Maybe you saw Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” smeared with two cans of tomato soup. Or the 20-year-old man who set fire to his arm at a tennis tournament, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “End United Kingdom Private Jets.” Or the traffic on London’s M25 highway blocked by protesters for days. One 24-year-old girl, Louise, climbed atop a crane on the highway. “I’m here because I don’t have a future,” she exclaimed between sobs.
All these stories feature young members of a movement that claims to fight climate change by demanding their governments stop using and producing Fossil Fuels (Renewable Energy) immediately.
Their methods seem unorthodox, and you’re probably wondering how defacing artwork or gluing your hand to the floor of a Volkswagen showroom reduces carbon emissions. I don’t blame you.
The difference between me and you is I used to be one of them.
For the past 16 years, I was part of one environmental organization or another as an activist or paid employee. First it was Camp for Climate Action, where we protested a different corporation every year. Once, in a demonstration outside a bank in Edinburgh, we wore garbage bags and painted ourselves in molasses—a nod to the tar sands that the bank was investing in—and stormed the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, where I was arrested.
I became a mother in 2011, and swore off putting myself in danger, but I doubled down on my commitment to the movement. I wrote a book on ecologically minded parenting. I was the co-editor of a magazine, Juno, on the same subject. I gave talks, made television appearances, and wrote articles about the threat posed by unlivable temperatures that come from our reliance on fossil fuels.
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Author: Ruth King
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