We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.David Brower
Oh, wow! What an amazing day! Those who have read my last few posts will know I went to London on Saturday to join the vast Extinction Rebellion Biodiversity March and to protest against our government for continuing to plough enormous amounts of money into new fossil fuel industries along with their total lack of responsibility for climate injustice and destroying our world. They don’t give a damn about killing our planet, nature and people all over the world. The first-world countries are the ones who are causing the majority of the damage, but it’s the third-world countries who suffer the most. I could get very political about this, but I wouldn’t have the space to tell you about my experience. The protest is for four days, sadly, today being the last.
Lots of us from my local XR group set off at 7.30am to catch an early train into London. The journey for me as a wheelchair user was pretty horrendous there and back. However, every struggle along the route was well worth it.
For Earth Day on Saturday and the Biodiversity march, many people dressed up as different aspects of nature; animals of all sorts, plants and flowers, etc. (I have shared some photos, as you can see, just to give you an idea of the feel of the event.) People’s ingenuity and imagination were quite remarkable. We walked (or rode, in my case) for a mile, mainly around The Houses of Parliament and St James’s Park. On that day, there were, believe it or not, 90,000 rebels, including people from other climate-concerned groups! It was the biggest protest in the country, and the passion was tangible.
The drumming, which is what I was doing as we marched along, was fantastic. Although I got someone to take some photos of the band and I, I am unable to share them as I can’t share close-up pictures of the friends I was with. I just loved being part of such an enormous and passionate band.
The people dressed in white are all scientists, some well-known, who are far more knowledgeable about the future of our planet than our government. Where you can see thousands of people lying down on the road, this is what we call a ‘die-in’ – it lasts fifteen minutes, and it represents all the deaths our world will experience if we don’t stop killing everything and polluting our world – plants, animals, fish, trees etc. Believe it or not, 40% of all creatures have now perished, and many species are now endangered. I could talk more about this, but this would be an extremely long post! What really concerns us is that my and all our children will suffer the most as the future doesn’t look like it’s getting better in our generation. I find this thought very distressing.
I should add that XR worked closely with the police to make this a wonderful, totally peaceful protest. In fact, there were very few police officers about, as we weren’t doing anything harmful or causing damage.
After the most wonderful day, things began to wind up around 6pm. My friends and I went to a local London pub for drinks (non-alcoholic in my case) and chips; we were all ravenous by then. We then headed home by train and finally got home at nearly midnight! Yesterday, I could still hear the sound of the drums in my ears and had to recover from the very worthwhile exhaustion that followed.
I should add that no damage was done to anything or anyone in the course of the day. The Marathon was on yesterday, and we didn’t interrupt them as the press had said we would. We were actually cheering them on, which they all appreciated. Unfortunately, the right-wing press pick out any little event to make XR look bad, and in fact, there was hardly any positive coverage in any of the papers or many news programmes.
Finally (and probably a contentious issue), I couldn’t let this post go without mentioning two courageous Just Stop Oil rebels from another climate-concerned organisation, Morgan and Marcus. They desperately tried to raise awareness of the climate emergency by climbing above the Queen Elizabeth Bridge in the UK, blocking the road for 40 hours. They were both found guilty and were sentenced in the Crown Court (usually used for murder. rape, and manslaughter cases) on Friday to three years and two years, seven months in jail, respectively, having already served six months there. The judge stated he was ‘making an example’ of them to deter other people from taking action against the climate emergency. We are appalled about this unfair decision. You can get less time for burglary, and yet the government is responsible for numerous deaths by their inaction, and we don’t see them locked up, do we!? That’s food for thought.