Totnes to Join National Rebellion for Climate Action

Sunday evening (4/11/18) in Totnes brought over 100 people to ‘Listen, Speak, Plan’ – an event organized by Frack Free Totnes to welcome back Rich Loizou, one of the three anti-fracking protectors recently released from prison.

To a packed room at the Seven Stars Hotel, Rich, who lives near Totnes, spoke of his experience in prison and why he, and the other Frack Free Four, as the group became known, took non-violent direct action (NVDA) last year.

 

The protest, in July 2017, involved Rich and three others climbing up onto four lorries to delay equipment being delivered to the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire. They stayed there a total of 99 hours, and three of the four men were jailed on 26 September 2018 for 15 and 16 months after being found guilty of public nuisance. Julian, the fourth man, who lives in Torquay and was also at the Totnes meeting on Sunday night, has been held on remand, so was released after the trial. Rich spent three weeks in prison before being released on two-year conditional discharges, when the Lord Chief Justice quashed their jail sentences for being ‘manifestly excessive’.

Dr Larch Maxey at the Declaration of Rebellion, 31st October, Parliament Square

Also speaking at the event was co-founder of Frack Free Totnes, Dr. Larch Maxey, who has spent the last 25 years studying climate change and campaigning across a range of organisations. Dr. Maxey spoke of the escalating public pressure that’s increased over the last few months including a national call for civil disobedience by the Extinction Rebellion movement, which has gained massive support following its Declaration of Rebellion on 31st October in Parliament Square.

Over 1000 people blocked traffic around Parliament Square for hours as they listened to talks by George Monbiot, Southwest MEP Molly Scott Cato, and Greta Thunberg, the 15 year old Swedish schoolgirl who founded the global #StrikeonFridays movement. Extinction Rebellion has begun training and mobilizing thousands of people across the UK, with 3000 people willing to get arrested and 300 ready to go to prison. Thousands are expected in London for Rebellion Day on Saturday November 17th with coaches leaving from Totnes and across the South West.

George Monbiot addressing the crowd at Extinction Rebellion’s Declaration

Dr. Maxey explained, “With the latest IPCC report saying we have only 12 years left to limit climate change catastrophe, we know we’re at a critical point in history, with the responsibility for radical action upon our shoulders. How do we generate the political will? Extinction Rebellion. When ordinary people take peaceful direct action research shows it is the most effective method of social change –  think of the civil rights movement and the suffragettes. If the Frack Free Four changed the national conversation about fracking, Extinction Rebellion will not only change the conversation about climate change, it could be our best chance of stopping both fracking and runaway climate change. The time is now. We must take action.”

 

Extinction Rebellion: “Hope Dies, Action Begins” Go to rebellion.earth

It was an energized, enlivening evening, with plenty of passionate debate and discussion between local Totnesians, including input from Pruw Boswell, former mayor of Totnes. Boswell spoke about how this would be an opportunity again for Totnes to step up and demonstrate the forward-thinking approach that had made them pioneers. “People might have thought at the time that Transition Towns was a crazy idea but look at the impact and outreach it’s had all over the world.” said Boswell. “Totnes now has another chance to step up and show courageous leadership with Extinction Rebellion.”

There will be a Totnes meeting of the Extinction Rebellion on Wednesday 7/11/18 at 7pm at the Seven Stars. This will be an opportunity to get involved and plan actions at a local and national level. Coaches are also being organized for the big day of action in London on the 17th

Email local co-ordinator Ruth Ben-Tovim  ruth@encounters-arts.org.uk about getting involved.

To learn more about coaches see the South West Event Page:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/extinction-rebellion-south-west-return-transport-to-london-9-25th-nov-tickets-52198293501

 

See Also: Report on the march through Totnes in support of the then imprisoned ant-fracking protesters https://www.totnespulse.co.uk/anti-fracking-march/

  1 comment for “Totnes to Join National Rebellion for Climate Action

  1. 20th November 2018 at 9:04 am

    On Saturday November 17th, one week after the country began commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I, Totnes residents of all ages and backgrounds came together to travel to London, alongside people from all over the South West, under the banner of Extinction Rebellion. Six people from Totnes were arrested and later released.

    Those arrested, and the people supporting them, were responding to the latest report from the UN’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which gave humanity 12 years in which to make the changes necessary to avoid societal disintegration and eventual human extinction. The IPCC report made it clear that the only way to ensure extinction, is to change nothing.

    Extinction Rebellion launched with a rally on October 31st and so far, thousands of people have responded to their call to action, travelling to London to take part in a peaceful act of rebellion that occupied central bridges and brought the capital to a standstill, or taking part in smaller events closer to home. They were all united by a willingness to put their bodies on the line and risk arrest to push climate change onto the political agenda. Events will continue until November 25th, and resume in January if no political progress has been made.

    One of those arrested was Barry Cohen, 62, a retired inspector with The Pharmacy Council, who said, “I am very concerned that we may soon go beyond the tipping point, the point of no return. For the sake of our children and our children’s children, I am now taking non-violent direct action to try to persuade our Government to prioritise dramatically reducing our CO2 and methane emissions, while we still have time.”

    In Totnes, more than 50 people staged a Die-in, in procession through the town centre, to draw attention to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet report on mass extinction, which stated that there has been a catastrophic 60% loss of biodiversity since 1970, in part due to climate change and wholly due to human activity.

    One of those participating, Miriam Rose, 63, said “I’m doing this for my grandchildren.”

    Extinction Rebellion is a broad, national coalition of scientists, educators and ordinary people insisting the government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens about how best to work together. Reversal of the worst effects of climate change is still possible, if all sectors of society come together in the spirit of self-sacrifice and dedication shown by Britain’s service people and civilian population in two World Wars.

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