Engaged and Activated for Science: Millions March for a Common Purpose

The Challenge of Engaging People

When we talk to political, organisational and project leaders – they often say that engaging and aligning people is some of the greatest challenges. People are often dis-engaged, distracted and dis-enfranchised. They feel dis-empowered and dis-connected.

Getting thousands of people or a whole city-state to understand a complex technical subject, its impacts, rationale and benefits, is a major task. On major projects with daily change and thousands of staff and stakeholders – keeping all marching in the same direction – singing from the same hymn sheet – takes powerful systems, culture and tools.

Yet Here Come 4 Million Marching People

So as engagement professionals, the accomplishments of a global movement – run on a shoestring across cultures, nations, cities, and led by young people – is of great interest, whether you are activated directly or not.

The numbers are impressive: Organizers estimate that some 4 million people turned up to 6,000 events held in more than 1,000 cities across 185 countries.

If 4 million people turned up, probably 10x that thought about it.

A Historical Moment of Engagement

It is not often in history such a mass, global, social movement occurs. It has been compared to other, preceding social movements – women’s suffrage, civil rights, gay and lesbian rights, anti-war protests during the Vietnam war.

Hearing the call for accountability and systemic change – this could be as big as the 1789 French Revolution that brought the feudal system to a dramatic and sudden end. Powerful rights of the nobility and the church ceased overnight. Heads rolled.

This time it could be the trillions per annum in fossil fuel subsidies.

We have a digitally connected community across facebook and other platforms – including AVAAZ shutting down right-wing hate sites throughout the Euro Union elections, run by volunteers.

Now events any day may trigger major responses – from natural disasters (fires, heatwaves, cyclones…) to political and business actions.

Groundswell of Youth say: Engage with the Science

One thing so impressive is the call to reason, to Science. To Climate Science.

Here is a group led by “youth” – those millennials mocked by “oldies” as molly-coddled lazy princesses. Now the youth are taking to the streets while oldies watch TV and polish the car.

16-year old Greta Thunberg attached as her evidence to US Congress, the 2018 IPCC report. She provided the Science. Just read it, she said.

The fundamental point being that greenhouse gas levels are skyrocketing – and 99% of the science says we should stop it, now. Please do that, says the millions.

We see the ‘elders’ of society busily promoting STEM education – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. At the same time, said same elders deny the findings of thousands of Scientists.

What the Science says, Sept 2019: Source IPCC.

From the Bottom Up: Cities are Engaging

Globally, over 1,000 government bodies representing 265 million people have declared a climate emergency. Cities are engaged.

Canada, Ireland, Argentina, Spain and Portugal have 100% “climate emergency” population coverage. The rest of the countries range from 0% to 30% – represented by cities and local governments mainly (very few state or national governments).

In Australia, the city governments of Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Darwin, and Adelaide have declared a climate emergency (not Brisbane, where over 10k ppl marched Friday, nor Perth). The ACT Government is the only State/Territory to declare a climate emergency. That is, 53 governments representing 5.7 million people and 22% of the population are signed up to “climate emergency” policies in Australia.

Yet Australia just re-elected a conservative government who generally denies climate science and promotes fossil fuels – including the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine.

Millions Unite and Engage – Watch This Space

It is a Unique Moment. With a unifying force bringing together millions across the globe. Science and technical intelligence are being held up as the logical choice – that compels action. Action and engagement is coming from the bottom up, as a groundswell, from small countries to young people and cities.

Much will happen now, after the Marches, in the halls of parliaments everywhere. Yet still fossil fuels will burn – growing at 2% pa.

For those studying community, stakeholder, technical and political engagement – especially in the technical, scientific and engineering domain – it is a great time to be switched on – and preferably join in.

Watch this space.

Science 101: a line graph that says CO2 is going up, lots: The Keeling curve.

To learn more about engagement and bringing your critical processes to life – contact me for a free consult. 


Author: Dr Ben Guy


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