Remove civil disobedience from climate issue and you will have civil crisis
And grounds exist for climate crisis, with wildfires having burned 600,731 acres in Europe in 2022 and climate-change-induced hunger affecting 828 million people.
Blocking golf courses with cement, Credit, ABC
When one hundred French villages ran short of drinking water a few weeks ago, the authorities imposed a ban on the use of water for non-essential purposes. However, golf courses enjoyed an exemption over the ban, causing controversy. Angry at the exemption, climate activists from Extinction Rebellion in a show of civil disobedience filled golf course holes with cement, to force golfers to comply with the ban.
While many cities highlighted the role played by high finance in the current global climate crisis, London refused to toe the line. Unhappy with the situation, climate activists organized a fortnight of civil disobedience, decorating a four-meter structure with a sign that said, “Come to the table”.
Even though the risk of incarceration for political activism is higher in Africa than in the global North, activists increasingly toe the line of civil disobedience to promote displeasure over the current climate crisis. According to Moinina Koroma, an activist, “The only ones who can save Africa are Africans.”
Rose Abramoff at the White House fence, Credit, Daily Mail
Increasingly, activists believe civil disobedience can save the world from an impending climate crisis. In Washington, Rose Abramoff and other activists chained themselves to the White House fence. Five activists glued themselves to the Scottish Power headquarters in Glasgow last year. Peter Kalmus chained himself to the doors of a JP Morgan Chase & Co bank in Los Angeles. Protesters blocked one of Covent Garden’s busiest junctions in England. Civil disobedience becomes a weapon to bring sanity as the world teeters on the edge of catastrophe.
In 2021, flooding impacted on about 34.2 million people globally, with some 2.2 billion, or 29 percent of the world population, living in locations estimated to experience some level of inundation during a 1-in-100-year flood event, according to the World Bank. Inundation depths of over 0.15 meters face about 1.47 billion people, or 19 percent of the world’s population, while for 50 percent of this exposed group, flood could assume life-threatening dimensions, with children and the vulnerable at risk.
Credit, The City Fix
Apart from flooding, climate change-induced hunger affected as many as 828 million people globally in 2021, an increase of 46 million since 2020. Two billion, three hundred million people suffered from moderate or severe food insecurity in 2021, partly from climate change, 46 million people more than in 2020, and 150 million more than 2019.
In addition to this, climate-change-induced wildfires raged on a world-wide basis, with 2021 becoming a record year of wildfires, having 58,985 wildfires, affecting 7.1 million acres. The previous year recorded 18,229 wildfires, with a 17 percent increase from 2019 to 2021 in U.S. wildfires and 223 percent rise since 1983 when records started.
Due to flooding, wildfires, and hunger, activists believe a climate breakdown faces humanity, with urgent actions the solution to turn things around. And further grounds exists for a climate breakdown, with a 10 percent probability in a decade of a 1-in-100-year flood event, with wildfires having burned 600,731 acres in Europe so far in 2022, with the proportion of people affected by hunger jumping and continuing to rise in 2020 and 2022.
As hunger continues to rise, it fuels the recourse to civil disobedience. In September 2021, people feel most likely to support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience, with 50 percent saying they “definitely” (21%) or “probably” (29%) would support such an organization. Likewise, about one fourth (28%) of the alarmed people said they “definitely” (10%) or “probably” (18%) would participate in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse, if asked to by a person they liked and respected. The ten percent of respondents who are “definitely willing” to take part in non-violent civil disobedience represents approximately 8.6 million American adults.
In Europe, 29 percent chose either climate change (18 percent), deterioration of nature (7 percent) or health problems due to pollution (4 percent) as the single most serious problem they face, while 93 percent of EU citizens see climate change as a serious problem and 78 percent see it as a very serious problem. Ninety percent of respondents agree that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to a minimum in order to make the EU economy climate-neutral by 2050. At the same time, 75 percent believe national governments show a lack-of-enough commitment to tackle climate change.
In New Delhi, 2,000 people “marched” and “about 300 people sat through the protest outside the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change”; and “more than two thousand protested in downtown São Paulo”. In Christchurch, reports of youth gathered in the central city also noted that the climate protests in that city were likely to be proportionately some of the largest in New Zealand. Reports of the 2019 protests describe “thousands” “staging a demonstration” in Dhaka, where a history of youth-led political protest exists, most recently around transport services in the city.
Credit, Wiley Online Library
Through civil disobedience, youths and others establish a history of protests over climate change. They protest in cities such as Christchurch, New Delhi, Dakka, and Sao Paulo. Through the protests in Europe, adults become sensitized about the dangers of climate change, making Americans wanting to support groups engaging in civil disobedience, and bringing benefits in the struggle.
Due to the large number of environmental protests, researchers discovered emissions decrease in the states in the U.S. affected. The number of voters for the climate conscious Green Party doubled from 2017 to 2021, partly due to the climate change concern that swept over Germany. A parliamentary group in Britain agreed to host a briefing by the chief scientific adviser to MPs and ministers, after climate activist Angus Rose began a hunger strike. Through the civil disobedience movement, President Emmanuel Macron promised to give 150 randomly chosen individuals the chance to influence the agenda on cutting carbon emissions in France.
In addition, the global civil action movements increase public awareness of climate change, according to a study, as searches via Google for the keyword ‘climate action’ and the newly developed ‘climate emergency’ rose 20 fold three years ago – and spikes also occurred in these keywords during protests such as the school strikes for climate and protests by Extinction Rebellion.
Going forwards, civil disobedience activities such as school strikes and protests by Extinction Rebellion may try to achieve the so-called 3.5 percent rule, the proportion of the population needed to participate for success. With a few years in the open window to prevent a climate breakdown, activists may need to scale up the struggle, by carrying out civil disobedience over and over and over again, as Albert Einstein famously said, in order to get the desired results. Perhaps they just might have to do so, since the removal of civil disobedience from climate change struggle might just in the future end in a civil crisis.
Strategies to confront climate change
Credit, Eos Data Analytics
Communities in developing countries, like Chad, who rely on pastoralism and subsistence farming to provide for themselves and their families, are especially at risk of extreme weather events driven by climate change. Read how Eos Data Analytics provides a solution to the problem.
Over the past few years technology companies have started to build something akin to a computing shell around the Earth, where satellites gather massive amounts of photos and other measurements and artificial intelligence software systems analyze the data. Read about how Muon Space uses AI and detailed imagery to measure—and hopefully help mitigate—what can only be seen from space.
The criticality of satellite data to solve some of the world’s pressing problems such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity is increasing with each passing day. Read about how Spacetech startup Open Cosmos has launched a platform called DataCosmos that aims to make satellite data access easier for everyone from organizations to governments.
A growing number of space companies are launching satellites intended to combat climate change by using Earth-observation technology. Read about them here.
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