Scientists in multiple countries protested to demand real government action on climate change, with some engaging in dramatic civil disobedience like chaining themselves to a bank door or gluing their hands to a government building.
“I’m willing to take a risk for this gorgeous planet, for my sons,” Peter Kalmus, a biological systems and climate change scientist at NASA, told Insider. “We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we’re heading towards a fucking catastrophe, and we’ve been being ignored.”
That’s why Kalmus and three others chained themselves to an office building of Chase Bank (JPMorgan Chase has invested more money in fossil fuels than any other bank) last week in Los Angeles. Kalmus, along with a physicist, an engineer and a science teacher, were all arrested by Los Angeles police clad in riot gear, according to LAist.
“The paradigm is starting to shift for scientists,” soil scientist Rose Abramoff told Earther. Abramoff was also arrested last week after chaining herself to a White House fence alongside other protesters.
She said she had previously taken pains to “remain unbiased,” but that “it’s not political to tell the truth. Serving the habitability of life on this planet is not and should not be a political issue.”
Scientist Rebellion estimated that around 1,000 activists ― including both scientists and nonscientists who also participated ― from 25 countries took part in the protests. In London, 25 people glued scientific papers ― and some their own hands ― to the windows of the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Guardian reported.
“The government’s insane, and I don’t know what to do, other than to do this, to try and get the attention that we need to wake the public up,” ecologist Aaron Thierry said, his hand superglued to the window pane.
In Spain, protesters threw fake blood on the Spanish Parliament steps in Madrid. The activist group said 53 people ― about half of the people at the demonstration ― were arrested.
Fernando Valladares, a research professor with the Spanish National Research Council, told Euro News that it’s not just “the future” that’s in peril due to the warming planet, it’s “the present” as well.
“Crop failures, migrations, and marine flooding. What else do we need to know?” he said.
The mass action followed the release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report. The report warned that “it’s now or never” for the world to take sharp action to cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), a goal set by the Paris climate accords.