Almost 1,000 scientists have signed a declaration supporting civil disobedience protests that urge government action on climate change.
“We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law,” Emily Grossman, the first signatory of the declaration and a science broadcaster with a PhD in molecular biology, announced during a protest on Saturday (October 12), according to Reuters. Grossman, accompanied by other signatories, read the declaration outside London’s Science Museum in Kensington.
“We therefore support those who are rising up peacefully against governments around the world that are failing to act proportionately to the scale of the crisis,” she said.
Grossman and the others who drafted the declaration support the Extinction Rebellion, a non-violent environmental pressure group that formed in the UK about a year ago to protest government inaction on the ecological crises caused by climate change. The group, which sparked similar groups in dozens of countries around the world, has had more than 1,400 protesters arrested in London in the last week alone, and police ousted activists from Trafalgar Square on Monday (October 14), the Associated Press reports.
“We can’t allow the role of scientists to be to just write papers and publish them in obscure journals and hope somehow that somebody out there will pay attention,” Julia Steinberger, an ecological economist at the University of Leeds and a lead author of the sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, tells Reuters.
“We need to be rethinking the role of the scientist and engage with how social change happens at a massive and urgent scale,” she says. “We can’t allow science as usual.”
As of Tuesday (October 15), the declaration had 948 signatories.
Ashley Yeager is an associate editor at The Scientist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.