Court Statements Selection 6
These statements were written by XR rebels who took part in non-violent civil disobedience during 2019 and 2020 and were charged with a criminal offence. They were read aloud at their court hearings, almost always by the defendants themselves although during the Covid-19 pandemic some were read by a solicitor or by the court clerk. In legal terms they are statements of mitigation but the writers’ objective was primarily to explain to the court, in their own words, why they did what they did. They are individual expressions of the desperate urgency of the climate crisis.
The statements included below are anonymised and not in chronological order. They represent a small proportion of the total: if anyone whose statement is not included would be willing to share it, please send it to email@example.com.
I plead guilty today to a criminal offence: obstructing the highway at the Bank of England and refusing to move during the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, 14 October 2019. I am grief-stricken that I am forced to take criminal action to protect our planet and living creatures.
For over 10 years I have been rallying against climate change and mass extinction. The usual legal methods have not led to sufficient meaningful change; I’ve voted, written to my MP, marched, and done extensive studies on the environment and regenerative agriculture. I’ve worked for environmental and social justice causes, moved off-grid and set up community-supported farms. I’ve taught environmental education and facilitated nature connection for over a thousand children.
And yet...it is never enough. We are running out of time.
There is a difference between an intellectual understanding of the science and the deep knowing in your bones that this is an emergency. On occasion I have been brave enough to confront that knowing. It’s terrifying, something you never forget and which propels you to action.
XR is a movement confronting grief and despair. But underlying this is a deep love. A love for our earth and its inhabitants. To ensure the survival of life on earth we need radical action and systemic transformation. Three demands from our governments: tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency; commit to net zero emissions by 2025; and follow the leads of a Citizen Assembly. Peaceful civil disobedience has a long history of creating profound change. And this is why I felt both terrified and proud of my actions as part of XR; I had a moral obligation to act and I recognise my privilege in being able to do so.
My sister has recently birthed a baby girl. A grief washes over me when I imagine the future that awaits her. Holding her, I know I would make the same decision facing arrest; I will fight for the more just, healthy and beautiful world that I know is possible. Being part of the Rebellions of April, July and October 2019 offered me a sliver of hope. When she asks me what I did to protect our one precious earth, I will be able to look her in the eye and say I played my part.
In this bewildering, turbulent year of 2020, whatever illusions we carried around security, predictability and control have been shattered. This virus has touched us all, we are deeply interconnected. It’s been quite astounding to watch the world bend and shift in the face of COVID-19. To see how what once felt immovable, was just an illusion.
This virus that shows us how inexorably entwined our health is with that of the planet’s. Both this current pandemic and climate change are global negative externalities. Science, public policy and international co-operation are crucial for making meaningful change. Will this be possible without a public uprising?
The old normal is dead. What kind of world will we be courageous enough to construct in its place?
Statement to the court regarding XR protests [written in a police cell using pencil and paper provided by the custody officer]
When a child opens their eyes on the world and begins to look around they naturally think that what they see is fixed, just the way things are. As that child grows they begin to understand that, far from being fixed, time changes everything. Soon, they understand that summer follows spring, that the leaves fall in autumn and winter brings Christmas. At quite a young age they begin to understand that people are born, and grow to be adults who will, one day, die. And then, there is a moment when they realise that this will happen to them too. They were born, they will live a life, and they will die. We who were children once do not remember that moment. We don’t remember it because of its horror and enormity. It is an idea that is pushed swiftly to the almost inaccessible reaches of our minds and walled up behind daily concerns about school, exams, making relationships, getting a mortgage, holding onto a job. Illnesses, accidents and old age may give us glimpses of our mortality, but we will usually treat it as a poor fiction because, though we know we will die, none of us really believes it. It is too difficult to imagine not being in the world.
