The biospheric emergency calls for scientists to change tactics

Elife. 2022 Nov 7;11:e83292. doi: 10.7554/eLife.83292.


Our current economic and political structures have an increasingly devastating impact on the Earth's climate and ecosystems: we are facing a biospheric emergency, with catastrophic consequences for both humans and the natural world on which we depend. Life scientists - including biologists, medical scientists, psychologists and public health experts - have had a crucial role in documenting the impacts of this emergency, but they have failed to drive governments to take action in order to prevent the situation from getting worse. Here we, as members of the movement Scientist Rebellion, call on life scientists to re-embrace advocacy and activism - which were once hallmarks of academia - in order to highlight the urgency and necessity of systemic change across our societies. We particularly emphasise the need for scientists to engage in nonviolent civil resistance, a form of public engagement which has proven to be highly effective in social struggles throughout history.

Keywords: activism; biodiversity crisis; civil resistance; climate breakdown; ecology; epidemiology; global health; human; public health.

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystem*
  • Humans
  • Public Health*

Grant support

No external funding was received for this work.