Yesterday I went into London to see the Extinction Rebellion protests with my own eyes. I’m ashamed to say that until then, I had never joined a protest. I’ve contemplated marching, many times, but have never followed it through.
Walking out of Oxford Circus tube and into the crowd felt akin to walking into a club in the late 90’s. Love, hope and togetherness was palpable. People from all corners of the world (and life) making noise for a common cause. In fact the most common cause. We all have to live on this earth, and there will be no PLAN(ET) B. No matter how much money you have or don’t have. Think about that for one second.
A few years back, I got involved with a local group campaigning against the installation of a toxic incinerator, which is now on my doorstep. Protesting got us nowhere, and left me feeling a bit dead inside. What was the point of it all? The backhanders were agreed before the public had even got wind of the incinerator. Deals were done, regardless of what us local residents thought about the air quality diminishing.
From that moment, I decided to focus my energies on what was going on inside my own four walls. At that point we were living in a world renowned eco estate; we don’t drive a car; we eat mostly organic and never factory farmed or fast food chain meat; I buy all mine and the children’s clothes second hand. I’m not a saint, by any stretch of the imagination, but I try to live my life with a clear conscience.
How anyone can justify buying cheap sweatshop made clothes is beyond me. The irony of overhearing shoppers, carrying bags from Primark, complaining about the inconvenience of the protests was not lost on me yesterday.
Surely if everyone made small sustainable changes, it would make a huge difference?
Well yes, at one point, that would have made enough of a difference. Turns out that most people just aren’t doing enough, though. And governments haven’t taken the climate crisis seriously, so we’re in a drastic situation now. We’re in a state of emergency. Yet still people are up in arms about the Extinction Rebellion protests. I find it gobsmacking, and sad beyond words. I love my friends, but if the levels of apathy on my personal facebook page are anything to go by, then it would appear the vast majority of them don’t give a stuff.
Everyone is busy, I get that, believe me I do. People are working hard, creating their own lives. Dealing with their own crap, and tuning out to the wider world. Whilst this is lorded as a great thing to do, the reality is living this way is contributing to our own destruction.
Every. Single. Day.
Ignoring the climate change crisis is like walking onto a dual carriageway, while an oncoming lorry starts hurtling toward you
I have the enlightening discussion with my lovely friend Sophie to thank for putting Extinction Rebellion on my radar. She had been with the activists on the first days of the protests, and told me exactly how dire the situation is. Eye opening would be a massive understatement. Terrifying is a better word to use (and I consider myself eco-minded). Just in case you are not aware, here are a few facts that might make you wake you up:
If drastic measures aren’t enforced, at government level, we have twelve years (at best!) until things start going horribly pear shaped. Floods, fires and natural disasters will become par for the course. Animals will start rapidly dying out. Bees won’t be around to pollinate our crops, which means serious food shortages. The list is endless. I find it truly astonishing how three emergency Brexit meetings were called in the space of a week, but the government can’t commit to taking action on global warming. Seeing how empty the room usually is when climate change is being discussed just goes to show how corrupt and self-serving most of our politicians are.
For us, in every day life, we have absolutely got to start talking with our wallets. Stop spending money with evil corporations who have no one’s best interests at heart (only the bank balance of their shareholders). Big businesses need to realise there won’t be any money to be made if we’ve destroyed the planet to the point of no return. When all is said and done, we can’t take money to the grave or eat it. You can read the full IPCC report on global warming here.
What can we do?
You can smirk and call the rebels a bunch of over privileged crustafarians. Believe the lies and propaganda spewed out by the mainstream press. Bury your head in the sand, too afraid to look in the mirror and assess your own not-so-sustainable habits.
Decide to be on the right side of history with your head held high. Tell your family and friends that you stand with Extinction Rebellion and will not take this crisis lying down. Open those blind eyes and take your fingers out of your ears.
Keeping up with the Joneses. Having a social media presence from eight years old. Fitting in. Being obsessed with what we look like. These things are decimating the sanity of our children. Let’s show them we truly care, by leading by example and caring ourselves about the important things. It’s the least we can do. And if there are any bloggers who happen to be reading this, I urge you, from the bottom of my heart, to use your influence for the greater good.
What Extinction Rebellion are demanding
- Tell the truth. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Act now. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Beyond politics. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. Click here for more information.
This video is well worth a watch. Be the change you want to see in the world. Peace out.