Nov 3, 2022 • 1HR 3M

Why Scientists Choose Activism | Charlie Gardner

Finding influence in the streets

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Rachel Donald
Planet: Critical is the podcast for a world in crisis. We face severe climate, energy, economic and political breakdown. Journalist Rachel Donald interviews those confronting the crisis, revealing what's really going on—and what needs to be done.
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“As a scientist, I'd been relying on this idea that all we need to achieve change is information. If we generate the information, warn our leaders, and warn the public about how dangerous the destruction of nature is, then someone will act on those warnings, and our leaders will make wise decisions, and they'll do what needs to be done. But obviously that hasn't been happening.

“Climate change and the destruction of nature are very clear evidence that our leaders don't listen to scientific warnings. They ignore them. And yet, our leaders were responding to these people blocking bridges. They were listening to them. And it made me see that actually this isn't about information, this isn't about science at all. Policy making is about power and influence.”


Charlie Gardner is a conservationist, activist and writer. An outspoken member of Scientist Rebellion, Charlie left academia last year to focus on raising the climate alarm through civil disobedience and science communication.

Charlie joins me to discuss why scientists feel forced to choose activism. After decades of ignored data, warnings and suggestions, these same scientists who have been fighting to understand the crisis are taking to the streets to be heard.

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We discuss ecological systems, energy policy, corrupt politics, media, Extinction Rebellion, how to engage the public and how people can get involved in the face of disastrous inaction. Just this week, a new report on the state of climate action looked at 40 indicators of change and found not a single one is on track to keep the world from heating to the level at which world leaders promised to try to stop global warming.

Planet: Critical investigates why the world is in crisis—and what to do about it.

© Rachel Donald