How much more difficult is it then to imagine that the world itself will die? It is an idea, a prospect, so appalling that most people will never believe it. And yet we know that our plundering of the land and the seas is driving whole species to extinction, and that continued burning of fossil fuels is raising the global temperature. We know that in a few short years a runaway, unstoppable process will begin that will melt the ice caps and raise the sea level until it overwhelms the world’s major cities and inundates most of the land on which we grow our food.
This reality that we refuse to contemplate allows governments of nations around the world to deny the existence of the problem and delay and fudge actions that only they can take to avert total catastrophe. The science is accepted. Predictions of the timetable of events can be argued over, but it is estimated that we now have as little as a twenty percent chance of avoiding the worse effects of climate change. Every passing year without radical change will reduce that chance from perhaps 20%, to 10 %, and rapidly, inexorably, to zero. And then, everything will die. We have poisoned our planet, our home. As it dies it will kill us and every other living thing on it. People and animals on the edge will go first, in a blizzard of dislocation, wars and famine. We in the more forgiving parts of the world will last a little longer, but the consequences will not be pleasant and our turn too will come. Beauty, science and democracy will fail as the natural world dies.
All the trees, all the grass, all the lovely places will burn. All the fish, all the tigers, all the birds, will die. All the people, all the art and architecture, all the books and all the music, all the laughter and all the good times. Dead. If I have made you think that it could get no worse, I have to tell you that it does. Because, as the world dies, we will have to live with the knowledge that we killed it through our inability to face reality. Through our stupidity and inaction. Through the stupidity and inaction of governments that we voted into office.
In 1989 Margaret Thatcher addressed the United Nations and said “The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices.” It is a disgrace that, thirty years later, I had to sit down in a road to try to get people to take some notice. It is my right and responsibility to try to draw attention to the Climate Emergency. I have to do that and will do so again by any peaceful means I can think of.
When you leave here, look into the sky and breathe the air, and remember that nothing now will ever be the same. Do not kid yourself that we will rebuild as we always have after a war or a natural disaster. This is like nothing we have ever faced before. Today, we have just a slim chance of avoiding total catastrophe, but the damage has begun and will increase with each passing day. If we survive at all, we and our children will have to live with the consequences.
I am pleading guilty and I would like to explain why, though I sat down in Whitehall as charged, wearing my polar bear head, I would feel far more guilty if I had done nothing.
I left London with a small child in 1975, moving to the welsh borders for clean air and the chance to grow our own food. I took with me a tiny Friends of the Earth Cookbook which encouraged us to drive less, fly less, eat less meat, use less water, less plastic, fewer toxic chemicals and to re-use or re-cycle tins, glass, clothing and paper, grow more veg and do less damage to our environment; these ideas, which took a long time to gain popular credibility, are highlighted again in Extinction Rebellion’s campaign.
During the 45 years since then, there have been countless reports by scientists from all over the world, either commissioned by governments or from independent research, which have detailed the destructive chaos of climate change created by the uncontrolled rise in CO2 emissions;
- despite these increasingly anxious reports,
- despite a global groundswell of petitions, meetings, talks, books, songs, TV programmes, letters, films, demonstrations, pleas,
- despite practical volunteer actions such as tree planting, flood alleviation schemes, communal food growing and food sharing programmes,
- despite the catastrophic and unequal effects globally, to all life forms, of changing weather systems,
it is a fact that successive governments, both here and internationally, have paid mere lip-service to the mounting evidence. There has been very little effective action, if any. Sadly, it has taken a miserable and isolating pandemic to demonstrate that we can successfully reduce emissions.
Last summer, overhearing a conversation about climate change, my youngest grandson patted my cheek and said earnestly
‘But you will do something Granny, won’t you’
And what exactly would you have me do? We have tried.
In 20 years time, should I live that long, I don’t want to be watching my grandchildren struggle with the choice not to have children , as so many young people are choosing today, because with famine fire and flood there will be no sustainable future.
I re-iterate: yes, I sat down in Whitehall but I would be far more guilty if I did nothing to prevent the harm caused by ignoring climate change.
