Love and respect to everyone involved today with the Extinction Rebellion actions in London.
A friend is on Waterloo Bridge today. She’s not some crazed radical extremist. She’s one of the most gentle people I’ve met. A Quaker, seeking light, seeking peace, seeking justice, acting as much as she can from a place of love and respect for all. But she also knows that we don’t have another planet and that the powerful aren’t doing enough to preserve the ecosystems and climate on this one. She is desperate. Scared humanity will not do what it takes. We all should be.
She would rather be somewhere else. But like so many others feels that this is a time for action, for direct non-violent pressure on our government and across the world too where XR exists in nearly 40 countries with protests this week in 80 cities.
Nobody actually wants to be occupying bridges, Energy companies or Parliament Square today. They’ve all got lives they’d much rather get on with. Nobody likes that belief that putting normal life on hold is an absolute necessity.
But they are there. Because animals, plants, and our children and grandchildren deserve a future.
In the 80s when I was in Friends of the Earth and in the 60s before I was born we didn’t know about climate change in the way we do now. We did know we were harming the world though and the messages from environmentalists weren’t really much different from the messages now. We protested pollution and emissions then. Some pointed to a growing plastic problem too. Green issues were sidelined.
It’s just a hell of a lot more urgent now. Decades of inactivity and half-measures mean the world will have to take far more drastic measures now. It would have been much easier to save the world thirty years ago. But mostly, we didn’t bother. I stopped bothering too.
Thirty, forty, fifty years of pressure. Yet last year global CO2 emissions were the highest ever. In the UK we reduced them. By less than half a percent which means we’re still doing great harm to our world. In the north east at least four new coal mines are planned. That won’t help. The Druridge mine was refused permission on climate grounds. But a year on we’re having to fight the appeal by Banks Mining which is protesting those climate grounds.
Activists globally – and I, unfortunately, wasn’t among them – have talked for decades. We are where we are now.
This week is for action. To call upon governments to tell the truth about the extreme seriousness of the climate threat we face. To call upon them to act now, to implement whatever climate protection policies are necessary and to aim to be carbon neutral by 2025. And to call for a citizen’s assembly to make sure it’s being done.
I for one support those aims. And I’d hug any one of those protestors. Love to the lot of them.
Next week there are some much smaller scale Extinction Rebellion actions and activities in Newcastle. I can’t be in London, on Waterloo Bridge with my friend. I’d love to be there or at one of the other protest sites in London but life and health circumstances make it both impossible and unwise. However, I can be involved in some way with the events happening locally and that pleases me greatly.
It would be wonderful if you could join us. The Facebook group page is XR North East. Information can be found there. Just send an email or ask questions online. If you’re in London the main page and the XR website will tell you how to be involved. There are also lots of local groups across the country and groups in other countries too.