Several demonstrators recounted how they had “woken up” from decades of feeling steamrolled by corporate science and the out-of-control technologies that had brought planet Earth to its knees. Many were angry about decades of vacant reassurances about the resilience of our planet and of human health. They were not satisfied that cancer rates were still rising, even if survival rates are improving; that neurological disorders and depression are increasing, even if we have new drugs on the horizon. One flyer being handed out noted:
“Corporate governments declare that we should not be alarmed about the air pollution, water pollution, shortages of fresh water, flooding and drought, nuclear radiation, gene spliced crops, pesticides and herbicides, processed foods and pharmaceuticals, mountain top removal and strip mining and increasing rates of ecological destruction, deforestation and species extinction. We are tired of rationalization after rationalization about technology being our salvation, about all progress coming from science, about science and engineering being able to solve all of our problems.”
The creationists felt they were finally being heard, standing on common ground even with some secular humanists, united by concerns about poor stewardship by soul-less corporate beings and corrupt government. Atheists, marching alongside Mennonites and Muslims, lamented how the entire society had been corrupted and demoralized for the sake of profits and consumerism. The organizers said it was time for technology to be called out and scientists and engineers to be held accountable. Some of the heretics held signs saying that “Science is not the only way of “knowing” and “The Return of Humanity.” The National Academy of Sciences had not stood up, they asserted, to protect the Earth and its inhabitants. It had gone along with “business as usual,” obsessed with keeping “the economy” running and with asserting that science was truth and superior to all other ways of knowing, including religion, including intuition, including alternative medicine, including poetry, music, art and the humanities.
As one of the participants observed, “What began as a quirky, marginalized movement of anti-intellectuals has unified many diverse groups in understanding that our society is in a death spiral of greed. Too much human and non-human sacrifice is being required at the altars of capitalism and the technologies it rides, for the benefit of the few.” She noted that “The ‘enlightenment’ was a struggle between rational scientists and irrational religion. Today, instead, the problem is the treadmill created by capitalism and technology. Materialism, not mysticism, is running amok and threatening our future. Today, we are witnessing the results of corporate science and technology, unconstrained by ethics, conscience and reason. We cannot let this doomsday scenario continue to unravel our world.”