German scientists and theologians join scientific rebellion over climate inaction

“Save creation” from climate catastrophe is the cry of prominent figures from the German Catholic Church who have joined the scientific rebellion in Munich calling for a new alliance between science and faith.

Alberto Coronel/Agnes Delage

To the cry of “Save creation!”, relevant figures of the German Catholic Church have joined the campaign of civil disobedience organized in the city of Munich by the international collective scientific rebellion /Scientist Rebellion

. During his last actions in Bavaria, the priest and social scientistJörg Alt doctor from the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Jesuit theologianJoe Ubelmesser

participated by blocking traffic in front of the Ministry of Justice. They declared: “We theologians, likescientific rebellion

we have a duty to be honest and make society aware of physical and ecological reality as opposed to political fictions”. Like the English activists ofJust Stop Oil

who recently threw tomato and puree at paintings by Van Gogh, Monet and Vermeer without damaging them, these non-violent actions try to attract the media spotlight towards a fact recognized by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres: “we must mobilize governments, cities, companies, civil society… so that they understand that we are one step away from the abyss”.

listen to science From throwing biodegradable fake blood against the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on April 6, to occupying the Volkswagen pavilion to denounce the actions of its lobbies in Germany on October 20, the actions of the collective scientific rebellion

in Europe they always have the same objective: that science be listened to in order to save millions of lives, that is, to avoid the worst scenarios foreseen by the scientific community. The members of scientific rebellion

they are mostly scientists, academics and experts from 35 countries, often of internationally recognized prestige, who have accepted the failure of their warnings to political and economic leaders about the extreme gravity of the climate crisis.

Many of them have traveled to Germany, Europe’s main economic engine, to carry out a campaign of civil disobedience a few weeks before COP 27, which will take place in Egypt from November 6 to 18. As a result of these actions, sixteen members of scientific rebellion

They have been arrested and taken to preventive detention, including five Spaniards. This has been the reason why German Catholics have sent an open letter calling for solidarity with the people who are carrying out the protests. Reading of the open letter to the German Catholic Church.

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Open letter In theopen letter entitled “Appeal to the leaders and theologians of the Catholic Church in Germany in the face of actions against the climate catastrophe”, subscribe to their adherence to the principles of non-violent civil disobedience of the collectivescientific rebellion

claiming to share the extreme concern of scientists in the face of climate inaction by governments. […] They emphasize the role of civil disobedience in the history of the Catholic Church, stating: “we share the concerns of the activists and

We ask that you support these solidarity actions. Let us remember that civil disobedience has always been part of Christian practice to this day, always inspired anew by the memory of the prophets and of Jesus.

The letter refers to the latest IPCC scientific reports published in 2022, which refer to the accelerated extinction of species and the special vulnerability of the poor to the catastrophic effects of climate change. These German theologians fulfill the “ecological conversion” that is at the center of the famous encyclical published by Pope FrancisLaudato si, on caring for our common home published in 2015, just a few months before the Paris Summit on Climate Change

which set the goal of limiting the increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees during this century. In this foundational encyclical, Pope Francis not only showed his gratitude to those who were fighting to defend the Earth, but also appealed to all Christians and people of good will to join in “becoming aware of the need to carry outlifestyle changesproduction and consumption ,

to combat global warming or, at least, the human causes that produce or accentuate it”.

An unprecedented request

The German theologians who have turned to civil disobedience launch a petition and a plea to all believers and leaders of the Catholic Church: “Use your influence so that the wrong path of fossil fuels is stopped as soon as possible. Stand in solidarity with activists and don’t allow people who work non-violently to save creation to be smeared and punished.”

Today, the vast majority of the scientific community points out that the goal of keeping the planet’s average temperature below 1.5 degrees has failed and the UN announces that we are heading towards an increase of more than 2.5 degrees.

Until now, the alerts of the scientific community and the call of the Church to the governments have gone unheeded. However, the fight for life and for climate justice could be the basis of a new alliance between rationality and spirituality, science and faith.

Because the Earth is the only house we have, it would not cease to be hopeful news if the IPCC reports reached Sunday mass and the cry heard in Germany resounded in the laboratories: Let’s save creation!

Alberto Coronel is a professor and researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Complutense University of Madrid. Agnès Delage is a professor of contemporary history at the University of Aix Marseille. 

German scientists and theologians join scientific rebellion over climate inaction