Activists from Just Stop Oil marched in Bristol over the weekend as the group prepares for concerted action in London commencing in the Spring.
From 1pm on Saturday, March 18, Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists and supporters, many wearing the now-familiar orange hi-vis tabards, marched slowly around the city centre to demand that the UK government immediately cease issuing licences for new oil and gas extraction projects.
Around 80 people joined the slow march, a common tactic of the group which is better known for blockading motorways. It began and ended in Queen Square, and disrupted traffic in the city centre for around two hours.
JSO activist and doctor, Patrick Hart, 37 from Knowle, said: ’I’ve taken this action because we can see no other choice. Right now, the climate crisis is killing people and will kill countless more in the years to come. Lets stop making this worse and end new oil and gas. More and more of us who work in healthcare are stepping up to resist a government that is harmful and failing to protect us, protect our future.’
In a statement, organisers of the Bristol march apologised for the inconvenience to people going about their daily lives and businesses such actions cause. But, they add, such inconveniences pale in comparison to the consequences of pursuing what UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called “the highway to climate hell”.
On Monday (March 20) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its sixth assessment report, delivering a ‘final warning’ to the world to act now, before it’s too late.
The IPCC’s findings indicate that warming of 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels will likely be reached or exceeded in the early 2030s, and even as early as 2026. Such a rise would result in failed harvest, famine and drought, excessive heat, and the crossing of irreversible climate “tipping points” such as the melting of Siberian permafrost or the Greenland ice sheet.
Professor Harriet Bradley, 77 from Cotham, said: ‘We [need] every British citizen to consider the costs of our addiction to oil: the catastrophe of climate change, the pollution of our planet and the loss of wildlife habitat.
‘The past year has seen record temperatures in Britain, and catastrophic floods and wildfires around the world: as the polar ice continues to melt our coastlines are under attack. To save our beautiful country for our children and grandchildren we must change the way we live.’
All images: Wong Yat Him.