human activity and the destruction of the planet

Leave a comment

New Extinction Rebellion actions largely ignored by the BBC News

This week has been a long-planned Autumn series of demonstrations by XR across the country. Yet the BBC news has chosen to largely ignore the protests, focusing instead on yet more coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The following link, I hope, will take you to photographic evidence of the demos:

Actions against HS2 have also been ignored. Yet many arrests of peaceful demonstrators have taken place.

At Lambeth Bridge we saw the most shocking scenes of this Rebellion so far. During a critical mass bike ride, a swarm of police vans rushed in and kettled over 200 peaceful protestors. The Met held rebels in the rain for hours, searched and arrested everyone (including bystanders, independent legal observers and welfare rebels) and confiscated hundreds of bikes.

The following photographs give an idea of the extent of the demonstrations.

Peaceful demonstration of cyclists
Demonstrators outside the House of Lords
Arrests in Cardiff
Lambeth Bridge, London

Since I first uploaded this post, there has been another BBC News broadcast. This featured Boris Johnson visiting one of the HS2 building sites and stating very strongly how good and important it is for our country to have the HS2 hi-speed rail link. Later in the broadcast there was a very short clip of some anti-HS2 campaigners demonstrating against HS2. This was hardly balanced recording. Nothing was shown of the destruction of ancient woodlands to make way for the rail line, nor the other devastation already occurring on the route, nor was there any mention of the 100s of protesters who were arrested for peacefully demonstrating against HS2. And the ultimate cost per taxpayer head for the hi-speed train was not mentioned. All this at a time when the economy needs to recover after the Covid-19 crisis.

One XR action which did receive a lot of coverage was their blockade of the printing companies who print most of the right wing press, including newspapers controlled by Rupert Murdoch. One of their posters read “5 Crooks Control our News”. This action meant that newspapers, like The Sun and the Daily Mail could not be issued on time.

This action incensed the current government, most of all the Home Secretary, who claimed angrily that XR were terrorists and that the action was preventing freedom of speech. Did she mean “freedom to tell lies”? The message about the media controlling our news (and printing lies, especially at election time) was ignored.

Leave a comment

Denouncing climate activists will not save the planet

The Financial Times has been increasingly drawing attention to the issues of climate change and I applaud them in this.  However, they have a policy of not wanting their readers to copy and distribute the text of articles published in their paper.  To me, this is a contradiction in terms.  If they really support actions against climate change, they ought to support the duplication of the vital messages they publish.

I am therefore just copying below a portion of a very interesting article, published in the Financial Times on 11th October 2019 and written by Camilla Cavendish, a former head of the Downing Street policy unit and a Harvard senior fellow, in the hope that the readers of this website will want to read the whole article and therefore subscribe to the FT.

“Extinction Rebellion draws the ire of those who refuse to change their own habits

Will a few Happy Meals break the planet? As Extinction Rebellion continued its genteel, witty, highly effective climate change protests this week, one commentator tried to shame some activists queueing at a London branch of McDonald’s. History does not relate whether Big Macs were ordered (more likely the spicy veggie wraps), but that did not dampen the indignation. We humans are brilliant at distracting ourselves from uncomfortable truths.

While a majority of the public now agree that climate change is an urgent issue, there is still resentment of the messengers. Hence the widespread carping that activists haven’t made sacrifices in their own lives — which is somewhat unfair, given that more than 1,000 have been arrested in London this week, at least 100 in Amsterdam and 30 in Sydney. Not everyone is merrily camping in “hemp-smelling bivouacs”, as UK prime minister Boris Johnson suggested. Many I met were cold, tired and dreading jail. It’s the rest of us bystanders who are the real hypocrites — we project sympathy but continue to freeride on the planet. I can’t count the number of commuters, drivers and friends who have told me this week that they agree about the climate, and feel that “someone should do something”, but haven’t made a single change in their own habits. At least the conversation has started. The climate movement is rapidly turning Big Oil into the new Big Tobacco……

When I studied environmental economics 20 years ago, it was axiomatic that we should tax pollution. But ferocious lobbying by vested interests has prevailed, partly because governments fear voters are addicted to cheap fuel, food and flights. Hence, the UK’s trumpeted carbon budgets do not include emissions from shipping or aviation. Now, climate activists have created a willingness to hear inconvenient facts about how much manufacturing pollution we have outsourced, for example, to low-cost countries like China…..

The west’s record is not as rosy as we pretend. Denial from the White House does not justify inaction elsewhere. If European societies stick together and tread more lightly on the planet, we could be a model — while, incidentally, selling the world our low-carbon technologies. Analysis by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change suggests that to get anywhere near zero carbon we must ration our driving, flying and meat consumption. If we won’t do so voluntarily, it may eventually be imposed on us, and not only by a government of the left.

There is a growing literature about “climate grief”, the overwhelming sadness at what is happening as species and habitats are wiped out. The enormity of the task makes it natural to feel like giving up and having a Happy Meal. But watching footage of 91 year-old protester John Lynes hobbling into a police van, I remembered what my great-aunt used to say: “A society grows stronger when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” There is something profoundly moving about watching different generations campaigning together for a better future. Rather than attack them, is it so outrageous to ask that we each start making some changes in our own lives?”

John Lynes

John Lynes (91) being arrested for supporting Extinction Rebellion

A video of him being arrested can be found in the Metro newspaper online news.