Whilst many spent the long-weekend, I included, in Pubs and Bars as the United Kingdom basked in glorious sunshine, thousands of protestors engaged in civil disobedience across London. Extinction Rebellion has been occupying various sites across the capital, from one of its many bridges to Oxford Circus. This has resulted in mass disruption for the many people who live and work there. Many have hailed this drastic protest as heroic for highlighting the catastrophic effects of climate change, but others have said the subsequent disruption to normal life is a bridge too far.
But I would argue that the preservation of normal life is exactly what Extinction Rebellion is trying to preserve. Not literally the current normal way of life with our bizarre infatuation with fracking and idling diesel lorries, but normal life in the sense of actually existing and being conscious. What is agreed on all sides of the debate, is that drastic change needs to happen before 2025 before irreversible damage is done to our planet, from which catastrophe will ensue.
Those whom object to the demonstration dismiss those involved as middle-class lefties or outright hippies. Whilst there is no doubt that both of these categories of people are involved in Extinction Rebellion, and its associated protestors, there are also ordinary people who simply say enough is enough. Action is needed now.
Whilst government continue to highlight the UK’s Renewable Energy progress, boasting one of the largest off-shore wind-farms and relying less and less on coal, there are still significant areas in which the government could do more. In our current climate, we should not be opening up new fracking operations and our commitment to banning combustion engines could come much sooner than the targeted 2030.
It is inconvenient of course that those working in London have had their commute disrupted but it is also inconvenient to our grand-children that they may not have a planet as we know it if we do not act now. This is very easy for me to say sat writing this article in the north, 200 miles away from the disruption. However, I can assure you had I been in the capital I would have forgiven Extinction Rebellion for making me slightly late for dinner if it means their disruption results in government policy change.
What we need is perspective. We are all so focused on the moment, which in some instances is correct, but on such an existential issue we need to zoom-out. Yes, missing flights or trains or meetings is annoying and disruptive to oneself, friends, colleagues and clients but if we do not drastically change our approach to the climate issue, those insignificant annoyances won’t matter anyway. Instead, our worries will be existential ones.
Extinction Rebellion should be praised and thanked for their tireless pursuit for policy change which seeks to protect the earth, which subsequently protects the human race. People often argue that civil disobedience and protest does nothing but disrupt everyday life and waste police time. But today, April 24th2019, Extinction Rebellion (XR) has called an end to their protest because they say their purpose has been fulfilled as ‘the world has changed … a space for truth-telling has been opened up.’
People are talking about the climate in ways that we have not before, more people collectively realise that this issue is much more serious than the government portrays. As a result of this peaceful demonstration, XR has focused the minds of citizens in 80 cities across 33 countries to realise the ecological emergency we find ourselves in. Drastic times call for drastic measures, I would like to thank XR for telling the truth about how imminent the threat of climate catastrophe is.
Yes, it is true that China and the USA are by far the worst culprits for unenvironmentally friendly practices and legislation, but that does not mean we should rest on the small success we have had thus far. We are one of the world-leaders in renewables and we should take great pride in setting an example to our Western friends, but we can still go further and do more and we should strive towards this.
Sometimes a cause transcends all partisan attitudes and transcends daily life, the climate emergency is one of those.
To learn more visit https://rebellion.earth