A weekend in the West Country – Earth day, Italian classics and the Bristol March for Science

A beautiful morning in the South-West of England and I wake up to see rows upon rows of Italian masterpieces. Vespa, Alfa Romeo, Ducati, Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Lambretta and more were all lined up along the pavements.

After a brief spell ducking and weaving through leather-clad, middle-aged men and locals snapping away on their iPhones I spring free of the commotion in the narrow streets of Bristol. Whilst heading for Cathedral Square on my way to the Clifton suspension bridge, I run amock of yet another swarm of people.

How very irritating.

But instead of grasping helmets and cups of coffee, this bunch had placards hoisted high and megaphones clutched to their chest. Children were dressed as astronauts while adults had dusted off their favourite lab coat and were holding signs which said things like;

  • YAY SCIENCE
  • NA+Cl-/Science – Science is under assault!
  • Science, kicking religion’s arse since 1859

In all shapes and sizes, people of all ages and backgrounds had congregated in their best geeky attire and it seemed like every science-lover in the south of England had turned up.

But, why?

You don’t see history buffs walking through Wigan on a Saturday, do you?

The ‘Bristol March for Science’ was today, on the 22nd of April 2017. Bristol is a previous European Green Capital and today is Earth day, after all. What better time and place to have a friendly protest to collectively flick the bird to a man with bad hair sitting in a big house nearly 4,000 miles away.

In such a tumultuous time in human in history, the 45th president of the US has previously called climate change a “hoax” and now, the UK is leaving the EU, a source of billions of pounds of investment for scientific research and developments. Let’s not even get into the benefits of international staff from the EU…

With Theresa May calling for the general election on the 8th June and the (disastrous) referendum result last June, times are changing. Science hasn’t faced this level of uncertainty in decades, and today was a typically polite, plucky and late response from the UK folk.

As for the rest of my Saturday? I made it to the Clifton suspension bridge, took a few photos and had a contemplative beer. Brunel designed the bridge in the 1830’s using the science and technology of the time, and there have been some incredible developments in science and technology from the UK since then.

Wouldn’t it be nice to not go backwards.

 

 

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