Members of Wanstead Climate Action took part in the Extinction Rebellion actions in London in April 2019 blocking roads near Marble Arch. This was non-violent direct action needed because of the gravity of the situation facing the planet. Some of the activists have spent the last 30 years or more campaigning peacefully and lawfully for the government to take action to halt global warming. After all, the phenomenon of the greenhouse effect caused by fossil fuel burning has been known about since 1896.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in December 2019, contributed to by hundreds of scientists and with 6000 references, has stated we have less than 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5oC above preindustrial levels before catastrophic and irreversible changes to our climate take place. This would change everyone’s lives whether they believe it or not. Species (on which we depend for our survival and well being) are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate. This has been called ‘anthropocene’ extinction to distinguish it from previous non- man-made extinction events in earth’s history. We have no time to lose but governments world-wide are generally carrying on as normal with targets that don’t match up to the urgency of the crisis and that they are failing to meet.
People understandably feel helpless and hopeless on hearing such awful news and ask ‘What can I do?’ . Acting with others is empowering: we are not alone, we can face the grief for the terrible impact on people’s lives (mainly in the global south so far) and species extinction, and we can decide to change. As our large orange banner at Marble Arch said ‘Climate Change? We can Change’.
The biggest impact you can make personally is to eat less meat & dairy; walk, use a bike or electric car, fly only occasionally or not at all; only buy products with sustainable palm oil; make your garden more wildlife friendly.
For other tips on what to do: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/what-can-I-do-to-stop-climate-change
Extinction Rebellion have 3 key demands of the government:
1. Tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
2. Act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
3. Create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. (citizensassembly.co.uk)
Although Extinction Rebellion caused some disruption on the roads, without this it would still be ‘business as usual’. The government has made a start and declared a Climate Emergency and the media have recently been talking about climate change like never before. Few people were talking about it before April.
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Look out for our next Extinction Rebellion talk on Wanstead Climate Action Facebook page, or check out ‘XR’ for yourself.