I admit that I was sitting on the road in a fold-up camping chair (because a medical condition makes it difficult for me to stand long), near the Houses of Parliament, on October 8th, 2019. I admit that I was peacefully trying to disrupt traffic by this action, for the sole purpose of trying to wake the government up to the extreme urgency of doing everything possible to mitigate against climate change and other ecological crises. I consider myself a considerate person who hates to disrupt other people’s lives, but it is my sincere understanding that using non-violent direct action where I take responsibility for my actions and consequences, is the best action I can take for life on earth now and in the future.
I believe the scientific facts concerning climate change have been widely referred to in this court, and that the fact of (largely manmade) climate change has been taken as given by the court. So I will not repeat the scientific evidence of manmade climate change and other ecological crises, although further evidence appears daily. The UK government itself has declared that there is an emergency, BUT HAS FAILED TO ACT.
Since growing up in rural countryside and doing a science degree including some study of ecology, I have always appreciated how we are interdependent with other life forms and the planet. I have been distressed how society has treated the planet and the wonderful variety of life on it, and have campaigned to increase people’s awareness of the harm we are doing, campaigning to stop the perpetuation of such damaging action. In my thirties I put my heart and soul into Green politics, and started up a recycling and re-use project. In my own life I have attempted to live lightly on the Earth in various ways, have signed numerous petitions, written letters, been on demonstrations, become an Earth Protector..
However it has been very depressing to see how little effect any activism has had on “Business as Usual,” with our government continuing to subsidise fossil fuel industries more than any other EU country, expanding airports, seeking constant economic growth that is utterly unsustainable, contributing to creating an unlivable planet for future generations.
I was therefore glad to hear from XR of the peaceful kind of actions their research found to have the greatest chance of bringing about change, and therefore feel undertaking such actions is the best that I can do for future generations, as well as for those suffering now from Climate change and other ecological crises. It seems to me that proof of the effectiveness of XR comes in the sharp increase of awareness in the population after the April action, and the declaring of a climate emergency by the government.
Surely there is something really wrong with the law, which is criminalising us activists for peaceful protest to help save the planet, whereas those mainly (and knowingly) responsible for destroying it, can continue with immunity. Ecocide law is urgently needed, which is why I am signed up as an Earth Protector. I have acted knowing our house is on fire, disrupting the system to try to save lives now (mainly in the global South), and in the future.
I want to be able to look my grandchild in the eye and say I did what I could.