A protester from Extinction Rebellion Shrewsbury blocked traffic on Castle Street on Saturday, as part of a national day of action across the UK to raise awareness about the climate emergency.
The ‘Rebellion of One’ protest, timed for 11am on May Day, saw hundreds of people across the world – including in Birmingham, Oxford, London, Haverfordwest in Wales, as well as many other locations – take action individually to mark the second anniversary of Parliament’s declaration of environmental and climate emergency in 2019.
Beth, an Extinction Rebellion protester from Shrewsbury, sat down in the road in the town centre blocking traffic. Traffic was monitored to ensure no emergency vehicles were delayed.
Beth says: “I wish I didn’t feel it was necessary to cause this disruption. But I am sitting here today because I want to raise awareness of a greater disruption that is happening to us all. I am terrified about the changes I am witnessing to our climate, and the lack of government action to limit the effects we humans are having on the eco-system on which we depend. We have to demand action for the sake of our children.
“We’ve experienced the effects of the warmest decade on record and last year we saw wildfires in Australia, California, Greece, Alaska, Siberia, along with exceptionally high temperatures in the Arctic and Alaska. The ice caps are melting. Flooding due to exceptionally heavy rain has affected us locally as well as millions around the world.
“Our Parliament declared a climate emergency two years ago. Since then, politicians have backtracked on their previous commitments. They’ve overturned the ruling against a third runway at Heathrow, cancelled the Green Homes Grant, and invested £27 billion in new roads. The Committee on Climate Change says the UK has failed on 17 out of 21 progress indicators and the chief executive of the Environment Agency says the UK is hitting worst case scenarios.
“Locally Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency, yet it continues to build the North West Road which will generate 70,000 tonnes of CO2.’”
The new tactic from Extinction Rebellion – conceptualised during COVID restrictions –combines the emotive impact of a single person taking action alone with the power of mass-participation nonviolent civil disobedience, to create dispersed, dramatic disruption at the same time on the same day in hundreds of locations up and down the country.
Each person will take action alone but together, to highlight our vulnerability in this climate crisis and how we all must take a stand against a corrupt government that refuses to face the reality of the situation we’re in.
Says Beth: “I want to be able to look my children and grandchildren in the eye and say, “I spoke up, I acted.”