From Granny on a gantry to Bullying
Granny on a gantry
On 9 November 2022 I climbed up a gantry on the M25. I’m seventy-five, a grandmother and a Quaker. I have no climbing experience. I was part of the Just Stop Oil (JSO) Climate Action. JSO has one simple demand: that the government stop all new gas and oil licences. Liz Truss issued over 100 new oil and gas licences which the prime minister, with one stroke of a pen, could rescind, thus showing the world that they were serious about the climate emergency. JSO’s demand aligns with the IPCC report (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the Dasgupta Report, and pronouncements by David King and Antonio Guterres, chief of the UN. Why did I do it? Because my heart is breaking. Breaking for the future of my four grandchildren, and all future generations. Breaking for the havoc and suffering wreaked on the global south by climate change.
What were my thoughts as I surveyed the four lanes of early morning motorway traffic? A moment of antinomy: despair and hope. Hope that a better, fairer world is possible. We can devise a better system, we can have clean air, healthy worm-rich soil and sweet water, with collective will and action. Activism is the antidote to despair. As the traffic cleared, the sun came out and two kestrels flew overhead.
When I was a child my father, Miles, would say: ‘Sometimes it’s a crime not to be in prison.’ I didn’t understand what he meant then. I do now.
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