Bat­tling to his last breath for our planet... Meet the Old Age Pro­tester JOHN, 91, ON CLI­MATE CHANGE FEARS

The People - - News Features - By Emily Hall

HE lived through the Sec­ond World War – but Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion’s old­est pro­tester says cli­mate change scares him more than Hitler.

John Lynes, 91, was seen calmly sip­ping tea from a flask on a fold­away chair as a demon­stra­tion shut the Port of Dover last week.

Clutch­ing a sign say­ing “Sorry no food” he was ar­rested with ten other XR en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, be­com­ing an overnight sen­sa­tion.

Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to the Sun­day Peo­ple, de­ter­mined John vowed to cam­paign un­til he drops “which will prob­a­bly be very soon”.

The bike- rid­ing veg­e­tar­ian says he has been ar­rested at least 25 times, was the first per­son to be held by po­lice for protest­ing against the

Falk­lands War, and did a stint be­hind bars at HMP Hull.

John was born i n Willes­den,

North Lon­don, in 1928 and was

1 1 when the Sec­ond

World War broke out.

He s aw blood­shed first hand in the Blitz but was evac­u­ated to

Newbury, Berk­shire, in

1940, and re­mained there un­til 1944. To­day he sees sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the war and the fight against global warm­ing.

John, of St Leonards-on-sea, East Sus­sex, added: “Win­ston Churchill said ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ and now our politi­cians are not say­ing that at all.

“They aren’t act­ing with any­thing like the ur­gency they acted with when it was nec­es­sary to go around killing peo­ple.

“Dur­ing the war, peo­ple quite hap­pily ac­cepted ra­tioning, they ac­cepted be­ing with­out a p pri­vate car, , they y ac­cepted go­ing short of all sorts of things, es­pe­cially im­ported things. You never saw a banana or any­thing like that.

“We need right now to make ad­just­ments on that scale. What faces us is not just con­flict, it’s ex­tinc­tion.”

His ar­rest last week­end was the tip of the ice­berg for the nona­ge­nar­ian, who joined his lo­cal Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion group last year.

John spent time in Kur­dis­tan rdis­tan in the late 1960s as a peace­keeper. per.

He was also ar­rested in demos over the out­break of the Falk­lands War in April il 1982. He and a group of f col­leagues stood out­side the MOD and poured red dye on the steps.

John also spent five days s in Hull jail in the 1990s af­ter er con­tin­u­ally cut­ting the fences nces of an Amer­i­can army base. ase. He was w fined £10 but re­fused dt to pay so the th court sent him to pri­son.

Other ar­rests in­clude ones for blockad­ing b Down­ing Street to protest about the war in Afghanista­n.

He says he would have joined 2002 protests against in­vad­ing Iraq but was in Pales­tine as a hu­man rights ob­server. John, who adopted six chil­dren with his late wife Mon­ica, says he feels pas­sion­ate about the world he is leav­ing be­hind for to­day’s chil­dren.

“I I get emo­tional emoti think­ing about it,” he said. “For “teenagers now, what is their the fu­ture? You can’t feel con­fi­dent. con You can’t.”

XR’S younger mem­bers have h wel­comed him with open o arms.

“They’re lovely peo­ple,” p he said. “Maybe they’re th sur­prised by my age. ag Re­ally, it isn’t about age. ag It’s a lot eas­ier for an old b boy like me with a pen­sion and d ev­ery­thing thi to get ar­rested and even go to pri­son than some­body who has just got mar­ried, is try­ing to pay off the mort­gage, look af­ter the kids, maybe even lose their job.”

And asked what the an­swer to global warm­ing is, Mr Lynes added: “The so­lu­tion is in peo­ple’s minds, as it was dur­ing the war. When peo­ple ask them­selves, ‘What can I do for the war ef­fort?’ which they were en­cour­aged and obliged to ask, it’s just as im­por­tant now.

“You know in your own heart whether you’re con­sum­ing more than you need.”

John is due to ap­pear be­fore Folke­stone mag­is­trates on Oc­to­ber 23 over the protest in Dover, Kent. He is among ten peo­ple who have been charged with pub­lic or­der of­fences.

WARM­ING TO HIS THEME: John Lynes, and the Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion rally in Dover last Satur­day

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