Many climate activist groups across the world perform their demonstrations in a controversial way, yet sometimes, quite amusing.
Lets look at Extinction Rebellion, their demonstrations have been so different to the usual gather and shout protest, that it has probably gained them more attention than the normal process would.
They have pulled eye catching stunts, pulled off colourful demonstrations and have even closed roads for periods of time. The biggest protest so far, was when thousands of demonstrators swarmed in central London last year.
Furthermore, In the first two weeks of their movement in September 2018, more than 60 people were arrested for taking parts in acts of civil disobedience.
Another demonstration from XR, was when they took their protetsts to the London Underground. However the tubes aren’t detrimental to the environment compared to other forms of transport.
So the question is, why the tubes? It doesn’t seem to add up and is calling for an arrest – jumping on the tubes and what not – but the protests actually had a deeper meaning, rather than mindlessly causing havoc.
Andrew Medhurst – Extinction Rebellion volunteer and climate activist – said, “There are some elements of non-violent civil disobedience that give that chance of resistance being successful. It has to be focused on the center of power, which is where we do most of our demonstrations in London.”
“These demonstrations have to involve a lot of people and it has to p*ss a few people off and cause economic damage. We don’t want to take these steps but we are desperate because we don’t know what to do.”
In hindsight, gathering round a tree to stop it being cut down doesn’t have the same affect as it would if you were to physically stop people from getting to work and closing roads.
The price that comes with more drastic means of protests are the odd arrests here and there. But some activists say that being arrested means it is working.
October of 2019, 1,100 activists were arrested on the streets of London for sitting in the road and blocking traffic on Waterloo bridge and Oxford Circus.
Andrew said, “The idea is that we are going to annoy some people”. In other words, to grab their attention.
Over the years, the warnings from scientists haven’t been working. Not enough people are waking up to the inevitable. So the idea for these activist groups is to try something different, completely out of the blue that will make people stop and think.
Looking back, nearly two years after they were formed, they have grabbed the world’s attention, so getting arrested while performing these absurd demonstrations is working – some might agree.
However, getting arrested and coming out a few hours later or even the next day is one thing. But getting incarcerated is another subject, how many people would do that for the cause? And would it make a difference?
Credit: William Wand – The Figure Head