Action, not just science

25 02 2019

raised fistsIt has taken me a long time to decide to do this, but with role models like Claire Wordley, Alejandro Frid, and James Hansen out there, I couldn’t really find any more excuses.

Yes, I’ve been a strong advocate for action on biodiversity, environment and climate-change issues for a long time, and I’ve even had a few political wins in that regard with my writing and representation. I’ve even called out more than once for universities to embrace divestment from fossil fuels (to my knowledge, even my own university still has not).

While I still think these avenues are important, my ongoing observation is that things are getting worse politically, not better. That means that the normal armchair advocacy embraced by even the most outspoken academics is probably not going to be enough to elicit real political change that we — no, the planet — desperately needs.

Extinction-Rebellion-South-Australia2It is for this reason that I’ve joined the Extinction Rebellion (South Australia Chapter), especially after my friend and colleague, Dr Claire Wordley of the University of Cambridge, joined the UK Rebellion and wrote about her experiences on this very blog. That, coupled with my ongoing and mounting concern for the future Earth my daughter will inherit, requires me to take to the streets.

And so I can, and will. My first real climate-change protest will see me chaperone my daughter during the School Strike for Climate that will take place in Adelaide on 14 March. I will be acting both as a parent of a very concerned young student (my daughter), and also as an educator and scientist from a major university.

But I’ve now also joined the South Australia Chapter of the Extinction Rebellion, including partaking in the planning activities that will see us first present in front of Parliament, then the Adelaide Advertiser, followed by a general demonstration in Tarntanyangga. All this will occur the following week on 22 March, and it is here that we will be making our declaration to the people and government of South Australia that we are well past the time to negotiate what to do — we have to have the strongest possible climate-mitigation policies in place yesterday, not tomorrow.

Extinction Rebellion also represents a lot more than just climate-change action. The key word of course is extinction, and as any reader of this blog will know, we are smack in the middle of the world’s sixth mass extinction. Climate change is apocalyptic, for sure, but it is merely one (strong) driver of extinctions among many. I worry for the species that make human life possible, and it is this second reason that I have decided to protest and engage in civil disobedience. There seems to be no other way to make the majority of our Luddite pollies listen (and even this pathway will be challenging).


So, if you care for biodiversity, are worried that society and government are not doing enough to tackle the climate emergency, or are concerned about the state of the environment in general, I encourage you to sign up and meet us out in the field on 22 March (we’re also on Twitter — spread the word far and wide, please). The more professional environmentalists, the better, because it shows that the people who should know best are now out of other options. We’ve written the manifesto a million times over — now it’s time to raise our fists.

CJA Bradshaw



6 responses

29 08 2019
No, you won’t sacrifice scientific objectivity if you advocate |

[…] the high-integrity scientist-advocate from participating in more traditional forms of activism that involve actions like street protests or sit-ins. I know many of my own colleagues who have done exactly this, and some of them have even been […]


27 02 2019
Larry Williams

Hi, Dr Bradshaw,
Surely to be included in any discussion regarding human impacts is the issue of the sheer number of humans…yet it seldom is. And one readily knows why.
But, from Methusaelah to Malthus, when recent, really long lives are common & populations increase rapidly, food failure is just a beginning.
Behind all religious reasonings used to attack nearby other folks, land, water, & resources are the ultimate reasons…humans with water, food, land are disinclined to risk the good they have in return for, at best, simply more of the same adequate water, food, land.
Are war, famine, disease the only solutions to human overpopulation? This seems to so. “Seems” to be…Must it be? Is there any discussion about possible fair, equitable, effective, all-the-good-stuff, ways human population might be reduced in density? And soon.
Regards, LRWms


26 02 2019
Annett Finger

Wake up from the coma of compliance – well spoken, Corey!


25 02 2019

Welcome to the Rebellion mate! Great piece :)

Liked by 1 person

25 02 2019
Justine Philip

Thanks Corey, I agree that we need as many Doctors and Professors to join in the protests, both with the school protests and extinction rebellion) – I have joined the Melbourne group. It is possible to get involved without getting arrested if travel is pending.


25 02 2019
Joel Howland

See you there!


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