Last week saw the launch of a new network of activists groups targeting universities and other academic institutions. They demand a move to radical action to reflect the reality and urgency of science and research they produce in relation to climate and ecological breakdown.

Real Media covered an action by Scientist Rebellion in the summer, when green paint was poured on the steps of the Royal Society headquarters in London, along with a more recent visit to the prestigious Nature journal’s headquarters near Kings Cross, where they pasted scientific papers on the windows and doors of the building.

The new network, Mobilise Peace, sees Scientist Rebellion joining forces with System Change Ireland and Economist Rebellion and they are working with other activists at universities around the country to mobilise action at academic institutions.

Last week saw the official launch of the Mobilise Peace network, with activists at Trinity College Dublin setting off a fire alarm to disrupt classes, occupying the Provost’s office, and chalk-spraying slogans around the university. In Oxford on Saturday, campaigners pasted scientific papers on walls and doors at the Oxford Martin School (part of Oxford University), while in London, a protester poured paint on the nameplates at University College London before sitting in front of the gates with large banners of scientific papers.

The joint aim of the network is to highlight institutions’ responsibility to mobilise staff, students, and academics in non-violent civil disobedience ‘to act as if the emergency is real’.

As Scientist Rebellion’s Mike Lynch-White puts it:

“Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act”

Ronan Brown (System Change Ireland) points out that Irish universities represent a total of around 1 million students, staff, and alumni – diverse, highly knowledgeable, and potentially motivated towards activism. In a country of just 5 million, these institutions not only have an opportunity and the capacity to act, but an obligation to do so.