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Personally, my day ruined by #ExtinctionRebellion as I dashed around London on Wikileaks related stuff and lost a couple of hours to transport disruption. But this is what it takes to jolt people from complacency to see the existential threat we ignore. Many congrats to them.
We wrote this week about the massive Extinction Rebellion protests that shut down London traffic in an effort to push the UK government to “tell the truth about climate change”, reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress. There are also satellite demonstrations happening in the United States as the movement gains more traction overall. While many people undoubtedly were angered by the disruption of their commutes, former British diplomat Craig Murray had an incredibly refreshing take. Instead of tweeting profanity at the protestors he thanked them for stopping him and making him think.
Why This Matters: Even in cities where the population tends to be better educated and more liberal, people acknowledge that climate change is happening but don’t devote much time to thinking about its implications or how they can act to make a difference. Protests that jam up city traffic might have to become the answer to jolt ourselves awake and face the dire urgency of climate change. Thanks to Craig for giving us the reminder to pause, listen, and think before we get angry.
A new, nationwide public opinion survey conducted by Yale from April 7–17 found that a record-tying 73% of Americans think global warming is happening and only 10% deny it, but most believe it is happening to others and not to them.
Why This Matters: The pollsters expected they would find that because the public is so concerned about the pandemic that they would not have the ability to maintain their concern about climate change — a theory that social scientists call the “finite pool of worry.” But that was not the case.
Cornell University’s Board of Trustees announced on Friday that the University will make no new investments in fossil fuels, and it is believed that they have been divesting of their previous investments for several years, though the details of their endowment are not public.
Why This Matters: The climate movement has been led by young people and one easy focus of their activism is the universities they attend.
When the coronavirus crisis first began, climate activists were hopeful that political leaders could manage the outbreak while simultaneously keeping their commitments to climate action. But the cost of the COVID-19 response on state budgets has been profound and there’s a fear that environmental programs will be cut as governors grapple with staggering budget shortfalls. […]
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