Totnes and Area rebels acted on the streets and behind the scenes, locally, regionally and nationally contributing in a variety of ways to a hugely successful rebellion despite understandably low numbers due to Covid19 concerns. As ever, Totnes and Area XR were punching way above they're weight!
Here Ruth Leonard Williams shares her testimony about her arrest outside the Houses of Parliament:
Rebellion Day 2…
In an attempt to create a spectacle outside Parliament as Boris arrived for Prime Ministers Questions, 3 of us superglued ourselves to the pedestrian crossing by the MPs entrance and shut down the road whilst hundreds of others blocked roads in 4 other places around Parliament (plus lots of other more audacious actions).
Ruth being unglued. Photo Chris Jerrey
As 'Chunky' here (his real nickname) slowly and meticulously unstuck me we talked about our fears for our kids future plus other general good-natured banter, before I was cuffed and driven for an hour full pelt to the outer edge of Greater London, bizarrely with the sirens going, 6 officers, and then released at 3am with no charge (pending investigation).
This kind of action might seem reckless, bizarre, desperate or radical - but please dont consider it extreme.
Extreme is a Government leader who acknowledges that his parties policies commit us to 4 degrees warming this century, with a shrug. A level of warming that is completely incompatible with food and water security and would leave us with mass ecosystem collapse and little possibility of law and order or civilised society.
Extreme is continuing with HS2, despite displacing families and farmers, going billions over budget, and destroying 108 ancient woodlands, plus nature reserves and rare habitat. These places are our Amazon.
Extreme is supposedly 'being led by the science' on Covid 19, but dealing with it by bailing out airlines and big business and promising to 'Build, Build, Build', all while continuing to ignore the urgent warnings of our scientists about the state of the natural world and the need to act NOW.
A bit bleary eyed this afternoon I attended a talk about Citizen's Assemblies as a viable alternative to confrontational 'us and them' politics for complex decision making. This method has recently been successfully used in France with 98% of participants (who were made up of a representative cross-section of society) voting for a French Ecocide law, plus 150 other policies to tackle the climate and ecological crisis.
There are other really exciting examples of these Assemblies resulting in progressive outcomes. Give power to the people and with balanced expert information they really can make sensible decisions that benefit the people and not just the mega-rich.
The new Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill that has been written by scientists, lawyers and activists and was presented to Parliament yesterday, gives us a chance to put into place a Citizens Assembly and hopefully the radical policies that are needed - and with social justice at their heart. Because let's face it....this isn’t just about our planet and ecosystems it's about justice for those who are exploited and marginalised, in many cases for centuries.
Ecological justice is intimately intertwined with social and racial justice and there is a lot more work needed to connect these issues.
I might talk about fear and worst case scenarios some of the time, but ultimately I'm driven by positives. By hope, by love for humanity and the natural world and a belief that in general there is something good and sacred in everyone and all life.
GREAT NEWS -- WE CAN STILL PROTEST!
The government issued its new Covid-19 regulations on 9 September, highlighting the 'rule of 6' -- i.e. that people can meet in social groups of maximum six, indoors or outdoors. There's a range of exceptions, including for protests. So we can still get out on the streets so long as we're Covid secure and write a good risk assessment. We have great experience of both of those. Let's keep getting out there!
Here's an extract from the new regulations:
"From 14 September - when the new rules apply - it will be against the law to meet people you do not live with in a group larger than 6 (unless you are meeting as a household or support bubble). The police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notice) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.
There will be exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people, including:
... protests and political activities organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments"
Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. This was at the centre of the first 2-3 days of the London Rebellion.
Digital Rebellion. Ongoing programme of disruptive emailing and phone swamping of Whitehall. Much success already!
Can you help Tell The Truth? QUIZ!!!
Please spread the quiz to your friends and followers using email or social media. Here is an example social media post:
Are you up to speed with the defining issue for your generation? Find out with this quiz … then dare to share to Tell The Truth! Challenge your friends to do better!
Feedback on the quiz very welcome, we are just in the process of improving it. Geoff Petty
Red Rebels outside BBC Cymru in Cardiff, Sept Photo Colin Moore
The XR Politics Circle invites rebels to write to email@example.com re the Government’s recent White paper, Planning for the Future, making use of the following points as you wish!
1 The target in the White paper of 2025 for new homes to produce 75-80% lower CO2 emissions compared to current levels is too little too late. The previous target of 2016 for new houses to be zero carbon was removed by a previous Conservative government. Will Mr Mangnall use his influence to ensure that at a local level we will still have the freedom under the new Planning strategy to require new builds to be carbon neutral immediately.
