Why I’m joining the climate strike

Friday, September 27th there will be a global climate strike (in some countries happening on September 20th). This strike was called by the movement of schoolchildren who have been striking on Fridays. Why go on climate strike? The school children organisers say it best:

“Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it. [...] Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people. [...] We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart. But it’s going to take all of us working together to succeed.”

For the past year, many school children have been striking regularly, to remind us that their future is at stake. This time, we must join them.

Striking might seem very radical in the country of the “poldermodel”, with its tradition of consensus. The truth is, the tactics used up to now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have not been working. Since 1990, the year that the first IPCC climate report was published, annual emissions have grown by 60 percent. If we want a chance to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, we must step up our actions. All of us. As individuals, but also businesses and institutions. And what about scientists?

Scientists in times of climate emergency
Around the world, scientists are reflecting on their role in times of climate crisis, and more and more of them are taking action. A few weeks ago, an opinion piece in Nature made the case for scientists to act on their own warnings to humanity, and to join civil disobedience movements, such as Extinction Rebellion.

Working in the field of sustainability, I am always reading and citing articles stating that “we must change the world, really fast”. We keep writing and citing papers while emissions and environmental impacts keep growing. I’ve been wondering, shouldn’t the people who are most aware of the need for deep changes, be more involved in pushing for those changes?

This question made me join a group called “Scientists for Future NL” .  As a first action, we invited about 500 scientists from all over the Netherlands to write collaboratively a public statement ahead of the climate strike. This statement has now been signed by more than 700 scientists.

As scientists we state: “the concerns of the climate strikers are justified” and “we are ready to assist the strikers and all those concerned by the climate crisis by providing and promoting sound scientific advice on issues related to climate change.”

Not every scientist is ready for civil disobedience. But there are many ways to get engaged, according to your skills, availability, and level of comfort. For the climate strike, scientists can
1) sign the public statement  
2) go on a digital strike  
3) organize a walkout
4) show solidarity online (#climatestrike).

But for those who can, let’s strike together and meet in the Hague, on Friday September 27th at 13h!