Extinction Rebellion urges the Boston Globe to declare climate emergency
For society to undergo the drastic, transformational change required to save our species, respected media like the Boston Globe should lead in communicating the existential risks of climate damage. The Extinction Rebellion is an international mobilization whose first demand is that governments and media tell the truth about the climate emergency.
Today, more than one in three people in the Boston Metro area remain unaware of the basic fact that humans are causing global warming. Our house is on fire; the media’s first challenge is simply to wake everyone up to this fact. The greater challenge lies in fully communicating how many lives and species we have already lost through inaction, and in accurately conveying the subtle scientific concepts that explain why our trajectory puts life and humanity at risk.
The truth is that governments’ long-standing inaction and obstruction on the climate crisis is potentially the most far-reaching human rights abuse ever committed. Reporting on this crime requires courage to “expose the truth, even in defiance of powerful interests.” This goal, from the Boston Globe’s own mission statement, is one that the paper’s history lives up to. The Globe has exposed horrific human rights abuses, from violence against journalists to the sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church.
Yet there is more the Globe can do to communicate the urgency of the existential challenge we face. We read poignant columns by Globe staff who understand and grieve for the state of our struggling world, and wonder why the climate emergency is not front page news every single day. New developments in the climate crisis deserve more attention than our state’s burgeoning marijuana industry. The narrative of this crisis—complete with corrupt politicians and shadowy networks obstructing progress—is one that the Globe’s readers want and need to hear.
The Boston Globe should devote more space and effort toward informing the public of the urgency of the ecological crisis which will shape the future of our commonwealth. Their already-impressive coverage, by reporters like David Abel and Beth Daley, deserves more prominence. Now is not the time to bury the lede by treating climate change as just another issue in today’s current events.
Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts has sent the Globe several requests to meet with Editor Brian McGrory and discuss how the Globe’s editorial policy and priorities can inform the public at the scale required. Since we have heard no response yet, we will present a call to action to the Globe in person on Wednesday [Editor’s note: April 17, as this issue of DigBoston hits the streets].
We do not blame the Globe for shortcomings that are pervasive in much of the media and government. Because of the systemic nature of the climate and ecological crises, we need systemic change to address them. However, systemic change only comes when people are brave enough to push for it, as the Globe has done before. For the launch of the International Rebellion this week, chapters around the world are asking their local media to measure up to what the truth demands. We urge the Globe to lead this effort and treat this emergency as the cover story it is.
That said, given the urgency of this crisis, we cannot rely solely on traditional media to get the truth out. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, “we have not come here to beg.” We are giving public talks around Massachusetts to communicate the scientific facts, the risks we face, as well as opportunities to act. You can hear one such talk at 7pm on Friday April 19 at the Community Church of Boston.
We invite you, and the Boston Globe, to join us.
This article uses statistics from the Yale Climate Opinion Map, December 2018.
The Extinction Rebellion is an international mobilization for non-violent civil disobedience against continuing inaction on the climate emergency. The movement began in London in November 2018, and has since sprung up all over the world with over 200 chapters participating in the launch of the International Rebellion on April 15. More information about the Massachusetts chapter available on our website at xrmass.org.
The authors are members of Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts.