Monday, 20 October 2008

Deeds, not words

There’s something hugely therapeutic about storming Parliament. I can personally recommend it for anyone suffering from frustration or depression. Al Gore recently called for civil disobedience on behalf of the planet, and it’s even legal - recently a jury in Britain ruled that it is acceptable to break the law if you are protesting against climate change. So on Monday I found myself dressed as a suffragette to mark the 100 years to the hour of the suffrages storming of parliament to demand the vote. With me were my daughter Anna (17) and my friend Jan (70). Rosie Boycott, one of the speakers in Parliament Square, told us the suffragettes laid themselves – and even their lives - on the line to get the vote. This time, she said, we are demanding a future, for our daughters and grand-daughters.

Caroline Lucas, who increasingly inspires me, said that our government is still saying one thing about the climate imperative and doing another, like approving a new runway at Stansted. When billions are found to shore up banks, why was there no serious money going into renewables? She reminded us of the suffragettes’ slogan – Deeds, not Words - and called for us to take direct action in response to the crimes against humanity being created by climate chaos. And with that, we swarmed over the barricades and stormed Parliament, at least creating merry mayhem.

These extraordinary times - 98 months to go before irreversible tipping points - require us all to take extraordinary actions. OK, so you might not be a front-liner like Marina Pepper, or a cheerer-on like me. And there are millions of excuses, I know. But our whole life is an opportunity for direct action and every act is political. Everything we do and buy contributes to the planet’s recovery or demise. So let’s all switch off the telly and intensify the direct actions we can still take, from this moment.

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