I am pleading guilty today because, as I understand it, I violated Section 14 of the UK’s Public Order Act 1986, however I do not feel guilty and, as a member of Extinction Rebellion, I stand by my actions.
The reason I do not feel guilty is because having read the scientific evidence and seen what is happening around the world, I felt there was no alternative but for me to do my part in what I feel is a failure of the government in its duty of care towards me and all citizens.
I am a former City employee but more recently retrained as a psychotherapist and have been a law-abiding citizen my entire life.
I have the upmost respect for the law, lawmakers and law-enforcers and would never, in a million years, have ever expected to find myself sitting in a road and risking arrest however I had to do something.
It would be easy to say that I got swept up with everyone else on that day, and certainly I was influenced by seeing so many ordinary people (many younger and lots older than me) risking being arrested, but it was more than that. I suddenly knew I could not just sit on the fence and wait for what’s already happening to carry on happening without doing something, ANYTHING to raise the gravity of the situation.
How could I stand by and do nothing? We are custodians of this planet; we do NOT own it and we have a duty of care to look after it. This is what we are failing to do and that should be punishable by law.
So many amazing organisations and people have tried for many years to raise this issue to no avail. It saddens, no, more than that, it makes me ANGRY that it seems the only solution left is peaceful civil disobedience – non-violent direct action - so I stayed sitting, prepared (albeit scared) to take the consequences.
I’m a step-mum, auntie and god-mum and I WANT to leave a safe and sustainable planet for the next generation and the generation after that.
I want them to know that I tried. Like so many others before me and hopefully many after me, to do something, ANYTHING to get the world to wake up before it’s too late.
Thanks to Extinction Rebellion, Parliament declared a climate emergency in 2019 and these issues are now much higher up on the agenda and in people’s consciousness, however the government still fails to act and each day that passes we are getting closer and closer to the point of no return.
If my actions, in their small part, help to change this so that we can find a way for a better future and stop using up a year’s planet’s resources in 7 months then this will be worth it.
I will take my punishment for what I did on Tuesday 1st September 2020. I didn’t want to break the law, but it seems I did, and I will continue to do so because I love this world and it seems that peaceful rebellion is the only way to get anyone to listen and hopefully act.
So, I humbly ask, as you make your decision today, to please take into consideration that all I, we are trying to do is to help leave our children, your children and their children with a habitable planet.
Thank you for listening to this, my mitigating circumstances.
I am 73 years of age. So I do not want to risk a crowded journey into London; I plead guilty as charged. Though how I obstructed traffic which had been stood stock still for an hour I do not know.
I sat down and made my presence known in this strange way to bring to public attention the poor state in which we are leaving this wonderful planet.
I am sorry for any inconvenience. But I think that civilised protest is proportionate if it helps nudge our government into taking action they promised when they signed The (2015) Paris Agreement on Climate Action.
I should like to thank my arresting officer for making the event as pleasant as possible.
There is a climate and ecological emergency threatening the survival of all life on earth. The United Nations informed by hundreds of scientists says the situation is urgent. Yet successive UK governments fail to inform their citizens, and worse – they fail to take action, despite their duty to ensure the safety and well being of the population. Since the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Brazil I have been aware of the looming disaster. I took small personal actions. I joined Friends of the Earth. I signed petitions, wrote to politicians. I marched in approved demonstrations.
Still almost no action from government. It is as if they paper over the cracks of a collapsing building, and at the same time they undermine its foundations. Meanwhile droughts, floods and fires devastate the natural world causing disease, misery, food insecurity, death. My polite requests made no impact on decision makers. My personal lifestyle changes are too small to hold back disaster. Now, in desperation, I have followed my conscience in a bid to raise public awareness and plead for government and institutional action.
