Environment Magazine

Action, Not Just Science

Posted on the 25 February 2019 by Bradshaw @conservbytes

Action, not just scienceIt has taken me a long time to decide to do this, but with role models like Claire Wordley, Alejandro Frid, and James Hansen out there, I couldn’t really find any more excuses.

Yes, I’ve been a strong advocate for action on biodiversity, environment and climate-change issues for a long time, and I’ve even had a few political wins in that regard with my writing and representation. I’ve even called out more than once for universities to embrace divestment from fossil fuels (to my knowledge, even my own university still has not).

While I still think these avenues are important, my ongoing observation is that things are getting worse politically, not better. That means that the normal armchair advocacy embraced by even the most outspoken academics is probably not going to be enough to elicit real political change that we — no, the planet — desperately needs.

Action, not just science
It is for this reason that I’ve joined the Extinction Rebellion (South Australia Chapter), especially after my friend and colleague, Dr Claire Wordley of the University of Cambridge, joined the UK Rebellion and wrote about her experiences on this very blog. That, coupled with my ongoing and mounting concern for the future Earth my daughter will inherit, requires me to take to the streets.

And so I can, and will. My first real climate-change protest will see me chaperone my daughter during the School Strike for Climate that will take place in Adelaide on 14 March. I will be acting both as a parent of a very concerned young student (my daughter), and also as an educator and scientist from a major university.

But I’ve now also joined the South Australia Chapter of the Extinction Rebellion, including partaking in the planning activities that will see us first present in front of Parliament, then the Adelaide Advertiser, followed by a general demonstration in Tarntanyangga. All this will occur the following week on 22 March, and it is here that we will be making our declaration to the people and government of South Australia that we are well past the time to negotiate what to do — we have to have the strongest possible climate-mitigation policies in place yesterday, not tomorrow.

Extinction Rebellion also represents a lot more than just climate-change action. The key word of course is extinction, and as any reader of this blog will know, we are smack in the middle of the world’s sixth mass extinction. Climate change is apocalyptic, for sure, but it is merely one (strong) driver of extinctions among many. I worry for the species that make human life possible, and it is this second reason that I have decided to protest and engage in civil disobedience. There seems to be no other way to make the majority of our Luddite pollies listen (and even this pathway will be challenging).

Action, not just science

So, if you care for biodiversity, are worried that society and government are not doing enough to tackle the climate emergency, or are concerned about the state of the environment in general, I encourage you to sign up and meet us out in the field on 22 March (we’re also on Twitter — spread the word far and wide, please). The more professional environmentalists, the better, because it shows that the people who should know best are now out of other options. We’ve written the manifesto a million times over — now it’s time to raise our fists.

CJA Bradshaw

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