Fringe Box



Letter: Majority ‘Worried’ To ‘Terrified’ About Climate At Newlands Corner Demo

Published on: 4 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 4 Mar, 2022

From Sam Peters

Green Party candidate in the 2019 GBC and SCC elections

Extinction Rebellion (XR) members from Guildford, Godalming, Farnham and Reading met at Newlands Corner last Sunday (February 27) for an outreach event – and brought along a very special guest, the Polly Higgins.

Extinction Rebellion’s Polly Higgins boat made an appearance at the demonstration at Newlands Corner on Sunday, February 27.

This blue boat was one of several that has joined climate protesters in London in the past few years, turning heads and helping spread the message of its namesake, Pauline ‘Polly’ Higgins.

Polly was a barrister and environmental campaigner who fought for years to have ecocide – substantially damaging or destroying ecosystems or species – recognised as a crime internationally. She sadly died in 2019 after a short battle with cancer.

A bright sunny day saw Newlands Corner full of walkers, bikers and picnic-ers who were curious about the big blue boat. XR members set up a stand nearby with information on climate and a scale of climate concern to which passers-by could add their own stickers, indicating their feelings about the climate crisis.

Of 91 stickers, 63 ranged from “worried” to “terrified” – a feeling reflected in the discussions had throughout the day. From self-confessed petrolheads to nature-loving ramblers, almost every conversation revealed concerns about the climate, air pollution, species loss, destruction of green spaces, and other related environmental issues.

“From self-confessed petrolheads to nature-loving ramblers, almost every conversation revealed concerns about the climate.”

Alongside climate information, XR members also set up a block printing station to prepare flags, patches and shirts for upcoming protests. Many conversations were also sparked by individual members sitting quietly at the viewpoint with sandwich boards detailing their fears for the future.

Eventually, the Polly Higgins continued her journey on to take part in an exhibition, and XR members packed up their stalls for the day.

Similar outreach events are planned for other local hotspots almost every weekend in the run-up to the next round of international climate protests in April.

Local XR members encourage anyone interested in pushing for climate action – particularly with the bleak predictions of the latest IPCC report, released yesterday – to get in touch, attend a Heading for Extinction talk, or come and say hello at an outreach event!

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