Last week the marathon reading of the IPCC AR6 rapports about climate change, that started at the VU, was continued at the University of Amsterdam in the hall of the faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. More than 50 students and staff members were involved and finished the public reading of the Working group I report about the physical basis, and started reading the working group II report dealing with Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
I took part, and the experience was a real eye opener for several reasons. In the first place it made me realise once more how dire our situation actually is. The section about expected water shortages due to disappearing glaciers -and the number of people hurt by that- was truly shocking me.
However, even more shocking was my realization how much I had been living in a bubble with(mainly) climate-change-aware people around me. Here, in this hall, many of the students I talked to defended the idea that Neo-classical economics and the market were the cure to all our problems. My suggestion (based on my biology background) that 2-3 % growth for a “healthy” economy (i.e. exponential growth!) is simply untenable, and that there are interesting alternatives (ecological economics), was often met with disbelief.
The responses shows how valuable initiative like this are. Although somewhat symbolic given the -often technical- content of the reports, the public reading provides a perfect platform for the exchange of ideas, and a great opportunity to heighten awareness about the unfolding climate– and ecological crises. It would therefore be great if we could continue this marathon at another Dutch university. People interested in organising this can contact the UvA organisers Maien Sachisthal and Adam Finnemann (or me) at
Peter Roessingh, IBED, UvA