Climate protests: Researchers’ disruptive actions ‘justified’

For at least 30 years, science has meticulously demonstrated the devastating effects of a massive increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases on the global climate, for example in reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC. It was of little use: “We’re in a catastrophic situation,” Storer said Tuesday night during a discussion on “Activism in Science — Taboo Breaking or Duty?” with supporters of the initiative. Scientists for the future.

One has now reached a point where “turbulence is needed”. If in many places there is a blatant underestimation and the “fossil lifestyle” is becoming too comfortable, there is a need for “mirror-hold” activists. The fact that such protests are now moving to places where there are already disruptions to daily operations is somewhat essential. The protest at the site of a coal-fired power station, in front of the company or party headquarters, hardly deserves a mention in the media, said the researcher, who works at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU).

“No criminals and chaos”

According to Stürer, it was clear that his solidarity with the controversial measures of the “last generation”, for example for the early traffic disruption in Vienna, would not only bring him applause. However, he wanted to set a counterpoint to the political debate, as the group was often compared to “terrorists”. “They are not criminals and anarchic people” – Anarchic people are found in governments and corporations that do nothing to avert the impending climate catastrophe.


In January, climate activists blocked an access road to Vienna’s Praterstern distribution center

The request of the “last generation” to reduce the speed on the roads of Austria works well because it is simple and not very technical. by Support for researchers at Vienna Praterstern Storer believes something has shifted in public perception, which has faced a flood of media inquiries since then.

Schlipper: “We have to change things”

For Steurer and other researchers, activism is also a new form of science communication. The “science” could stand if researchers positioned themselves more clearly on the issue of climate. In the past, many mistakes have been made in communicating science. Even summaries of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports still “fall short of the bottom line,” according to Storer. However, one has been warning very loudly for decades.

Now the flag must also play a more political role and, for example, clearly indicate the maneuvers of political transformation and the like. He also finds the task of clearly naming parties that are doing nothing on climate protection important. According to the former head of the IPCC secretariat, Renate Christ, there is indeed an “imminent danger”. One is not “worrying,” the scientific findings are, in fact, very worrying. However, scientists are still “not exactly the best people to communicate with.” More communication experts are needed here to help get the messages across.

Microbiologist and 2022 Wittgenstein Prize winner Christa Schleper from the University of Vienna has been bringing this into her undergraduate teaching for several years. With a series of lectures in collaboration with the Fridays for Future movement, she “carefully crossed borders”. Like the climate, it also sees itself at a “tipping point”: “We really have to change things,” Schlipper said. Well-intentioned reports still had no impact on CO2 emissions. Businesses like the one at the Praterstern Hotel can become a ‘game-changer’. Science will also set clear signals in the future.

question “how”

The action is “obligatory,” but the question “how” arises, according to psychologist Ivo Bonosi of MODUL University Vienna. One must continue to act objectively, honestly and credibly, but now the problems are “so urgent that one has to come out” and “the public must also be shaken”: “The problem cannot be solved.” The accusation of imperfection Objectivity could not be like this: without a planet worth living on, there would be no objectivity in science.

It is based on solid scientific knowledge. According to Ponocny, there is no law of values ​​that involves planet destruction. It is now very much about helping increase political pressure. In psychological research, one knows that fixed minorities can also bring about shifts in the formation of public opinion. The thrust of the discussion was that the effectiveness of civil resistance is well supported by social science.

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