Needs Traditional Knowledge” among the tens of thousands gathered for this unprecedented march.
Marchers congregated to advocate for scientific research and education, raising awareness of the importance of government support for the sciences. Crowds of thousands, featuring all ages and professional backgrounds, came to represent the scientific work that’s most important to them, from cancer research to astrophysics.
In order for the world to effectively fight climate change, Americans demanded that their government stays committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and makes choices that protect the air, land and sea of both Americans and global citizens alike. President Trump has openly discussed pulling out of the Paris Agreement and claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese. With that said, hundreds of thousands of people across the US and around the world have been galvanized to publicly support science and demand climate change action.
The Okeanos vaka replica was also featured in this segment of NY1‘s news coverage: Tens of Thousands March for Science in Manhattan