Originally published in Bristol Post (16/10/2018)
What do we have to live for when the world around us is falling apart? Runaway climate change, as mentioned by the UN Secretary General last month, now poses an existential threat to the human race. Everyone gone forever.
We have the right to challenge this collapse. Our demonstration outside the Magistrate’s court exercised this right. To freely challenge unjust laws is a privilege which our ancestors fought and died for. Our society is built on their sacrifice and we must honour them by protecting it for future generations.
The destruction of the environment is not necessary for our prosperity. Indeed, as many studies have shown, environmental destruction acutely damages our physical and mental health. A legal system which fails to protect the environment is failing to protect us and therefore must be challenged.
That is why we risked arrest and why we are prepared to risk prison sentences in the future.
In the face of societal collapse, we need to remember what gives our lives meaning and what gives us the strength to go on. In the words of climate scientist, Professor Kate Marvel,
“We need courage, not hope, to face climate change”
We need the courage to challenge the corrupt system when we know human life is at stake.
The three of us arrested outside the Magistrate’s court follow in the footsteps of over 300 brave water protectors who have been arrested since January 2017, while campaigning against Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site.
Last month, the #frackfreethree, Simon Roscoe Blevins, Rich Roberts and Rich Loizou; a soil scientist, a piano restorer and a teacher were sentenced to a year and a half in prison each for peacefully protesting. Their sentence, the first of its kind since 1932, illustrates the corruption of our legal system.
Upstanding citizens are sent to jail while corporations walk free with blood on their hands. Together we can build on the efforts of Mission Lifeforce to create a world where ecocide (the destruction of ecosystems by humans) is a crime; where ordinary people have a meaningful say on the future of our country, rather than leaving it in the hands of a corrupt political system, and where we can appreciate nature and our lives rather than sleepwalking through them.
‘I heard our call for change being sung through the streets’
In the back of the police van on Jamaica Street, I heard our call for change being sung through the streets. It was beautiful moment that filled every part of me with the assurance that what we are doing is right and just. While bystanders may attack our tactics, at this point we are out of options.
Species are dying out faster than when the asteroid hit our planet. Climate breakdown threatens billions of lives.
This escalating crisis demands escalating action. We need to be dramatic and bold in the face of such dark times.
Join Rising Up Bristol on Oct 31st, as we declare an Extinction Rebellion against the UK government for it’s criminal inaction on climate change and the sixth mass extinction.
We are so very nearly out of time. Help us to do what is right.
Update: We were found guilty at Bath Magistrates Court (Bristol Magistrates Court was found to have a conflict of interest over the case) on 30/01/2019. Thank you to everyone who donated to help us pay the £1800 fine!