This month’s column is brought to you by Bromsgrove Extinction Rebellion (XR).
Who will be at the 47th G7 Summit in Cornwall in June? World leaders, but also thousands of activists and campaigners from Worcestershire and across the UK. Those from Extinction Rebellion (XR) will demand urgent action to address the climate and ecological emergency.
Some, especially newspapers, will call us a noisy disruptive minority. Is that a fair assessment? If you believe climate breakdown is a global emergency, you are in the overwhelming majority. In January, a global poll of 1.2million found two-thirds agree with you — the figure rises to 81 per cent in the UK, the joint highest proportion in the world. A majority back significant changes to deal with the crisis. Scientists agree, too, by an even greater majority.
XR takes the common-sense view that never-ending economic growth on a finite planet is impossible. To attempt to sustain it is a recipe for disaster, so our economic system needs to change. In April, Pew Research found only six per cent of UK respondents believed the economic system needs no change, with fully half the population believing ‘major changes’ or ‘complete reform’ were necessary.
If you are surprised to find yourself shouting at the telly, despairing at the news – you have to ask why it doesn’t feel like that. Here we find the real minority at work – billionaires who own many of our newspapers, who solicit favours from Government, who urge the Home Secretary to stamp out protest against a system that has allowed them to accumulate unimaginable wealth. Maybe this is why the Government grants major tax credits to oil and gas firms? Or why it intends to cut air passenger duty on domestic flights, when one per cent of us are responsible for 50 per cent of CO2 emissions from commercial aviation?
Global CO2 emissions fell by 6.4 per cent in 2020, during the Covid pandemic. If the wealthiest 10 per cent, responsible for 50 per cent of consumption emissions, reduced their consumption to the average European it produce a 30 per cent cut. Who would support a system that threatens our children’s right to life, to keep this minority in private luxury? Only a tiny, disruptive minority would support it.
So if you belong to the silent majority, one lifestyle change that will make a big difference is speaking out. Tell your friends, neighbours, councillors, MP and G7 leaders we need to act now.
Join a group that is raising awareness or working for a better future, such as Bromsgrove Climate Action, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace or XR Bromsgrove and Worcester. Make your voice heard.
Visit www.xrworcs.org.uk for more.