Academic International Mobilisation (AIM)
From Alison Green
Our world is in crisis. CO2 levels in the atmosphere continues to rise unbated, oceans are warming and acidifying, ice at the poles and in glaciers melts, sea levels rise and, as we write, trees and bushes in Australia are ablaze, and 45 million people in southern Africa are experiencing the worst drought in a century. If present trends continue, whole areas of the earth’s surface will become uninhabitable, and hundreds of millions of people will suffer and die. Scientists recently declared a climate emergency in a paper that made headlines around the world and has been endorsed by well over 11,000 scientists .
We cannot simply keep uttering these stark warnings without committing to take action.
We are in the midst of a mass global extinction, and are seeing catastrophic loss of wildlife, destruction of natural habitats, and loss of ecosystems. We know that academics and scientists are aware of the challenges and that many want our academic institutions to take bolder action [2,3,4].
If not now, then when?
As a matter of extreme urgency, the people of the planet need to learn how to act in increasingly cooperative, intelligent, humane and effective ways so as to resolve the global crises that we face. How can this be done? How can humanity acquire the social wisdom that we need? There is a solution. We can learn from the way science makes progress how to make social progress towards a wiser world.
We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities – in academic inquiry – so that the basic task becomes, not just to acquire knowledge, but rather to help humanity come to a better understanding of what our global problems are, and what we need to do about them. We believe that universities and colleges need to be at the centre of efforts to galvanize the public, government, the media, corporations, industry and agriculture to take action to deal with the climate crisis and other global crises as swiftly and effectively as possible.
Students and academic staff need to get together to work out how they can best help enhance understanding in the public domain as to what our problems are, and what we need to do to solve them. We need to lobby, engage with the media, promote public debate and discussion, set up community events, take part in relevant demonstrations, and engage in peaceful civil disobedience (when necessary). Practitioners of each academic discipline, from theoretical physics to the study of literature, need to work out what needs to change if a discipline is to contribute appropriately to fostering planetary stewardship and how to live within planetary boundaries.
For greater detail on why and where we need a transformation and mobilisation of universities please see the full paper . This paper includes a blueprint for the initial mobilisation event to overcome institutional inertia, and the necessities that the university has a moral and rational duty to satisfy. Feel free to join our dedicated Telegram group via the following link:
( https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806#165912541 )