Climate scientist Gianluca Grimalda has lost his job. He was supposed to return to Germany after six months of research in the Solomon Islands, but refused to do so by plane.
His employer gave him two options: either return to work within the deadline, or resign. He chose the second.
Grimalda worked at the Kiel Institute for Worldwide Economy (IfW), which told him after the choice that he no longer had to come at all, reports the British newspaper The Guardian. Grimalda is still in the Solomon Islands. His boat leaves on Saturday.
It was worth it
He has no regrets. “Refusing to fly cost me my job. It was worth paying this price,” he says.
In fact, Grimalda finds it ridiculous that his former employer does not understand that “the world’s most important ecosystems are collapsing, or have already collapsed.”
“Emitting 4.5 tons of CO2 during this period to meet the absurd demand to be physically in Kiel at short notice is morally unacceptable,” he says. “It embodies the ultimate privilege of the global elite.”
Grimalda has thought about challenging his dismissal, but decides against it. “It looks like the IfW is in the right.”
The IfW itself does not make any statements about this specific case, but says it ‘generally encourages climate-friendly travel’. “If flights are unavoidable, we will donate money to Atmosfair to offset emissions.”
The outward journey went the way Grimalda wanted. You can see it below: