The Scientists’ Climate Strike: Why Is It Important?
Climate scientist Rose Abramoff drove from her home in Knoxville, Tennessee, to the nation’s capital to chain herself to the White House fence. She and other protestors were arrested and then released, but they went back to protest, this time by blockading Interstate 395 in Washington, D.C. They were eventually arrested again. In another instance, scientist Peter Kalmus locked himself onto the door of the JPMorgan Chase building in downtown Los Angeles due to the corporation’s funding of fossil fuel projects. He was also arrested. Thousands of climate scientists from over twenty-five countries took part in these global protests calling for climate change. Why are climate scientists turning to more radical action, fully aware that they risk getting into dire trouble? There is only one answer: the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The IPCC is a body of the U.N. that helps advance knowledge on human-induced climate change. In April, the IPCC Working Group 3 report stated that the last seven years were the hottest ever recorded and the world is set to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius level within the next two decades if corporations and governments do not act. Environmental disaster will strike unless the government plans drastic cuts to carbon emissions. Scientists like Peter Kalmus chose to protest in front of JP Morgan Chase because it funds the newest fossil fuel projects out of all the investment banks in the world. Emissions from current and planned fossil energy infrastructure already exceed twice the amount necessary to push the planet over 1.5 C of global heating. Overall temperatures increasing more than 1.5 C will bring much more intense heat, fire, storms, flooding, and drought than the present 1.2 C. As U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”
What can you do? “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it,” said Martin Luther King Jr. Joining social groups that fight for climate change is a great way to start protesting it. You can also begin by reducing your carbon footprint — the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions you are responsible for. Some ways to reduce your carbon footprint are:
- Limit meat consumption, especially beef. Select fish from sustainable fishing.
- Carry reusable shopping bags with you, and avoid products with excessive plastic packaging while shopping.
- Turn down the heating by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
- Take shorter showers and turn off the faucet when you are not using it.
- Unplug your electronic equipment. Do not leave your phone on charge when the battery is already full.
- Don’t store unnecessary data in the cloud (learn more about your digital footprint!)
- Select energy-efficient products with an “A” label (EU Energy Label).
- Limit and recycle your waste.
“If the public becomes terrified of what they should be terrified of, then they will make stopping it their top priority,” stated Dr. Peter Kalmus. An increase of 2 degrees Celsius in global temperatures is going to be bad; we cannot sugarcoat an important issue like this. The government will not step up unless individuals, like the climate scientists, step up to fight this issue. We still have a chance to stop this damage. Let us take the opportunity and fight for our planet.