Rebellious Scientists Issue Urgent Appeal

Robert Hunziker, Alex Kirby

Robert Hunziker, Alex Kirby

On October 31, 2018, a select group of UK scientists launched a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government at the Houses of Parliament: “For criminal inaction in the face of climate change catastrophe and ecological collapse.”

 

According to the scientists, now is the time to act as a planetary emergency is already upon us.

 

Nearly 100 British scientists, academics and writers are willing to go to jail to make their point that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is a surefire provocateur that’s already starting to decimate ecosystems.

 

Additionally, these scientists also launched ExtinctionRebellion, an international movement that will use mass civil disobedience to force governments to immediately establish a WWII-type effort to fight climate change.

 

Yes, civil disobedience is the way forward, as the group promises: “Repeated acts of disruptive, non-violent civil disobedience” if the government does not respond seriously to demands, and they anticipate “there will be mass arrests”.

 

Similar in tone to early American rebels like ‘Give me Liberty or Give me Death” Patrick Henry of American Revolution circa late 18th century, these rebel scientists are willing to make personal sacrifices, to be arrested, to go to prison, as they firmly believe it’s proper to start a planetary emergency global effort in the UK where the industrial revolution commenced. Essentially, full circle back to the beginnings of the fossil fuel era.

 

According to ExtinctionRebellion the sixth mass extinction is already strutting its mettle in spunky fashion. For example, a recent Worldwide Fund for Nature report claims a wipeout of 60% of animal populations has already occurred over the past 50 years alone.

 

All of which begs the provocative question: What does it imply for the next 50 years as climate change / global warming indicators firmly crank up to rapid-acceleration mode, in some cases exponentially? Thus, the next 50 yrs zoom-zoom will be supercharged. What then?

 

For example, an extremely alarming new study, ‘Climate-Driven Declines in Arthropod Abundance Restructure a Rainforest Food Web’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals a mind-boggling cataclysmic falloff, up to 60-fold, of the “food web” in tropical rainforests with temps up 2.0-to-2.5°C over baseline, indicative of an ecosystem in early stages of disintegration.

 

A falloff of “up to 60-fold” is extremely difficult to fathom. It’s almost like an out of body experience from far above, watching rainforests, over time, crumble into thousands of piles of grey dust in a dark nightmarish dream sequence.

 

The climate is changing much faster than nature normally functions because human-charged climate change works against the regular flow of nature, leaving it choking /gasping / disintegrating in the dust.

 

Ecosystems from the Arctic to Antarctica are starting to crumble right before our eyes, but nobody lives where it happens. So, nobody sees it first-hand, as for example:

 

  • Vavilov Ice Cap (700 sq. miles) in the Russian High Arctic slipping / sliding by 15–35 feet per day versus normally 2 inches per day—a real shocker.

  • Three 100-year droughts (which normally happen once every 100 years) hit the Amazon Rainforest like clockwork over the past 10 years: 2005–2010–2015—an unprecedented occurence.

  • The Totten Glacier (16 feet of water), which comprises less than 1/10th of East Antarctica’s ice mass, is destabilising 100-years ahead of previous climate modeling.

  • West Antarctica’s rate of ice loss triples over 15 years, way ahead of scientific modeling.

  • Arctic multi-year thick ice infrastructure melts, losing Northern Hemisphere’s biggest reflector of sunlight, exposing subsea permafrost methane trapped over the eons in clathrates, thus risking runaway global warming with concomitant wipeout of mid-latitude agricultural crops.

  • The entire surface of Greenland (22 feet of water) turned to slush, freaking-out scientists.

  • China’s Lancang River (1,330 miles in China), the Danube of the East, lost 70% of its headwater glaciers to global warming, threatening an irregular flow of this major river for all of SE Asia sometime in the distant future.

  • The World Bank warns that 100 million people are at risk of loss of irrigation, drinking water and hydropower because of rapid melt of Andes’ glacial water towers.
  • Pingos imploding in Siberia, spewing methane; 7,000 Pingos identified, as Siberia enters ecosystem collapse phase.
  • Alaskan permafrost emitting 220 million tons of carbon every 2 years as it reverses from carbon sink to a carbon emitter. Ouch!
  • Too much heat and CO2 are changing ocean chemistry, as acidification disrupts the base of the food web; Pteropod reproduction and/or development threatened.
  • One-half of the Great Barrier Reef killed by excessively heated ocean water conditions 2016-17—scientists flabbergasted.
  • Ocean plankton production off by 40% past 50 years, diminishing oxygen production.
  • Thermohaline worldwide ocean circulation slowest in 1,600 years has negative worldwide impact.
  • Underwater kelp forests decimated all along California northern coasts and Australia’s giant kelp forest declared “endangered ecological zone,” as a steady increase in ocean temps by nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit in recent decades was all it took.
  • Colorado River Basin water flow down 40% in worst drought in 1,200 years, threatening major cities and agriculture.
  • Middle East / Northern Africa Mediterranean coastlines drying up faster than anywhere on the planet because of global warming. Where will eco migrants go next?
  • One hundred nature reserves in Europe experienced 80% drop in flying insect abundance, confusing scientists.
  • NOAA says CO2 increasing 100 times faster than end of last Ice Age, which is hyper-speed in geological time.

 

Signatories to the Declaration of Rebellion include established names in academics like Professor Danny Dorling of University of Oxford and Dr. Ian Gibson, former chair of Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas is also a signatory. Other backers are probably better-known for their achievements beyond science, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, now the Master of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge, and the journalist George Monbiot.

 

Cry of desperation

 

Another supporter is Andrew Simms of the New Weather Institute. In an interview, he stated: “This is almost a cry of desperation. People are bewildered. But almost every profound change in British society, from the abolition of slavery to the improvement of shipping safety, has involved people risking arrest.

 

“The signs I am getting from the UK government now are that it is a reckless administration putting its own people and others at risk by putting climate change virtually nowhere.

 

“The Declaration alone won’t bring about change: we’ll need people working practically to make change happen on the ground. But we need ExtinctionRebellion as part of the mosaic of responses to the extremely precarious situation we now find ourselves in.”

 

Simms, convinced that an entirely new potential for rapid societal change now exists, says: “We know what’s needed, and the resources to do it are there. ExtinctionRebellion is one example of how new ideas can spread quickly and rapid shift—and radical action—can come closer.”

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