Letter: Why I feel it is necessary for us to cause disruption to the general public

This letter sent to the Star was written by Ci Davis, Extinction Rebellion, Sheffield, S1

Monday, 9th September 2019, 09:39 am
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 06:45 am
Climate protestors, Extinction Rebellion block Derek Dooley Way in Sheffield at Bridgehouse Roundabout to disrupt the morning rush hour traffic flow into the city

As a member of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, I am writing to say why I took part in the Road Swarm on Derek Dooley Way this morning, and why I feel it is necessary for us to cause disruption to the general public. The swarm lasted one hour this morning and we caused delays of up to 30 minutes for people making their way to school, work and hospital. I know that this is frustrating but I feel it is totally necessary.

My explanation will not be accepted by many, as we have not convinced people yet of the serious nature of the climate breakdown and what threat that poses to our civilisation. So one reason for taking this action is to raise this directly.

I have not done this lightly, but the climate breakdown needs to be put to the top of the political agenda. I have written letters, lobbied, worked for NGOs, protested outside government buildings, but it simply hasn’t worked; our carbon emissions last year were the greatest ever.

I used today’s action to engage dozens of motorists in conversation and to hand out leaflets. Of course some were angry, many didn’t want to know, but for those who wanted to talk there was an opportunity for positive dialogue. I am really grateful for the time and patience of all those whom I spoke with this morning.

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Another reason is that it is the responsibility of those who know that there is a threat, to make others aware of it; disruption is a necessary part of that. If I saw that a building was on fire, and everyone inside was getting on with their work, it is my duty to run into that building and shout fire. This is disruptive, they will have to put their pens down and get out, but hopefully they won’t die. The climate breakdown is an emergency and people to need to know.

We all have obligations to act as a community and to protect our society from threats to it. We have no problem in doing this in times of war. Young men will be prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of society and parents will sanction the sacrifice of their sons. We pull together as a community. Climate breakdown is as serious a threat to our society, and so we all have an obligation to act now. It is not for a handful of Extinction Rebellion Rebels to stand up to the council and to the government, that would not work, it is an obligation for everyone to exercise their civic responsibility. This is the message that I was able to hand out today.