The need to act now to avoid catastrophic climate change

(The Guardian, 21 Nov 2018) Gwen Harrison explains why she has become a law-breaker and Sue Tytler suggests other ways of saving the world.

On Monday last week I was arrested for gluing myself to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London. On Saturday I risked further detention by illegally occupying Lambeth Bridge, along with hundreds of others, as part of Extinction Rebellion’s campaign of mass civil disobedience (Report, 19 November). Why?

Scientists warn that the sixth mass extinction is now under way, that the survival of human civilisation itself is threatened, and that we have only a few short years in which to act. The UN also warns that we have just 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change. The science is clear – we’re heading for an existential crisis.

Until last week I was an ordinary, law-abiding citizen. I’ve tried to drive change through all the normal channels – making lifestyle changes, lobbying politicians, being active in the Green party, and even standing for election. These things are crucial, and I’ll continue to do them, but they’re no longer enough. I now believe that non-violent direct action and mass civil disobedience are both necessary and urgent. I’ve become a law-breaker. I’ll continue to get arrested and I’ll go to prison if I must.

When my beautiful, innocent little niece grows up, enthralled as she is by the natural world, I can’t face her, knowing that I sat back passively and allowed its destruction. Along with thousands of others I’m now willing to sacrifice my freedom in an attempt to draw attention to this emergency, and to force our government to act immediately and radically.
Gwen Harrison
Kendal, Cumbria

Climate change experts are doing all they can to keep our somnolent world leaders supplied with industrial quantities of strong black coffee. As you report, on its current trajectory, the planet will overshoot the 1.5C target set by the IPCC (Russia, Canada and China threaten to warm world by 5C, 17 November).

External link

The Guardian, 21 Nov 2018: The need to act now to avoid catastrophic climate change