B.C. scientists declare support for Extinction Rebellion protests

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Global acts of civil disobedience meant to force government action on the climate crisis are now being endorsed by over a thousand scientific professionals, including several based in B.C.

Extinction Rebellion — the group behind the disruptions — forced the closure of Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge last Monday, ultimately leading to ten arrests. Further traffic disruptions are set to take place again on Friday afternoon, when activists conduct a “snake march” through downtown, following no set route.

A declaration of support circulating online is quickly gaining signatories, all of whom hold at least a Master’s Degree in the sciences.

“We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and nonviolent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law,” the declaration reads, in part.

“It has been very frustrating for most scientists to try to raise the alarm, to try to deliver the message in a very effective way,” says Dr. David Costalago, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia. His work involves studying how environmental changes affect local fish populations.

“The way that Extinction Rebellion is doing it now I think is the most effective one, and the one that we need right now because we are running out of time,” he says.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that without a significant overhaul of the world’s energy infrastructure, most people will experience the direct impacts of climate change within their lifetimes.

The language of Extinction Rebellion is less tempered.

“Life on Earth is in crisis,” the group’s website reads, “scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.”

“I think that this is not a movement from a few — from scientists only or youth leaders only — but it’s also a very cornerstone-type movement, so I’m hopeful of that,” says Dr. Estefania Milla-Moreno, a graduate student with the UBC’s Faculty of Forestry, another declaration signatory.

She adds she’s surprised that more of her UBC colleagues have not also endorsed the protests.

“I am feeling more hopeful than what I felt in the past few years, because the voices have been raised now, and I think this is possibly the way to move forward,” Costalago says.

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