Dr. Charlie Gardner is currently a lecturer at the University of Kent Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
He has dedicated his life to conserving nature, training through multiple degrees and stints of volunteering to become a wildlife scientist, publishing dozens of scientific papers, and researching and devising solutions for conserving nature and biodiversity.
As well as all his academic work, he’s used his knowledge in the real world as a practitioner, most notably during ten years spent in Madagascar working closely with local communities to set up protected areas which they manage themselves in sustainable ways. There he has already clearly seen how climate change is affecting the viability of preferred livelihoods, and how corporate-fuelled ecological destruction often offers the only hope of the means to eat in the short term, while destroying the means to survive in the long-term.
In the UK we’ve had severely reduced harvests in two of the last three years due to changing weather patterns, but because the UK imports so much of its food the effects have been less noticeable to the public, but Charlie is concerned about scientific predictions of potential multiple crop failures happening at the same time around the globe, and the inevitable scramble for food that will ensue.
His concerns and frustrations led him to join Extinction Rebellion, mainly because he doesn’t see the corporate media telling the truth about what science is saying is happening to our world, and because he believes the solutions and mitigations are understood and already available but we just need the political will to make changes.
In the recent rebellion protests, XR were heavily backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill tabled in Parliament by the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. To date, the Early Day Motion has attracted the support of 59 MPs, none of them Conservative. Dr Gardner sees the Bill as useful because it brings the notion of emergency into parliament through the processes the politicians recognise, rather than through the ‘otherness’ of protests outside, but he believes strongly in civil disobedience too.
While lobbyists and think tanks working for big business and the super-rich get unrestricted access to politicians, campaigners and scientists like Gardner are ignored, and he has endlessly tried to engage through letter-writing, petitions, marches and so on. So he, like other scientists, has become a strong advocate for civil disobedience, seeing it as the last throw of the dice for our fragile planet.