On April 6th, N.A.S.A. scientist Peter Kalmus and three other environmental protestors chained themselves to the J.P. Morgan bank in Los Angeles, California in support of an organization called the Scientific Rebellion. (J.P. Morgan has been known to invest considerable funds into fossil fuel, the highest polluting industry in the world.) For the past year and a half, scientists around the world have staged protests like this one as “civil disobedience,” pleading for systemic change.
“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,” Kalmus, who studies biological systems and climate change at N.A.S.A.’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told press and the protest’s Facebook livestream. “The scientists of the world are being ignored, and it’s got to stop. We’re not joking. We’re not lying. We’re not exaggerating.”
After hours of protest, an estimated 100 police officers dressed in riot gear eventually removed the four chained protestors and arrested them. Business Insider and other news sources have stated that J.P. Morgan has declined to make a statement.
The Scientific Rebellion was first established in 2020 as a protest against highly publicized international climate discussions such as the United Nations Climate Change Conferences, the most recent of which was COP26, held in Glasgow in 2021. Hundreds of global leaders attended COP26, including 120 heads of state, and agreed to a variety of environmental emission goals. However, the attendees have disregarded many of these targets without penalty.
The Scientific Rebellion’s online demands state that current actions from governments and corporations are “grossly inadequate.” The demands include a list of global reforms, supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence and research, which would adequately slow the accelerated destruction of our planet.
A greater worldwide movement sparked after the Rebellion leaked the then-upcoming 2021 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.) report. “Mitigation and development goals cannot be met through incremental change,” the leaked report read, along with phrases like “delayed action increases challenges to both economic and societal feasibility after 2030” and “Estimates of committed CO2 emissions from current fossil energy infrastructure are 658 GtCO2 […] nearly double the remaining carbon budget.” Almost 1,000 scientists in 25 different countries have used various forms of civil resistance to protest this alarming information, the Smithsonian Magazine reports.
Scientists around the world have heard how little time we have to reverse the catastrophic effects on our environment and have decided to protest in order to convince the public of how dire the current situation is. The global community must listen to the trained and educated scientists who are trying to show us this startling truth. If we cannot come together even to agree that the evidence proves a need to make societal and economic change, then we will witness exponentially more destructive climate disasters. Climate change is the greatest danger to all species on this planet, and if we ignore the people who are studying its effects, we stand to destroy thousands of lives.