Climate Change - What Can We Do?
Written by A. Resident (not her real name).
The Shirehampton Climate Emergency Group is hosting a Climate Event from 10:00 am- 12:00 on Saturday 7th September in the Methodist Church, Penpole Lane.
The event will be an opportunity for us to learn about the global warming that is causing climate change, about the effects this change will have on us in Britain, and about the effect it is already having in many parts of the world. The Government and more than 100 Councils, including Bristol City Council, have declared a Climate Emergency to make us all aware of how serious the situation is. Here is a description of how some of us joined in direct action to raise awareness about Climate Change.
In July, a dozen members of Shirehampton's Climate Emergency Group helped with the big XR (extinction rebellion) action in Bristol.
Many of us attended non-violent direct action training, which helped us make sure we were signing up to something we truly believed in and prepared us for many situations, including the possibility of being arrested.
Between us, we got involved in many ways to support the action.
- Stewarding: giving out information to people on their way to work and having some good conversations.
- Wellbeing: taking snacks and water to protestors marching in very hot conditions, and to protestors sitting at road blocks.
- Clowning: learning and using clown skills (and costumes!) to help draw attention to the protest in a different way.
- Swarming: standing in the road to block traffic for up to 7 minutes (which is legal!).
- Back office: taking calls from legal observers about protestors who were being arrested and making sure they would be supported at the police station when released. A mass cycle ride with hundreds of other cyclists.
- Court: waiting outside Bristol Magistrates court to check those who had been arrested were being looked after following their hearings.
We met so many lovely people during the week, absolutely loved the community space that was created and learned so much about being kind to each other and our world. We also collected a lot of information to bring back and share with our Shirehampton Community.
Many people criticise the tactics of XR and dislike the disruption that blocking roads causes to individuals.
I am sad hearing stories about how some people were affected…
Every day of the action ended with a people's assembly, giving time for reflection and planning. Wednesday was arguably the most disruptive day and so the actions on Thursday were intentionally toned down.
Why is disruption being used?
That's a good question. Concerned people have been politely trying to look after our world for many decades but their actions have not been taken seriously. Yes, good changes are slowly happening but the UK continues to make things worse, choosing fracking, more roads and more runways. People take notice when there is disruption and they are forced to act. The UK XR movement is trying to wake up our government to the urgency of the situation. Disruption gets people talking and this is something that needs talking about.
Shirehampton Climate Emergency Group is not a branch of XR.
We all have our own individual views about the best way to make a difference. You don't have to believe disruption is the way to tackle the climate emergency. Many of our group do not want to cause any disruption but want to take action in other ways. We welcome everyone because this is an issue that affects everyone. We'd love to hear your views and share what we have learned.
We have a stand on the High Street some Saturday mornings. We hope that many of you will come to climate talks and film on September 7th.
A Shire Resident, Member of Shirehampton Climate Emergency Group