The reason I protested outside the Houses of Parliament is to draw attention to the ongoing climate and ecological crisis. 2021 will be a make or break year for us in this respect. Levels of CO2 continue to increase, in May last year CO2 levels reached 417.1ppm, a level not seen for several million years. Unless we reverse this change now, we run the risk of triggering tipping points that will start a runaway greenhouse effect, we don’t know at what level of CO2 these tipping points will act, so every rise is a gamble.
Emissions curbing plans under the Paris climate agreement leave Earth on track for warming of 3C if we are to hit a 1.5C target we need to halve the worlds emissions in the next ten years and reach net zero by 2050 as a very minimum. Despite government saying this is their target they are not taking the necessary action to achieve this.
We have been distracted by the pandemic yet the emissions reduction we have seen last year due to the pandemic is what we need every year till 2030, but it is already increasing. We can’t just make a short term cut, we aren’t going to make the necessary changes without much longer infrastructure change and the whole structural change to the way our economies work. There is no sign of this, in fact governments around the world want to increase growth after the pandemic.
And then there is the ecological crisis, the speed of the climate change and destruction in habitats is far faster than happened millions of years ago when species had time to adapt, we are looking at a global extinction of wildlife. To respond to this we need to change international law to make destruction of the natural world and extinction of species at the same level as we currently view genocide.
We need to look for a future where we respect nature, where a percentage of the world is set aside for nature, where humans are prohibited from entering these refuges so that nature can regenerate.
The alternative is to condemn our children to a world polluted with our waste and devoid of wildlife, where there are no wild spaces and extreme climate changes reduce humans to living in smaller and smaller areas with much of the world a dead zone.
We have been condemned for being too pessimistic about the future but the danger lies in being too optimistic, We need to take appropriate action, now.
But I don’t just protest, as a local councillor and volunteer in community groups I help to develop local initiatives to tackle climate change and habitat loss and encourage others to do likewise.
Up until a couple of years ago people like me didn’t generally get arrested. Since the XR Rebellion in April 2019 I have been arrested four times. Why on earth would a 72 year old grandmother choose to do this ?
- Because there is a climate and ecological emergency.
- Because the Government is not telling the truth about this emergency.
- Because the Government is not acting on the scientific evidence.
- Because this is an emergency and “emergency” means that we have to act now.
Sir David Attenborough recently said, “Climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced “. I had two grandchildren when I was arrested for the first time in 2019. I now have three. And I am terrified for their future.
The government declared a climate and ecological emergency in May 2019, soon after the XR April Rebellion. But since then, they have done nothing about it. I, along with so many others was utterly fed up, frustrated and discouraged with the government’s failure to act.
But in September 2020 there was one small glimmer of hope, two actually, but linked – the CEE Bill and the XR Rebellion.
The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill) is calling on the government to take real action to protect and restore the UK’s biodiversity and slash carbon emissions, with an emergency Citizens’ Assembly set up to guide government action. This bill, tabled by Caroline Lucas on 2nd September 2020, is the only concrete plan available to address the crisis. On 1st September, Extinction Rebellion launched their rebellion to demand that our elected officials Act Now and embrace this legislation.
I was part of that rebellion. I was arrested on 3rd September for glueing my hand to the pavement outside Parliament gates. A peaceful, non-violent action to draw the attention of Parliament to the urgency of the situation. An attempt to get the Government to take seriously the climate and ecological emergency that they declared in May 2019 but which they still have not acted on.
I don’t enjoy being arrested – it’s exhausting and emotionally draining. But we’ve tried everything else. And it’s an emergency – we simply have to act now. Non violent direct action is the only way to draw attention to the appalling, uncomfortable, difficult truth that the government will not address. We will all have no future if we don’t act now. The threat is existential. It is that serious. It is that huge.
As the scientists, and most recently Sir David Attenborough tell us, climate collapse could destroy entire cities and societies, even altering the stability of the entire world.
