We are scientists and academics
who believe we should expose the reality and severity of the climate and ecological emergency by engaging in non-violent civil disobedience. Unless those best placed to understand behave as if this is an emergency, we cannot expect the public to do so. Some believe that appearing “alarmist” is detrimental - but we are terrified by what we see, and believe it is both vital and right to express our fears openly.
The population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have seen an alarming average drop of 68% since 1970, along with an apparent collapse in the pollinator populations. At this rate, ecosystems around the world will collapse well within the lifespan of current generations, with catastrophic consequences for the human kind.
Self-reinforcing feedbacks within the climate system, in which hotter climates cause additional heating (e.g. increased forest fires, thawing permafrost, melting ice) threaten to drive the Earth irreversibly to a hot and uninhabitable state. These effects are being observed decades earlier than predicted, in line with the worst-case scenarios predicted.
Increasingly severe heatwaves, droughts and natural disasters are occurring year after year, while sea levels may rise by several meters this century, displacing hundreds of millions of people living in coastal areas. There is a growing fear amongst scientists that simultaneous extreme weather events in major agricultural areas could cause global food shortages, thus triggering societal collapse. For example, the drought in Syria (2011-2015) destroyed much of the country’s agriculture and livestock, driving millions into cities and sparking a civil war from which the world is still reeling. We face a crisis possibly hundreds of times more severe. To be informed is to be alarmed.
Current actions and plans are grossly inadequate, and even these obligations are not being met. The rate of environmental destruction closely tracks economic growth, which leads to us extracting more resources from Earth than are regenerated. Governments and corporations aim to increase growth and profits, inevitably accelerating the destruction of life on Earth.
- To achieve decarbonisation on the required scale demands economic degrowth, at least in the short term. This does not necessarily require a reduction in living standards.
- For a just transition, the cost of degrowth must be paid for by the wealthiest, who have benefited enormously from the current destructive world order, while others have faced the consequences.
- A just transition to a sustainable system requires the wealth from the 1% to be used for the common benefit.
The most effective means of achieving systemic change in modern history is through non-violent civil resistance. We call on academics, scientists and the public to join us in civil disobedience to demand emergency decarbonisation and degrowth, facilitated by wealth redistribution.
Living Planet Report 2020
https://www.zsl.org/sites/default/files/LPR 2020 Full report.pdf
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