IN November a group of 11,000 scientists co-signed a letter stating that climate change was happening faster than previously thought, declaring a “climate emergency” requiring urgent change to how we live. Here in Perth, the local North of the River group of the global Extinction Rebellion movement have recently emerged from lockdown and have written this week’s Speaker’s Corner on why they’re recommencing regular actions to ensure this threat isn’t forgotten amid coronavirus concerns.
WE’RE a bunch of local citizens out on the streets in our neighbourhoods because we want to make sure that people are reminded weare in a climate crisis and that there’s something that ordinary people can and must do about it.
We are a local group of the international movement Extinction Rebellion (known as XR) which formed in the UK in 2018 with the goal of preventing the worst case scenario of runaway climate change and ecological and social collapse, a scenario we are unfortunately heading towards quicker than originally predicted by climate scientists.
As you’ll see in one of our signs; we are experiencing an unprecedented: “38 degrees in the arctic”.
Ray Brown is an industrial chemist and member of our North of River group of XR; he says there is a very narrow window of time to prevent the worst scenarios unfolding and that even with things as they are now with droughts, floods, bushfires, water being carted to 14 towns in the south west of WA, it’s crucial for people to take action.
The consensus science from the United Nations’ International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) tells us we have an eight-year window of time to prevent the worst global warming scenarios unfolding.
Our Paris commitments are to reduce CO2 annual emissions by 28 per cent of 2005 levels.
Just to get down to 2005 levels means we need to cut emissions by 30 per cent.
Alarmingly, the McGowan government is extremely keen to massively increase gas production via the emissions-intensive Burrup Hub expansion that will increase emissions by 17 per cent; they are hellbent on hiding this information from us, and are completely reckless in supporting this project.
It is a numbers game, Mr Brown said, climate change has become politicised and there are powerful vested interests influencing governments and citizens to maintain business as usual.
We need 3.5 per cent of the population to get active in demanding that governments take swift action to take the steps that scientists tell us are necessary.
Rallies, letter writing and petitions are fine but they haven’t been enough to change things.
Getting enough people to join Extinction Rebellion and participate in non-violent direct action is the best chance we have of making our government pay attention and to do the right thing, thereby giving us a chance to live well for generations to come.
Our North of the River group meets regularly on Saturday afternoons.
We were hiring a venue but when the virus hit we started meeting in Woodville Reserve, when it was safe to meet in person again.
Isabel Murray, a barista from Mt Lawley, joined the group recently and said: “I was a little nervous about what to expect but everyone is so lovely and you can be involved at any level you’re comfortable with, though it’s hard to resist a little protest action!”
All are welcome at our weekly meetings, the details of which can be found on the Extinction Rebellion Western Australia’s facebook page or on http://www.xrwa.earth, or they can be contacted at xrwa_nor@protonmail. com.