Scientists on Hunger Strike for the Planet
Governments across the globe, and particularly in the wealthiest countries, failed already to meet their decarbonisation targets multiple times. Crucially, the forthcoming United Nations climate change conference (also known as COP26) will take place in the UK next November 2021. The risk of further tragic failure is round the corner despite all the pledges that have been put forth by several governments.
Scientist should ask themselves: if those who understand the implications of scientific findings are unwilling to act, how can we expect the public to understand the severity of the crisis? Therefore, scientists around the globe, including myself, are resorting to radical but non-violent actions to send a stronger message: This is an emergency and leading institutions must act accordingly.
We’d rather just focus on our job and let this matter be managed by our politicians. However, there is too much at stake for me to be a bystander. Current models and scenarios indicate a likely dramatic worsening of global temperature and increase of frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The state of the earth ecosystems is also approaching collapse. And our leaders demonstrated not to be fit for purpose by failing to develop an appropriate action plan to address the climate and ecological emergency.
This is why I decided to go on a hunger strike twice (in March and June 21) in the context of global protests organised by “Scientist Rebellion”.
I will briefly mention about this experience and my personal reflection on the path ahead.
By Dr Elia Valenti, Senior Lecturer – Department of Psychology & Centre for Brain Science – University of Essex