Christian Aid’s climate policy lead, Dr Kat Kramer, said recently, February 2021 : “Millions of the world’s poorest people are already living with the impacts of climate change, which is forcing displacement, devastating livelihoods and putting pressure on communities who are competing over resources such as land and water.”.
Sir David goes on, “If we continue on our current path we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security – 24. 2. 2021
We should have known just how desperate the situation was 30 or 40 years ago. The government knew. But we were not told. And no action was taken. And even now, when the situation is dire and time is running out, the gulf between what the government says and what it actually does is gapingly and distressingly huge.
There should have been a second reading of the CEE Bill on 26 March 2021, but, although all parties are represented by the slowly growing number of MPs supporting it, there are very few Conservative MPs. And the reading has been put off…
It’s an emergency, for goodness sake ! Shame on our leaders for not standing up for our young people, for their future, for our planet.
Barak Obama said “We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it."
We simply have to act now. We’re seeing the effects of climate change every day. The freezing temperatures causing chaos in Texas, the terrible Australian and American fires, the melting ice caps and glaciers tumbling into the sea, the enormous new iceberg that has broken off Antarctica, the storms and hurricanes and typhoons causing devastation with increasing regularity all around the world. And it will only get worse. Much, much worse.
The climate and ecological emergency moves relentlessly forwards, while the government dawdles, diverted by the coronavirus, refusing to admit that the pandemic we are living through now is nothing compared to what will come as the climate crisis further develops and intensifies. As Bill Gates has said (16 2. 2021), ending the global Covid pandemic will be “very, very easy” compared to the task of addressing the climate crisis. Managing to do this, he said, would be “the most amazing thing humanity has ever done”. But our government does nothing.
So of course I had to act. In the face of all the really terrible and frightening facts about the future of humanity and the future of our planet – of course I had to act ? How could I otherwise look my grandchildren in the eye and tell them that I did what I could for their future ?
So yes, I acted. And so I am, apparently, an “uncooperative crusty” (Boris Johnson, September 2020). But why on earth would I cooperate with a Government that is failing to do its job and protect its citizens ?
As a concerned and pretty desperate citizen I chose to rebel for my grandchildren, my children, and all the young people whose futures are so very bleak.
The Huffington Post stated on 22 February that Sir David Attenborough is to warn world leaders that this year’s COP 26 climate change talks in Glasgow are the last chance to prevent “runaway” global warming. We don’t have long. The time for denial is over.
As Rupert Read says in his book Parents for a Future – “Think long term and act now”. As a parent and grandparent and in the light of the scientific facts and evidence, I acted. It was my right. Indeed my duty. I glued my hand to the pavement. And I was arrested.
But how can what I did, in my desperation, be considered a crime ? What an extraordinary system that deems the protection of life to be a crime ?
Your honour there is one part of the prosecution argument that I feel is fundamentally flawed.
That is that I must have known that my actions could have no meaningful impact on the threat of climate change.
I beg to differ because there is this thing called society. Is not this court of law here as a keystone of that society? Just as you are now acting as part of a communal bigger picture so were we. Our actions were a small piece of a bigger plan that was extremely effective. The actions of Extinction rebellion in 2019 put the climate emergency at the top of the political agenda and wakened millions of people worldwide to the crisis. We are not lone wolves. We are Extinction Rebellion.
I’m guessing that this courtroom has heard many excellent speeches from XR rebels outlining the climate catastrophe and why they felt they needed to act with urgency and desperation, breaking the law. So, I apologise if you’ve heard some of what I am about to say but I’m going to start with one nugget of information I’ve heard many scientists use that never fails to shock me and is utterly terrifying.
Scientists calculate that the amount of heat energy that we are currently adding to the environment is equivalent to that of five Hiroshima bombs exploding EVERY SECOND.
That’s 300 Hiroshima bombs every minute – which is about as long as I’ve now been speaking.
18,000 every hour.
