Scientists endorse Extinction Rebellion protests

1st November 2019

Web p5 protest credit alamy

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Christopher Mansell

More than 1,000 scientists from at least 20 countries – and counting – have signed a declaration of support for the non-violent climate protests taking place across the world.

It states that government failure over the climate crisis justifies peaceful protest, “even if this goes beyond the bounds of the law“. Biologists, physicists and climate experts are among the signatories, along with scientists who have contributed to the UN-backed International Panel on Climate Change.

“As scientists, we have an obligation that extends beyond merely describing and understanding the natural world to taking an active part in helping to protect it,“ the declaration states.

“We support those who are rising up peacefully against governments around the world that are failing to act proportionately to the scale of the crisis.“ The declaration was drafted shortly before civil disobedience campaign Extinction Rebellion (XR) brought parts of London to a standstill last month, with similar scenes witnessed internationally.

Thousands of arrests took place across more than 20 cities, including New York, Toronto, Sydney, Amsterdam and Brussels, after activists blockaded key sites and chained themselves to vehicles.

XR also gained support from teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has helped mobilise millions of young people to take part in student climate strikes this year.

However, the protests have also drawn criticism, with some warning that the radical and disruptive nature of XR's movement could turn public sentiment away from tackling climate change.

There have also been accusations that XR has a race and class problem, with the majority of protesters in London from white, middle-class backgrounds. Some fear that a perceived 'movement for the rich' could spark a backlash.

The scientific community has tried for more than four decades to draw attention to the climate crisis using conventional methods, with no government action thus far able to sufficiently curtail emissions, according to the declaration.It calls on individuals holding a master's degree or more in a science-related field to show support for non-violent climate protests by signing the document.

“We believe it is our moral duty to act now, and we urge other scientists to join us,“ says the declaration.

You can sign the declaration of support here:

Picture credit: Alamy


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