Extinction Rebellion groups from across the county held a protest based on the hit Netflix movie ‘Don’t Look Up’ outside Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury today as Shropshire Council met for its first full session of 2022.
Around thirty XR members from Shrewsbury, Oswestry, and Wenlock Edge took part in a specially designed piece of street theatre to raise awareness about the council’s continued lack of urgency.
Two protesters dressed in suits pretended to be councillors oblivious the impending threat of a fiery comet hanging above them. Other protesters acted as bystanders trying to raise the alarm.
“Don’t Look Up was an unexpected hit over the festive period,” says Kate Griffith of Extinction Rebellion Wenlock Edge. “Its story, about how the media and politicians ignore a giant comet on course to destroy the Earth, hit a nerve with audiences who saw it as a timely satire of how those in power are responding to the climate crisis. We’re asking Shropshire councillors to realise that they’re the ones with the power to deal the climate crisis in the county, but only if they look up and act.”
Don’t Look Up, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as scientists whose warnings of impending doom are ignored, has become the third most watched film on Netflix ever. It has also prompted debate about the unfolding climate crisis.
Meanwhile, the climate emergency continues to worsen with new data showing that the last seven years were the hottest on record, with global temperatures in 2021 reaching 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.
Despite declaring a climate emergency in 2019, Shropshire Council has been repeatedly called out for acting too slowly by campaigners. A report earlier this week revealed that the council failed to meet its 2020/21 carbon reduction targets, cutting only 3% of emissions from its corporate profile instead of the agreed 10% target.
“COP26 may be over, but the climate emergency certainly isn’t,” says Kate Griffith. “We need politicians to ‘look up’ and act as if the future of the world depends on them… because it does! Although Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, it still isn’t meeting the scale of the crisis.
“If the council followed the science, it would immediately cancel the North West Road (which will create 48,000 tonnes of CO2 and won’t be worthwhile for 137 years); divest its pension from fossil fuels; start building zero carbon homes via its developer Cornovii; invest in active travel and electric buses across the county; and support the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill.
“We don’t have much time left. As the government’s former Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Sir David King said last summer, ‘What we do over the next five years is going to determine the future of humanity for the next millennium’. Shropshire needs leaders who are willing to face the enormity of the challenge ahead of us. We’re begging them: please look up!”