Traffic was stopped for an hour this morning on Selsdon Road when a local woman staged a sit-down protest in the street wearing a sign that read, “I’m terrified for those born after 2000 because of the climate crisis”.
Identified by Inside Croydon as local environmental campaigner Grace Onions, her protest was part of Extinction Rebellion’s “waves of rebellion for 2021”: protests held each month, increasing in pressure towards the staging of the UN’s climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow in November.
“The people taking action today hope to make clear that they can no longer trust the UK government with their future,” XR Croydon said today.
“Grace risked her life in order to speak out about government inaction on climate two years on from Parliament’s declaration of an environment and climate emergency.”
Onions was not alone. Around the country, more than 200 people also took similar action in their home towns. From Aberdeen to Birmingham to Yarmouth and beyond, people blocked roads to say they will no longer stand by while the government lies to the public about its tepid plans to tackle the climate crisis.
Extinction Rebellion has highlighted that while the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been talking of “building back greener” from the coronavirus pandemic, at the same time, his government has invested £27billion in new roads, while a ban on building a third runway at Heathrow Airport was overturned in the courts.
A report by Positive Money found that by June last year, 56 per cent of covid relief funding went to carbon-intensive industries, including airlines, car manufacturers and oil and gas companies.
The Committee on Climate Change – the body tasked with monitoring government progress on reducing admissions – said in its progress report last June that Britain has failed on 17 out of 21 progress indicators, falling further behind in many areas.
It also found that just two of 31 key policy milestones have been met over the year since parliament declared emergency.
In December last year, the National Audit Office found that the government is predicted to fail to meet its existing climate targets and said that a radical reassessment of priorities was needed.
“Two years ago today parliament declared an environment and climate emergency,” Onions said.
“And yet in February this year chief executive of the Environment Agency Sir James Bevan said that the UK is hitting worst-case environmental scenarios that if left unchecked would collapse ecosystems, slash crop yields, take out the infrastructure that our civilisation depends on, and destroy the basis of the modern economy and modern society.
“The Committee on Climate Change and the National Audit Office, who are tasked with monitoring the government, are warning the public that their climate plans are failing to materialise.
“Our leaders are still not taking this seriously. It’s time for ordinary people to step up and demand action.”
- You can support Inside Croydon’s news-breaking independent local journalism. Sign up today as a subscriber. Click here
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and BBC London News
- ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named the country’s rottenest borough in 2020 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine – the fourth successive year that Inside Croydon has been the source for such award-winning nominations
- Inside Croydon: 3million page views in 2020. Seen by 1.4million unique visitors