By this time tomorrow a further 432,000 Hiroshima bombs worth of energy will have been added to our world. And so it goes on. I calculated that since the 3 of us decided that this situation is so desperate that we needed to act with due urgency on that October morning 2019, the increase of energy has been equivalent to that of about 220,320,000 Hiroshima bombs.
It’s almost impossible to wrap one’s head around the enormity of this. It’s hard to accept isn’t it? The problem is a nuclear bomb impacts a targeted location and therefore releases its energy in an intense blast. We can see that – to witness such an explosion would be terrifying right?
The energy increase due to global warming however is impacting the area of the entire globe so to our perception it feels incremental – which is why it is so deadly – and why we acted as we did as part of XR’s drive to sound the alarm. Because clearly it isn’t incremental. The speed and magnitude of this energy build up is mind blowingly huge.
Can you imagine that if a rogue nation was randomly dropping 5 Hiroshima bombs every second that we would be in this courtroom right now debating whether or not we were right to protest about it? If a rogue nation had bombarded the planet with 220,320,000 Hiroshima bombs since then we would be cowering in a bunker and praying for it to stop. You might all be thinking in fact we’d probably all be dead. And therein lies the crux of this matter. You can’t add 158,000,000 Hiroshima bombs worth of heat energy to the planet every year without it having dire consequences. Let’s get real. Death is what we’re facing. Untimely death. Yours, mine and most devastating of all for me as a mother that of my children.
So what’s happening to this heat? How is it killing us and all the other species on this ‘living planet?’
Well, so far much of it has been absorbed by the oceans.
RIP Great Barrier Reef. 3 years of bleaching events on the trot. Scientists say it won’t recover now.
And it’s not just marine species that have so far been engulfed in this apocalypse. The oceans have thrown this heat energy back at us land dwellers in the form of ever more powerful and frequent hurricanes and typhoons. Last year was another record breaker in terms of number of named Atlantic storms. The meteorologists were well into the Greek alphabet by the time the season came to an end.
How many times have we heard the term ‘unprecedented’ in relation to weather events lately? It seems we’re in a record breaking period for record breaking! Floods, wildfires, droughts, hottest temperature, cold snaps – like that in Texas recently.
So, what’s that about – cold snaps from global warming? Well that’s the part that scares me the most as it’s a symptom of what else is happening to the heat energy – and it will eventually lead to world -wide famine.
You see the Arctic is heating up much faster than the rest of the world and this is slowing the jet stream. How? Well, the jet stream is powered by the heat gradient between the equator and the pole. The air moves from where it’s being heated at the equator to where it’s being chilled at the pole. Because of the spin of the Earth it gets deflected to the right which sets up the jet stream. But now the difference between the temperature at the Arctic and at the equator is significantly less so the jet stream has much less momentum and instead of being a fast undulating river of air rapidly pushing weather systems across the bread baskets of the world – sunshine and rain – great for growing crops – it’s now a slow broken mess that meanders far south dragging the polar vortex with it – and sets up a blocking pattern of pressure systems that just sit and sit. Under the high pressure we get wall to wall sunshine – leading to drought.
Under the lows we get endless rain leading to flooding. And because a warmer atmosphere holds more water the deluge is more intense. Last year ‘unprecedented’ flooding devastated rice crops in China which had to place its biggest order of imported grain ever.
But that’s not all. Some of the heat energy has gone into melting the ice. The amount of energy it takes to turn 1kg of ice into water will heat a kilo of water to 70 degrees c. And the sea ice has nearly gone. Scientists expect the first dreaded Blue Ocean Event in the next few years – maybe this year. What next then, boiling seas?
Well in fact the Arctic ocean is bubbling – with methane – 1,400 gigatonnes of carbon is locked up in methane and methane hydrates under the Arctic sub marine permafrost. And most of the Arctic sea is extremely shallow – facilitating its melt and release. And methane is 84 x more potent as a greenhouse gas. And I could go on and on because this is just one of the many feedbacks that make the IPCC predictions so woefully conservative. The IPCC, which informs our governments still has datelines such as 2050 and 2100 in its trajectory. 2 degrees warming is already baked into the system.
