We have known the damage that we are doing to our world for more than 50 years. Books have been written – “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson – letters have gone to MPs, petitions have been signed, talks have been given, films made, views expressed, organisations formed, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, all to no avail until the frustration burst when Extinction Rebellion took NON-VIOLENT direct action to block London bridges in 2018.
You may think that those people behave badly, that they have no right to disrupt people trying to get to work, hospital, catch a train, attend a funeral or an interview. Those who undertake those actions are well aware of the trouble they cause and very much regret that they may have caused harm but know that unless they attract the attention of the press their concerns will not be aired. When Extinction Rebellion blocked the bridges in 2018 there were many people in this country who thought they were attention seeking ‘gloom mongers’ who were overreacting to damage to the Amazon Rainforest. Now there are very few people who are ‘climate deniers’; wildfires, flooding, drought, melting ice and increased migration have shown us the true picture of ‘global warming’. Of course, individual efforts to reduce our carbon footprint are to be commended but reducing the demand for fossil fuel energy is not enough, we are beyond the safe level of CO2 emissions already.
Our government must take legislative action instead of valuing growth above everything. We need to stop taking fossil fuels out of the ground, rapidly, entirely and forever. Business as usual is killing us, we need to decommission every combustion engine, insulate every house, replace every gas boiler with a heat pump, change our electricity entirely to renewables, walk, cycle, scoot, use public transport and only use electric cars as a last resort by 2025!
I’m speaking to myself here, I have a gas fired boiler, an open fire, an old petrol engine car, a reasonably insulated loft space, a bicycle that I only use in the Summer, and I still consume the occasional bit of beef and bacon. I can reach family members by train but usually drive because at the moment it’s easier to have my own transport.
I have taken part in demonstrations in London but not brave enough to be arrested. I have banged a drum, I have supported local actions, hung banners, provided cake, manned stalls, undertaken arrestee support at Police stations and, most importantly, I have got to know some brilliant people who are determined to make a difference. They are not aggressive people, they are well informed, gentle, kind, generous and good humoured.
There will be people near you who are equally committed, stop and talk to them, listen to what they have to say, perhaps join them on a walk, attend a film night, visit a repair shop……
Where I live in Surrey there are oil drilling sites to be challenged, Gatwick wanting a second runway, we have to stand together against these developments. TOGETHER being the operative word – don’t expect other people to do it for you.
Don’t be afraid on your own, it’s so much better to share your concerns, don’t in ten years’ time be saying “I should have joined Extinction Rebellion”
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a do-it-together movement.