Saturday, 20 April 2019

In praise of Extinction Rebellion protests

Letter to the Daily Mail

I do not think the fact that some of the Extinction Rebellion eco-campaigners live less than  perfect personal lives, come from middle class or even very posh  backgrounds, or wear mass-produced clothes, as some of your  letters to the editor correspondents  on 18 April charge, in any way invalidates the importance of the  ecological crisis  that their protest highlights.

I also agree with your Comment article on the same  day headlined "Time the Police stood up to these eco-zealots" that the campaigners were silly to target public transport, which is something they should support to reduce carbon emissions from private cars.

But you should not - nor should former Labour Home Secretary Lord David Blunkett in the same day's paper (Mail) - dismiss the importance of taking alternative political action when traditional forms of political lobbying (such as writing to MPs or directly lobbying Parliament ) have simply failed to secure the urgent action needed.

The Daily Mail has for several months commendably run  great campaign to  both highlight to the crucial importance of, and promote direct action to sort out, plastic pollution and litter waste  despoliation in our fragile environment.

You did this because politicians failed to take notice of the increasing  scientific evidence of the terrible dangers to the creatures of our oceans from plastic wastes. Even the wonderful tv documentary by Sir David Attenborough was insufficient to kick start political action. Only public protest worked.

I think the same applies to  protecting our climate. The kind of detailed research institutes such as mine produce are insufficient to provoke change without political pressure.

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