3rd May 2023 – The importance of protest

I’ve just come back from a weekend in London, where I, plus my husband and son, took part in a weekend of climate change action organised by Extinction Rebellion, raising the profile of the crisis and talking to people about what we can do. Because Saturday’s action included an Earth Day march, we chose to focus on ecology building; I was dressed as a hedge and had a Grow Hedges banner, and Dave made a flag that said No Insects = No People. 

On the way back from the action, as we squeezed along Westminster Bridge among hoards of people, I felt overwhelmed by the size of it the problem. All these people, all of them and all of us, all wanting to have a good time, to have a good quality of life. All of us making demands on the natural world. And the same scenario repeated in thousands and thousands of places around the world. With this in mind I thought to myself what hope is there of change? What is the point of it all? 

The news in the last week hasn’t been good; raised temperatures in the ocean, forecasts of record breaking temperatures in Spain and 2023 expected to the one of the hottest years ever. With the effects of climate change becoming more and more prevalent, we need more than ever to have meaningful change. I’m not going to pretend that among the surge of the city I felt much other than despair.

The following day I was a steward for the protests. Whilst stewarding someone approached me. She asked “I don’t know where to start. I’m overwhelmed. What should I do?” It then struck me that if we all acted, all of us, in our masses, then despite no assistance from the top, with enough willpower we could enforce meaningful change. Imagine all those people, each building ecology in any way they could, be it in gardens or balconies, or even windowsills. All of those people spending their money in a mindful way. All those people reusing, reducing, living low-impact lives in thriving local societies. It’s a dream, but one to hold on to.

So here in a nutshell are my suggestions for a plan for meaningful change that we can aspire to. I know I’ll be repeating much of what I’ve said before, but a refresher is never a bad thing. 

1) Stop flying. 2) Try to reduce eating animal products and eat organic wherever possible. 3) Build ecology in your gardens. 4) Change your bank provider to an ethical one, such as Triodos, Nationwide or the Co-operative Bank 5) Reduce waste; only buy and eat what you need. 6) Reduce car journeys and cycle or walk wherever possible. 7) Support events and shops in your local community. 8) Reduce energy use in your home; insulate where possible and look for green heating options. 9) Buy less. Inevitably almost every pound has a carbon cost. 10) Talk to others about climate change.

This list is by no means inclusive; I’m sure you’ll have plenty of other ideas too. The important thing is that we don’t wait for the slow, self-interested, short-sighted financial institutions and governments to take the lead. We’ve been waiting too long already and the signs aren’t good. If there was one thing that I took back from London it was that this: we all need to act, and act now. Tomorrow may well be too late.

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