It has been a few busy days in climate emergency activism.
On Friday 1st April, Extinction Rebellion and groups associated in the Just Stop Oil Coalition have blocked several major oil facilities across the UK, stating they will “continue to block the sites until the UK Government agrees to end all new fossil fuel investments immediately”.
In a press release published last Friday, XR states:
“Extinction Rebellion is blocking the Esso West Terminal near Heathrow Airport, and the Hamble and Hythe Terminals in Southampton. (…) The action is taking place at a crucial time: The UK public is waking up this morning to a 54% rise in the energy price cap, which the Citizens’ Advice charity say will leave millions of people unable to pay their bills. As war wages in Ukraine – a war that Christiana Figueres describes as being “financed by those in the West who import Russian oil and gas” – governments around the world are making plans to get off Russian oil and gas at speed. However, instead of doing what’s necessary to move away from fossil fuels to align with Paris Climate pledges, World leaders are choosing to appease oil companies and pursue extraction elsewhere. This is despite the recent IPCC report stating that staying on fossil fuels means that half the population of the continent of Africa could be displaced within the next eight years. These are the people and nations who have done the absolute least to cause the crisis. (….) The recent IPCC report tells us in no uncertain terms that the window is closing on adaptation, let alone mitigation.”
Over the weekend, Just Stop Oil continued their blockades of oil depots in Grays, Purfleet, Buncefield, Tamworth and Central Birmingham. In the press release published this morning on the group’s website they say:
“For the sixth day in a row, 43 supporters of Just Stop Oil have disrupted oil supplies from critical oil facilities in support of their demand that the UK government end new oil and gas projects in the UK.
Around 25 young people have entered the Navigator terminal and climbed on top of tankers and the loading bay, and are locked on and displaying Just Stop Oil banners.
Elsewhere, 7 supporters of Just Stop Oil have established a roadblock on Stoneness roundabout on West Thurrock Way, while another 11 attempted to block Stonehouse Corner roundabout on London Road before they were intercepted by police. These are on key tanker routes to and from the Grays, Navigator and Purfleet terminals. The group at Stonehouse Corner roundabout are sitting down in the road with banners. (…) The Just Stop Oil Coalition is calling on all of those whose futures are being destroyed, who are facing poverty and who are outraged at the prospect of continuing our dependence on fossil fuels to step up and take action, join our daily zoom calls at 7pm. It’s 2022 and the time to stand by has passed.”
The blockades commenced just over a week before the planned XR Rebellion is due to begin in London on April 9th.
Additionally, XR’s branch under the name Ocean Rebellion, contrubuted to the busy week by turning up to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) offices in London yesterday, demanding DEFRA tell the truth about the loss of marine life happening on North East beaches. The activists, dressed in fishing gear, poured piles of dead and rotting crabs outside the DEFRA offices. The group states on their website:
“When the UK Government announced its environmentally blind policy of ‘Freeports’, part of the Tories’ ‘levelling up’ brainstorm, it was clear the cost would go way beyond putting more taxpayers’ money into industry pockets.”
“The ‘Freeport’ flimflam was eagerly adopted by Tee Valley Mayor Ben Houchan and championed by local MP Jacob Young, both part of the Teesworks team, and talk of ‘Teesport’ began with £26bn pledged in investor funding. What was unclear was how damaging ‘Freeports’ would be to marine life. But even before the government guidance was announced work was already underway in the North East.”
“On 4 October 2021, fishermen in the North East of England found lobster dying in their pots. By 7 October, the beaches stretching from the mouth of the river Tees as far as Saltburn by the sea (some 7 miles to the south) were covered in thousands of dead or dying crabs and lobsters; at points the piles were knee deep. These stricken creatures had foam and bubbles coming from their gills and were twitching uncontrollably. Gradually the death toll spread further south as far as Whitby and then eventually Scarborough. Fishermen reported a dead zone which stretched as far out as 4 miles… almost no crab or lobster could be found alive: those that were alive quickly died.”
“The seal-pupping season runs from September to January. The North East is a well known breeding area, Stockton-on-Tees boasts seal sands and seals are often spotted. As the pupping season progressed walkers started to report dead seals and pups. These began to wash up with horrific regularity and most of the bodies washed up were pups. The corpses of the pups were emaciated, pointing to a severe drop in food sources. Seals eat crabs and lobsters. A full marine die-off was happening off the coast and washing up in full sight of the public. On 11 January 2022 DEFRA warned the public not to walk dogs along the North East Coast.“
Meanwhile, XR activists seem to be quite succesful in not getting busted by the legal system for their deeds, winning a number of high-profile cases in the past year or so.
Featured image: XR