Maarten Schrama

Assistant Professor, University of Leiden - Leiden, Netherlands
Leiden, Netherlands
Maarten Schrama

The situation is surreal. We as scientists know better than anybody else what is going on in the world. The reports our institute helps to produce (IPBES) conclude that we are in the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis. Not a “problem” — crises!

The IPCC in turn made clear that keeping the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius is needed to prevent “crisis after crisis.” Papers have been published that calculate we have around a 5% chance (!) to keep the temperature rise under the Paris Agreement level of 2 degrees.

To this point, we, as scientists, have maintained the position that our role is just to deliver data and facts, that to maintain our credibility we cannot speak up about those facts other than in papers and formal reports. This position cannot be maintained — we have to be far more vocal by sharing our science on platforms and, perhaps more importantly, we should be making the sacrifices that we think society should make.

We cannot expect others to change if we don’t want to commit to the changes that we advocate ourselves. Flying is an integral part of this – and therefore I have decided to quit flying altogether.

Our institute focuses on a range of environmental issues, biodiversity, and ecosystems.