Yesterday afternoon, the New York Times broke the story that the EPA was forbidding its scientists to speak at the Narragansett Bay Watershed workshop in Providence. One of the forbidden scientists was supposed to have been the keynote speaker. The story was quickly picked up by the Washington Post, Reuters, Fox News, The Hill, the Providence Journal (which led with it today), and other news outlets.

By late evening, Justin (of CARI) and Lauren (of the Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition) had hatched a plan for a protest at the workshop venue, Save the Bay. The protest would be called for 10:45am the next day, aligned with the workshop’s opening press conference which would be attended by Rhode Island’s full Congressional delegation. A Facebook event was created at 10:45pm (just 12 hours before the event time!), and emails were sent to the Resist Hate RI and CARI mailing lists. We thought that perhaps 5 or at most 10 people would show up; after all, it’s not that easy to sneak out of work or school on the middle of a Monday morning with essentially no advance notice, right?

Even some of the signs were gagged.

Boy, were we gratified to arrive at the venue and find a crowd of more than 30 students, scientists, teachers, retired folks, long-time activists, and newly activated citizens from all over Rhode Island, fired up with righteous anger and ready to protest! Over the course of the event, over 40 turned up. We gagged ourselves with bandanas and masking tape to dramatize the silencing that our government is perpetrating. When the spirit moved us to break our silence, we chanted:

CO2, CH4,
Earth can’t take it anymore!

and

Hey hey, ho ho,
Fossil fuels have got to go

Ho ho, hey hey,
Un-gag the EPA!

We greeted our Congressional representatives as they approached, mostly with applause, but also with shouted pleas to do more to oppose fossil-fuel projects here at home. (They seemed to pay more attention to the applause.)

We spoke with reporters representing media outlets including WPRO, WJAR-10 Sinclair, EcoRI and RI Future. Hopefully some of the great images and messages from our event will filter out into the national media coverage of the Trump administration’s assault on science, health, truth, and our shared future.


Press Coverage