Government’s inaction on the Climate & Ecological Emergency is killing our children
An inquest into Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s death in London last year found the cause of death was air pollution, caused by breathing toxic air from a nearby busy road. She was only 9 years old.
HOW BAD IS IT?
More than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day1
UK 1 in 3 children live in toxic air zones2 and air pollution causes an estimated 40,000 premature deaths a year3
Babies in the most polluted areas have a 30-50% greater risk of dying before the age of 14
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURES?
A report commissioned in 2020 by the Ministry of Defence5 states that extreme weather events such as floods and drought will become more frequent.
Natural resource shortages are likely to trigger population displacement and potential conflict.
The UN Security Council acknowledges climate change as one of the most urgent challenges to the maintenance of international security.
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING TO SAVE OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURES?
UK Gov is committing £12bn on it's 'Green 10 point plan', but it's spending more on environmentally destructive projects: over £100bn on HS2 and £27bn on new roads (RIS2).
Parliament declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 but hasn't made an appropriate emergency response.
Failing to meet its own targets, given to them by their own climate panel.
We all now know that climate breakdown has started, we see it on our TV screens and we know it in our hearts. In the UK and around the world children are already suffering the consequences and these will only get worse unless we ACT NOW
BUT WHAT CAN I DO?
1. We ask you to take a stand. Send an email to [email protected] (UK President of COP26, Global Climate Summit). Tell him the COP26 summit is the world’s LAST CHANCE.
CPS drops case against eco-activists who blockaded UKOG Horse Hill oil site
Public interest not served by prosecution, CPS rules
It is not in the public interest to prosecute two Extinction Rebellion activists who locked themselves together to block the entrance of the Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick in December 2019, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled.
The CPS decision to drop the case comes just days before the activists were due to appear in court this week (Thursday 14 January 2021).
Gillian Fletcher, 58, of Clifton Road, Wokingham and Steve Lowes (known as Woody), 49, of Goring Road, Staines-upon-Thames, were both charged with wilful obstruction of a highway after locking their arms together in a steel pipe and lying in front of the gates of the oil site for 8 hours on 10 December 2019. The site operator UKOG has planning permission to drill new wells there and produce oil for 20 years.
Gillian Fletcher, 58, of Clifton Road, Wokingham and Steve Lowes (known as Woody), 49, of Goring Road, Staines-upon-Thames
They were both due to appear at Staines Magistrates Courton Thursday this week. However on Friday last week the CPS informed both activists that the case had been dropped.
The CPS stated: “The decision to discontinue these charges has been taken because a prosecution is not needed in the public interest.”
“We carried out this action over a year ago to bring attention to UKOG's unnecessary and destructive plans to extract oil and gas across the south east.
They intend to industrialise our precious countryside and ruin our environment in order to extract fossil fuels which we don't need and which will contribute to our own extermination. We and others will not stand by silent and allow them to do this.”
Gillian Fletcher, Wokingham
The Government has been using the current health situation to subtly erode rights of protest in a way which will be difficult to reverse when the situation changes. They have been insisting on prosecuting peaceful protestors, forcing them to travel against their own guidelines to reach courts for hearings. “The dropping of our charges as 'not being needed in the public interest' is perhaps an indication not only that some prosecutors are aware of who the real criminals are in this scenario, but that they are starting to exert their independence from political interference."”
Steve Lowes of Staines-upon-Thames
Activists are hopeful that this latest decision by the CPS and its decision in November last year to drop charges against another two Extinction Rebellion campaigners, who locked themselves together outside the site and two who breached the site’s security to occupy the site, indicates an increasing reluctance to uphold prosecutions against peaceful protests highlighting the Climate Emergency.
Horse Hill oil well has been the focus of protests since the site was earmarked for oil exploration. In the past year there have been a number of slow walks and in October two activists occupied the site’s drilling rig for twelve hours.
In 2018 UKOG was granted an interim injunction against protests at the site. The company is in the process of attempting to make the injunction permanent.
A trial beginning early next year will decide whether the interim injunction should be made final. This will be the first of the injunctions against protests at UK onshore oil and gas sites to go to trial.
In a similar injunction granted to Ineos. the appeal court judges dismissed the section outlawing protests on the public highway, but UKOG has indicated that it wants to continue to outlaw protests on the highway.
UKOG has said it will seek to include in the final injunction slow walking, standing in front of vehicles, climbing onto vehicles and actions that blocked the public highway. It also said it would seek to include trespass to land and obstructing the entrance to sites. In the meantime the interim injunction continues to be challenged in court by the Weald Action Group, the order comes before a High Court judge next month.
Slow walk to Horse Hill
Eco activists “slow walk” four tankers to protest future fossil fuel production
Campaigners converge on UKOG Horse Hill site to call for end to drilling
Extinction Rebellion and other eco activists slowly walked in front of four tankers this morning (3 August) en route to UKOG’s Horse Hill production site.
The slow walk saw around 20 Covid-19 masked activists gather near the junction of Horse Hill and Reigate Road and proceed at a snail’s pace in front of the tanker to protest the continued expansion of fossil fuel development in the midst of the climate emergency.
This is the second time in two months that protesters have used slow walking to highlight continued oil extraction at the Horse Hill site, which is located two miles from Horley town centre and close to Gatwick airport. Stewards were on hand to minimise delays to other drivers.
The protest comes just weeks after a local campaigner won permission for a judicial review of Surrey County Council’s decision in September last year to grant planning permission to produce oil at the site for 20 years – a move that could add an estimated 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
I feel I have to take action now. The climate is breaking down as we speak. Unless we urgently reduce our dependence on fossil fuels there is going to be global human suffering on a scale we have never seen before. New exploitation of oil, like this, taking place on our doorstep at Horse Hill, is sealing us into a terrifying future. The UK government and Surrey County Council have failed to act to prevent new oil development, despite acknowledging the emergency. This protest is not fun. It is scary, but I feel I have a moral duty to do what I can for the sake of my children and future generations. This is a small peaceful protest and we are taking what measures we can to keep everyone around us safe by maintaining social distancing as far as possible and wearing face masks.
