Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Polite eco rebels made me sit up and take note


THE internatio­nal protest group Extinction Rebellion could have had a catchier name but it is, after all, campaignin­g to save the planet. It does so in a disruptive but polite way, using non violent civil disobedien­ce and baring bottoms in the public gallery of the House of Commons.

Democratic government­s always have their mind on the next election in four or five years time. How can they pursue policies to save the Earth whose benefits are in the future when they need to persuade voters to keep them in power in the here and now?

Critics have called the protesters many things including middle class tree huggers. In which case, give me middle class rebellion every time, compared to the riots, broken shop windows, nastiness and violence that come with some other protest groups. They also question why Britain should take action when great offenders like China, the US and India are dragging their knuckles in the polluted dust created by industry, fossil fuels and motor cars. We’ve led before, we should lead again and stand with fellow nations who are committed to fulfilling their commitment to the Paris Accord of 2015.

Despite criticism from the usual sources, they have gained a ground

swell of support nationwide after the Easter protests. They also have science and the UN on their side, that says Earth is threatened with global disaster that could end life as we know it. Which is a lot to digest over a lunchtime Greggs, an afternoon watching village cricket or a pint in the pub. But it has to be confronted.

Sir David Attenborou­gh says: “We are facing our greatest threat in thousands of years. Scientists across the globe are in no doubt that at the current rate of warming we risk a devastatin­g future. The science is now clear that urgent action is needed.”

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was blunter when she spoke to British MPs this week : “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before.”

Environmen­t Secretary Michael Gove said in response: “The time to act is now, the challenge could not be clearer. “Greta you have been heard.”

The Extinction Rebellion has made me listen. I have donated to the cause and, who knows, maybe next time I’ll glue myself to Boris Johnson, which would be a sacrifice above and beyond anyone’s call to duty. After all, I have five grandchild­ren who would actually like a future.

Let’s hope our politician­s are serious and really do take action, although at the moment we seem to be full steam ahead on the Titanic and, when the Earth finally hits the iceberg, there will only be enough lifeboats for a privileged few. The rest of us will be re-arranging the deckchairs.

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