2050? Long before then we will be in a food crisis. Millions of people will be trying to flee the worst hit areas. There will be carnage.
2100? Unless we find a way to turn back time and suck vast quantities of CO2 back out of the atmosphere and replace the forests that are still being hacked down, and of course now are burning too, then the New Years Eve of 2100 will be a silent one. No people, no birds, no insects, no creatures. The 6th Mass Extinction is the most rapid to take place on this planet. Since I was born we have lost over 60% of the Earths biomass.
Are people aware of this? I think most would still call me a doomer. But I’m only repeating what the scientists are telling us. And yet governments are still talking about economic growth. This is madness!
Back in October 2019 awareness was even less. We have at least had some success at pushing the Overton window of imminent climate catastrophe. This is so important – knowledge is power.
This is why I felt it was my responsibility to act with pertinent exigency on the 11th of October 2019. ‘Tell The Truth’ is the first tenet of Extinction Rebellion.
And now we need action.
A newspaper headline in 1912 reads, “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate”
At university in the early 90s studying physics, we are taught about the IPCC report warning of the catastrophic impacts of climate change if we fail to take necessary action.
And for my entire adult life, governments have utterly failed to take anything like appropriate action.
Not only have we failed to reduce emissions to zero, we have not reduced them at all. In fact, they are still increasing.
It seems unimaginable, but our very existence is now at stake.
A few years ago I was an Assistant Accountant at Oxfam. Bulletins reported the appalling consequences that climate breakdown was already having on millions of people, overwhelmingly in the global south. Family farms buried under metres of mud, livelihoods wiped out. Week after week after week.
Flying is one of the most carbon intensive activities an individual can do.
A single transatlantic flight emits several tons of carbon pollution, more than many African’s in an entire lifetime.
Private jets are of course many times worse, even than that.
My conscience does not allow me to do nothing while such devastatingly dangerous and unjust practices continue in front of us.
A great many people have been attempting to raise the alarm on climate change since the 1970’s.
I joined them for my entire adult life, signing petitions, going on marches with a million other people, and standing for elections.
Here in Yorkshire, they have just announced plans for a major new oil and gas field close to Hull, and just granted Planning Permission for an expansion of Leeds-Bradford airport, and several other UK airports are also planning to expand.
Just today, a tax cut on air travel was announced to encourage flights within the UK.
This is accelerated suicide.
So, yes, I decided to protest to draw attention to this issue, and request action in line with what the science says is necessary for an inhabitable world and a stable civilisation; action I believe most UK citizens would want.
The intention was to block the Private Jet entrance of London City Airport, taking care that no one would be at risk of harm.
As it happened, as we approached on our bicycles, police stepped in to the road and blocked our progress, so rather spontaneously we made our protest there in the road.
I abhor aggression and violence, and none was shown by myself nor anyone else protesting, as we all remained perfectly calm.
I do not take such action lightly, and I am truly sorry for any inconvenience caused, as I apologised at the time to a taxi driver and my arresting police officer.
A contraflow was set up within approximately quarter of an hour, and the road was clear within about 40 mins, so the protest did not cause a major obstruction.
I believe my protest was proportionate to the threat of the climate crisis, decades of inaction, and the far greater crimes that are permitted on the other side of the fence, within the airport.
I am guilty of protesting in the road at an airport,
to ask for action to reduce intensively polluting flying, instead of increasing it,
in line with the science to tackle the climate crisis
on behalf of millions suffering the impacts of climate breakdown now,
and future generations everywhere.
I am a charity worker whose employment may require Criminal Records Disclosures, but I am not currently working, as I was due to commence work when the pandemic struck, and the work was cancelled.
I notified the court & CPS in advance of trial day of changing my plea to guilty.