Protesting for the Sake of It
It turns out that it’s an anti-geoengineering rally (though there are more letters in the word “geoengineering” than protesters). The focus was on contrails, which according to the lady I spoke with are a part of a vast governmental/corporate program to affect the climate, so we don’t have to bother with lowering emissions - but the biological side-effects are terrible! I later discovered that wikipedia outlines this “chemtrails” conspiracy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemtrail_conspiracy_theory
Curious, and not being one to dismiss seemingly crazy suggestions out of hand, I tried to engage further, but it really just descended into a rant at this point. In the box of protest materials were “information” sheets concerning things people like to protest about - vaccinations, contrails, nuclear power, cars, etc. Clearly, rent-a-protest. She wouldn’t or couldn’t answer any of my (very polite and charming, and not condescending) questions about the science behind their claims. ScienceNow also picked up on this mini-protest: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/02/smattering-of-activists-protest.htmlWhy do people do this? If they want to say “be careful with geoengineering”, then say that. State why, and people will be polite enough to listen. If you’re ranting then you’re going to be ignored. We know science isn’t perfect, but at least scientists attempt to communicate with the general public. Protesters really have a duty to become informed and stop spreading disinformation and downright lies. We have enough things back in the real world to worry about.