Occasionally, drastic measures are essential to mobilize a population toward necessary progress. Civil disobedience is a proven method of affecting change, and when those disobeying are all experts in a field, we can bet that what they’re saying is worth listening to.
The largest demonstration of its kind
This was the “world’s largest-ever scientist-led disobedience campaign.” The protest’s aim was to send an urgent international message about the ecological crisis, claiming a “climate revolution” is the only way to avoid major societal harm from climate change.
The protest was organized in light of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sharing the shortcomings of governments and organizations worldwide to limit global warming by 1.5˚C.
Education and awareness have fallen short of moving governments and corporations to adequate changes. Scientists had to take a different approach. Last Wednesday, they chained themselves to the doors of oil-friendly banks, occupied the steps of government buildings, and blocked bridges, hoping their warnings will be taken seriously.
“I’m taking action to urge governments and society to stop ignoring the collective findings of decades of research,” said Dr. Rose Abramoff, a climate scientist. “Let’s make this crisis impossible to ignore.”
Climate protesters in Los Angeles stood up in support of these scientists and chained themselves to JPMorgan Chase, the biggest private funder of oil and gas initiatives globally. Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist who was at the L.A. protest stated: “I’m taking action because I feel desperate. It’s the 11th hour in terms of Earth breakdown, and I feel terrified for my kids, and terrified for humanity.”
Kalmus continued: “World leaders are still expanding the fossil fuel industry as fast as they can, but this is insane. The science clearly indicates that everything we hold dear is at risk, including even civilization itself and the wonderful, beautiful, cosmically precious life on this planet. I actually don’t get how any scientist who understands this could possibly stay on the sidelines at this point.”
LA was not the only major city to see protests. Demonstrators in Washington D.C. chained themselves to the White House fence. In Madrid, red paint was thrown over the steps of the Congress of Deputies, and in Berlin people blocked a bridge near the parliament building.
According to organizers, dozens of these activists were arrested for this display of disobedience. In the past, great societal changes such as the Civil Rights Movement have been driven by impassioned demonstrations such as these, and hopefully these climate protests will have a similar effect.