Spotlight - 10.2019

(coco) #1

16 Spotlight 10/2019 ENVIRONMENT


The movement’s biggest attraction,
however, seems to be its sense of moral
purpose. More than 1,100 protesters were
arrested in April, ready to sacrifice them-
selves to the cause to win over the public.
XR has mainstreamed the debate on
climate change, redefining the way it is
discussed in the media — as something
happening right now. The alarm is ring-
ing. Hitting the snooze button is not an
option, unless we want to fall into a night-
mare from which we might never awaken.

A documentary of our times
It starts with scenes of storms, tidal
waves, melting glaciers and raging infer-
nos. But this is no Hollywood disaster
movie. It’s the famously impartial BBC,
delivering a gloves-off exposé of climate
Climate Change — The Facts is present-
ed by Sir David Attenborough, usually a
calming presence in the nation’s living
rooms. Now, however, he doesn’t hold
back. In the 20 years he’s been talking
about climate change, conditions have
changed far faster than he ever imagined.
The evidence is clear. The fossil fuels
that drive our factories, power our cars
and heat our homes, have created a blan-
ket of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) over the
earth’s surface. The past 22 years have
seen 20 of the warmest years on record.
As the world’s ecosystems collapse,
scientists believe eight per cent of spe-
cies are threatened with extinction as a
result of climate change. We see footage
from Australia, where the mercury hit
over 42 °C in some places last year, kill-
ing a third of the nation’s spectacled fly-
ing foxes. It’s uncomfortable to see their
bodies laid out on the ground by wildlife
In the earth’s extremities, vast amounts
of ice, frozen for millennia, are melting. As
sea levels rise, hundreds of thousands of
people in places like Indonesia and Bang-
ladesh are being displaced. The oceans
store most of the heat increases, causing
a third of the world’s corals to die.
The cause of all this chaos is a tem-
perature rise of 1 °C in comparison with
pre-industrial times. If we carry on emit-
ting CO 2 at the current rate, we’ll be on
track for a 1.5 °C rise in temperature
sometime between 2040 and 2050. Not
long after that, we could hit a 2 °C tem-
perature rise, after which the storms, the

An interview with
Gail Bradbrook

When Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of
Extinction Rebellion (XR), describes
the atmosphere on Waterloo Bridge
at the height of the climate protests
that swept London this year, you feel
as if you were there with her.
“It was a time of beauty and
connection and a reweaving of
family. People felt really alive and
felt something awakening. They talk
about it with such depth of feeling,”
she says.
Bradbrook highlights the
emotional stakes of a complex
issue. She has a PhD in molecular
biophysics and so a firm under-
standing of the facts behind climate
change. But she leads with the heart.
“You can think about this
intellectually, but this is not the way
to fuel change,” she says. “Change
comes because people have an
emotional response. That’s part of
what captured the imagination of
XR has clearly captured the
zeitgeist. The burning heat across
Europe this summer has left people
with the creeping sense that the
truth is being suppressed, says
The truth, according to Bradbrook,
is that we don’t have until 2050 to
reduce carbon emissions to near-
zero, thereby limiting the damage.
Like many scientists, she believes
that the unpredictable nature of
“positive feedback loops”, such as
the release of methane from thawing
permafrost, which could send climate
change into overdrive, has not been
factored into calculations.
“It’s dishonest to say we have until
2050,” she argues.
Bradbrook believes the time has
come to hit the panic button. “If your
house was on fire, you wouldn’t say:
‘My house is on fire and maybe I’ll
phone the fire brigade next month.’”
Urgent action is needed, she says:
“We’ve done things rapidly in times
of war. If there were the threat of a
world war now, it would be at the top
of the agenda every day. This is far
worse than a world war.”

assure [E(SO:]
, versichern
capture [(kÄptSE]
, erfassen, gewinnen
cause [kO:z]
, hier: Sache
creeping [(kri:pIN]
, schleichend
displace [dIs(pleIs]
, vertreiben
emit [i(mIt]
, ausstoßen, abgeben
emotional stake
[i(mEUS&nEl steIk]
, emotionale Beteiligung
footage [(fUtIdZ]
, Filmaufnahmen
glacier [(glÄsiE]
, Gletscher
gloves-off [(glVvz Qf]
, schonungslos, un­
impartial [Im(pA:S&l]
, unvoreingenommen,
launch [lO:ntS]
, starten, anstoßen
loop [lu:p]
, Schleife
mercury [(m§:kju&ri]
, Quecksilber(säule)
nightmare [(naItmeE]
, Albtraum
raging [(reIdZIN]
, tobend, wütend

reweave [ri:(wi:v]
, Wiederanknüpfen
sacrifice [(sÄkrIfaIs]
, opfern
sea level [(si: )lev&l]
, Meeresspiegel
snooze button
[(snu:z )bVt&n]
, Schlummertaste
spectacled flying fox
)flaIIN (fQks]
, Brillenflughund
store [stO:]
, speichern
suppress [sE(pres]
, unterdrücken
surface [(s§:fIs]
, Oberfläche
thaw [TO:]
, auftauen, tauen
tidal wave
[)taId&l (weIv]
, Flutwelle
track: be on ~ for sth.
, strammen Kurs auf
etw. halten
unless [En(les]
, außer, es sei denn, dass
, unberechenbar, unvor­
volunteer [)vQlEn(tIE]
, Freiwillige(r)

“Many of you appear
concerned that we
are wasting valuable
lesson time, but I
assure you we will
go back to school the
moment you start
listening to science
and give us a future.
Is that really too
much to ask?”
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl
who launched the school strike movement,
speaking to the UK Parliament
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