Climate change campaign group Extinction Rebellion have been protesting in the UK this week, bringing parts of the country to a standstill. Parking a bright pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus, staging a camp-out in the middle of Waterloo Bridge, and glueing themselves to a DLR train at Canary Wharf, the group’s “non-violent civil disobedience” looks set to continue until their three core demands are met. In the latest development, a group of protesters chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn’s home. Over 425 people have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police so far.
Extinction Rebellion are calling on the government to “tell the truth” about climate change, and want world leaders to “act now” to achieve net zero on all greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025. They are also urging politicians to move “beyond politics”, and are calling for the creation of a Citizen’s Assembly on climate and ecological justice
“We’ll be at it for as long as it takes,” Extinction Rebellion coordinator Howard Rees told NME from Waterloo Bridge on April 16.
Thousands have joined the environmental protest: among them, NME favourites The Big Moon. The band’s Jules Jackson and Soph Nathan took time out of the studio to camp out on Waterloo Bridge earlier this week. In their words, climate change is “the only thing that matters right now”.
What was the atmosphere like at the Waterloo Bridge protest?
Jules Jackson [vocals]: “It was beautiful on Waterloo Bridge. The sun was out and the bridge was covered in plants and trees. It’s so blissful to be on usually busy streets without any traffic – it feels both peaceful and apocalyptic. It gives you a taste of what a city could be like.”
Soph Nathan [guitar]: “I find it really moving – and to know it’s happening in like 40 other countries at the same time is brilliant! So many people are fighting together for it, and won’t stop until the government declares a climate emergency and agrees to act. It’s quite amazing how people are camping in the streets all night and putting themselves at risk for this. It goes to show how important it is to fight for change before it’s too late! I’d definitely recommend following and supporting Extinction Rebellion, or going down to any of the locations where the peaceful protests are still going on.”
Why did you decide to join Extinction Rebellion?
J: “I just think its the only thing that really matters now. It’s the planet we all live on. It’s literally the planet. What’s bigger than that? Scientists are saying we have only 12 years left to make a meaningful difference to our carbon emissions, and making small personal changes – while important to do – won’t make enough of a difference. The change needs to be systemic to affect consumption in a big way.”
Is climate change something you consider when you tour with The Big Moon, and are you looking at making any changes for environmental reasons?
J: “We try to avoid waste on tour wherever we can but it’s so hard to avoid. We are all vegetarian or vegan and insist on a limited rider, and things like not using bottled water at venues. Let’s be honest though, the music industry is built on driving vans, flying, lights, cameras, speakers. Unless we start playing acoustic folk music and cycling to gigs we are part of the problem. But a lot of festivals and venues are making a big effort to be less damaging to the environment and I think that’s a good start.”
S: “I think Glastonbury are banning selling plastic this year which is a good step, albeit small!”