Kate James, 45, a protester from Brighton
We are at a point in time where we are on a precipice of climate break-down and the human race must take the right steps to prevent this. This can only be avoided if we invest in renewable energy which is becoming cheaper and easier to harness. The fact that the government is not doing all it can to prevent mass extinction, and continues to invest in the use of fossil fuels, is criminal. For this reason I have come to protest by slow walking the oil industry lorries entering the site.
Brian Sandersen, aged 37, a Sussex-based scientist
We can no longer put our heads in the sand and ignore what is happening.The Climate Change Committee, which advises the government, has warned that we need to plan for a 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature by the end of the century. We are currently just over one degree and we are experiencing floods and wild fires. A 4 degree rise will be catastrophic. We have a chance after Covid-19 to change path and the urgency of the pandemic shows what is possible if there is a will. Climate change is here for the foreseeable future. How we act now will decide what future we leave our children, future generations and al the other amazing species that share this incredible planet Earth with us.
Jack Bowden, environmentalist from Redhill
Campaigners have set up a crowdfunding appeal to cover the cost of the Judicial Review.
Donations can be made at https://chuffed.org/project/support-surrey-oil-legal-challenge
Live streaming at the site on https://www.facebook.com/XRSouthEastUK
Due to a civil injunction at the site protestors names are aliases. The civil injunction prohibits certain protests at UKOG sites. Its scope is currently being challenged in the courts.
Extinction Rebellion deliver strong message to Alok Sharma demanding immediate action on Climate Breakdown
On Thursday 25th June Extinction Rebellion marched from Tilehurst Road in Reading delivering a powerful, and pungent, message to Secretary of State Alok Sharma’s office to demand immediate action to halt climate and ecological breakdown.
The Committee on Climate Change (https://www.theccc.org.uk/2020/06/25/covid-19-can-be-an-historic-turning-point-in-tackling-the-global-climate-crisis/) had earlier in the day reported that the UK is not even on track to meet their target of carbon net zero by 2050, a date that will be too late to save most of humanity and the natural world from destruction. Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, said: “COVID-19 has shown that planning for systemic risks is unavoidable. We have warned repeatedly that the UK is poorly prepared for the very serious impacts of climate change, including flooding, overheating and water shortages. Now is the moment to get our house in order, coordinate national planning, and prepare for the inevitable changes ahead. The UK’s domestic ambition can be the basis for strong international climate leadership, but the delivery of effective new policies must accelerate dramatically if we’re to seize this chance.”
Despite this, and the fact that Parliament has declared a Climate Emergency, the Government has not been alert to the breakdown in the environment happening all around us, both in our own country and across the globe.
Protestors marched with wheelbarrows of horse manure and placards to emphasise their key demands: “Climate Action Now – No more Horseshit !” plus a legally binding Citizens Assembly to “Decide Together” on the way forward.
The peaceful protest was one of many demonstrations across the country to show in various ways that inaction on the climate emergency will lead to millions of human deaths, the mass extinction of species and huge suffering worldwide.
The science is clear, climate breakdown is happening as predicted. The Government described last year’s floods in the UK as unprecedented, yet as with the global pandemic, the danger was predicted. Without prompt action, the future is simply terrifying.
One rebel said “The climate’s already in crisis, wildfires in Australia and the Amazon, the poles are melting - it’s hotter in the Arctic than Rio de Janeiro! We want action, a legally binding Citizens Assembly, because right now the Government is leading us “up shit creek without a paddle”
Rebels from seven Extinction Rebellion groups took part in the "Barrow March" : Staines, Bracknell, Reading, Swindon, Wantage, Woking and Wallingford. Letters were delivered to Mr Sharma’s office and the area was left clean after the protest.
On July 11th, Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St Leonards (XRHSL) temporarily installed 1,200 pairs of children’s shoes on Hastings Pier, in a performance installation entitled GONE.
Echoing a recent Extinction Rebellion action in Trafalgar Square (London), the empty shoes, the rising tide, and the haunting sense of absent children drew attention to the fact that young people are most vulnerable to the climate and ecological emergency.
For this action, XRHSL was represented by 56 local people, whose ages ranged from three to 92 years old, and who - despite the excellent weather - dressed in black to express a powerful sense of mourning for the loss of all our children’s future.
All participants followed social distancing guidelines, with many visibly moved as the visual impact of hundreds of pairs of empty shoes gradually built up.
Climate Change may have been displaced by Covid-19 but it has not gone away and is worsening. Children will starve in their millions. People in the global south are likely to suffer most, but climate change will have enormous impacts everywhere, including here in Hastings. We demand that government takes action, now.
Activist and grandmother, La Pethick, 83
But, in face of scientific consensus, the UK government continues to support the use and extraction of fossil fuels, our carbon footprint is rising, and carbon-intense industries are offered tax-payer funded bailouts to help them recover from lockdown.
Extinction Rebellion demand that government act immediately in response to this existential threat, which is globally significantly more serious than the ongoing, and devastating Covid-19 crisis.
In a recent polls, only 9% of the UK population want to go back to the way things were before the pandemic, and 48% agree that the government should respond with the same urgency to the climate and ecological crisis as the coronavirus crisis.
When our film crew had finished, all the shoes were gathered up, and 200 pairs were donated to a local families charity. XRHSL returned the pier to the state in which they found it, and would like to thank Hastings Pier for granting permission for this event.