2. The Government's Committee on Climate Change in its July report states that the rapid decarbonisation of housing is a priority, as it accounts for 18% of total UK emissions, and that since the zero carbon date of 2016 was delayed, 1.8 million houses have been built which will need retrofitting. If the requirement is delayed for another 5 years, there will be another 1.5 million houses that will need retrofitting in addition to all the existing homes that need retrofitting!
3 In the South Hams, the situation is even more critical. Buildings in the South Hams account for 33% of all carbon emissions. To achieve the Government target of global warming remaining below 2% and to meet our commitment under the Paris Agreement, the South Hams will need to reduce its carbon emissions by 13.7% per year. Under the 2025 target, the South Hams will already have used almost our entire carbon budget available for housing by 2025. https://carbonbudget.manchester.ac.uk/reports/E07000044/
4. We are looking at a scenario of a 3-4% rise in global temperature in our lifetime or that of our children with the catastrophic outcomes that will bring on human society and nature. Local communities in the South Hams and South Hams District Council are keen to avoid this. However in the White paper, local people's ability to insist on zero carbon new builds through the planning process is taken away from them.
5. Mr Mangnall, MP, has expressed his personal commitment to supporting local communities in the South Hams to reduce their carbon emissions, will he use his influence to ensure that at a local level we will still have the freedom under the new Planning strategy to require new builds to be carbon neutral immediately.
Planning White Paper
Boris Johnson’s post lockdown promise to ‘build, build, build’, coupled with Cummings ‘taking an axe’ to our planning system could be a backward step for both Climate and wildlife in the UK.
The proposed Planning White Paper will, if implemented build 300,000 more houses every year in the UK, but they won’t be allocated on a need basis, but rather where volume developers can sell them. In South and West Devon, that means another 10,000 houses, on top of the already damaging levels of housing allocated in the Joint Local Plan, which the new legislation will cancel out. All areas will be zoned for Protection, Renewal or Growth. In our area, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be protected- at the cost of most of the 10,000 houses being built alongside the A38 corridor or between Brixham and the A38- yes, that’s all over the countryside from Paignton, through Totnes, Dartington and beyond. This volume of housing will change the landscape forever, wiping out habitats, generating huge traffic increases and further polluting the air in areas that already break WHO limits. What’s more, local people will have almost no right to object to any development in the growth areas. Echoes of the HS2 approach to development?
Already we know that around 40% of new houses in South Devon are bought as second homes or investment properties. Developers don’t have to build truly affordable homes for local people, or build near to employment. We’re used to seeing adverts for houses in Dartington as ‘an easy drive to Plymouth or Exeter’. The White Paper will give the big volume housebuilders even more gains and less obligations.
The Chair of Planning at SHDC has spoken out against the damaging effects of the new bill and Anthony Mangnall who previously said that he would vote for it- and not for the CEE bill, has now written in the Totnes Times that ‘Planning reform is needed- but not like this’. In a rural constituency, many of his voters will be as appalled by the prospects of a free for all for developers, so we have a real chance to tip the balance by writing to our MP now.
Please write in to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why you are deeply concerned about the proposed White Paper and what it could mean for our environment and our communities. You might mention the CEE bill too! Encourage him to work with other back benchers to vote against it or seek reforms. Copy your emails and responses you receive onto facebook, twitter or any other social platforms you use. Thank you.
THE CLIMATE & ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY BILL
The CEE Bill is launched and more and more MPs are supporting it! Watch & share this video: https://youtu.be/LPhAwYV0vM4
Find out more here: www.ceebill.uk
💻Write to your MP's and get your family and friends to write to theirs! Ask them to support it! You can find your MP's email here: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
"This Bill outlines the path needed to avoid the catastrophe outlined by the United Nations...it is farsighted aiming to protect those at risk now and in the future." - Kumi Naidoo, Ex-Director of Greenpeace & Secretary Amnesty International
If you want to find out what's happening locally, contact taaCEEbill@protonmail.com
Announcing a local chapter of Ocean Rebellion
Following the wonderful action of Ocean Rebellion in Falmouth in late August highlighting the obscene "World" cruise liner harboured there, a local Ocean Rebellion South Devon and Torbay group is in the process of setting up and will soon be planning some actions.
If you're interested please check out and like the local Ocean Rebellion South Devon and Torbay facebook group here and if you'd like to sign up for zoom meetings and a newsletter please send an email to email@example.com You will be asked to agree to three basic principles for both the Fb group and the email list. The group is in the XR family and adheres to XR's 10 principles. We are particularly interested in rebels with access to boats, kayaks etc Please let s know!
The main website for Ocean Rebellion UK where you can read about its demands (slightly different to Extinction Rebellion's) is here