“We’ve been trying to warn you” were the words of NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus. He and other scientists chained themselves to the JP Morgan Chase building in Los Angeles on April 6. His trembling and worried voice reached the world through the media in an attempt to warn everyone of the “catastrophe” we are headed towards.
He is not alone. That week, thousands of scientists all over the globe from over twenty-five countries emerged to participate in the Scientist Rebellion, a branch of the Extinction Rebellion that organizes civil disobedience for climate action.
Protesters in Madrid threw red paint on the steps of the Spanish Parliament to speak for those who had lost their lives fromthe climate crisis and demand climate action.
Rose Abramoff from Knoxville, Tennessee, chained herself to the White House to demand immediate climate action and to stop burning fossil fuels. The scientists and protesters were met with arrest; many scientists, like Rose Abramoff, had never engaged in civil disobedience before.
This uproar of scientists demanding climate action begs an important question: How critical of a situation are we really in? Why are scientists risking their lives, reputations, and jobs to demand climate action? And why are governments still disregarding the evidence and research of scientists?
Peter Kalmus and other scientists wrote a letter to President Biden to demand an immediate end to new fossil fuel developments in the United States. The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to skyrocketing gas prices which forced the Biden administration to agree to increase U.S. natural gas exports. Environmentalists are now protesting against this energy setback. The country is moving in the opposite direction; instead of striving toward renewable energy, we may be heading toward increased dependency once again on fossil fuels.
The world has witnessed climate crises more vividly than ever: destructive wildfires, floods, storms, droughts, water scarcity, food deserts, and more. And at our current rate, 1.5-degree warming limits are looking like nothing but empty promises.
We are running out of time. We are fighting something, as Kalmus puts it, “bigger than any one of us.” It’s time our ears are open to the scientists and their research because we need immediate climate action.
By Julianne Park, Mock COP volunteers