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"Do not drill! Do not drill!" The climate choir sings the truth to those in power at the Palace of Westminster.
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“Do not drill! Do not drill!” The climate choir sings the truth to those in power at the Palace of Westminster.

The climate choir, consisting of 100 members, makes a showy and disruptive display as they position themselves outside of parliament. Police officers are nearby, keeping a close eye on the situation.

As the decoy choir begins their lively opening song, smiling politicians quickly make their way into the House of Commons. Unaware of their surroundings, they fail to notice the notably anxious and stiffly walking individuals entering St Stephen’s Hall alongside them, all dressed in their finest attire.

Walking correctly becomes difficult when there is a big protest sign wedged in your pants and you are concerned about being arrested within the next five minutes in front of the British parliament building.

Johnny Devas is a former architect, who specialized in gothic architecture, specifically known for his involvement in the construction of Parliament which is widely recognized as one of the most iconic structures in the world. However, on Thursday, his purported knowledge in architecture serves as a cover-up – and the term “architecture” is simply a disguise for something else.

After all 100 real climate choir protest singers have safely cleared the airport-style security at the medieval hall, they gather together and Devas announces the start of the architectural tour by saying, “It is now time for the tour to begin.”

Choir members outside parliament carrying a large banner with the Climate Choir Movement logo View image in fullscreen

After that, they begin: with enthusiastic voices that rise to the 10-meter tall, impressive stone octagon ceiling in the lobby, reverberating through the ornate mosaic-covered vault and reflecting off the intricately tiled floor, the climate choir boldly speaks truth to those in positions of power – addressing them directly and on behalf of the people.

The choir sings to the tune of Handel’s Hallelujah chorus, pleading to stop the excessive profits from fossil fuels and prevent further drilling in Rosebank. The altos, tenors, and basses raise their voices to express the dangers of runaway climate change. Meanwhile, the rest of the choir harmonizes to demand an end to drilling in response to the ecological emergency.

Jo Flanagan, one of the founders of the Climate Choir Movement, has spent months preparing this demonstration. “We wanted something impactful and attention-grabbing: to send a strong message to all politicians that the day after the budget, we demand increased investment in affordable and sustainable energy, rather than continued extraction of oil and gas from the North Sea.”

“After facing strict restrictions on protesting, I hope that our unique approach will demonstrate the power of peaceful demonstration,” she states. “But I must admit, this situation is causing me great anxiety!”

The Climate Choir Movement has experienced significant growth since its establishment in the fall of 2022. Beginning in Bristol, there are currently over 700 members spread across 12 climate choirs in England and Wales, with three additional choirs in progress.

Singing protesters walk along a footpath, with two women holding a banner reading: ‘Politicians, what will you tell your children?’View image in fullscreen

Their demonstrations to date – innovative, pressing, and nonviolent appeals for ecological transformation – have been attention-grabbing: during December, the groups wore formal attire and bowler hats to sing to monetary decision-makers in the financial district of London.

In October of last year, a choir of 100 voices was organized at the Science Museum. Songs were also performed for Gaia at Bath Abbey in September, and in May a group of singers from London, Bath, Stroud, Oxford and Southampton disrupted the Barclays Bank AGM.

On Thursday, they were only able to remain for two and a half minutes before a friendly security guard escorted them out, saying, “Thank you for understanding. Please continue on your way.”

The group exits the hall in a lengthy and slow manner, continuing to sing with a lofty tone as the conductor waves her hands to keep the rhythm, while joining the fake choir outside. It takes them approximately 10 minutes to leave, causing tourists to stare and schoolchildren to laugh as they make their way through.

The two choirs gather outside and proceed to College Green together, concluding their performance.

Kate Honey, the musician who revised Handel’s words, is overjoyed: “We gathered choirs from various parts of the nation to deliver a straightforward message to politicians that reads, ‘Halt Rosebank immediately: alternative energy is more environmentally-friendly, safer, and less expensive’,” she declares.

The name “Rosebank” may sound pleasant, but the business it represents is not. Its activities are harmful to the environment and will not result in lower bills for consumers. The high price of fossil fuels is a major factor in the current living cost crisis, and many individuals, including farmers and firefighters, are becoming aware of the damaging actions of oil and gas companies. People desire an energy source that is dependable, reasonably priced, and does not harm the planet.

Source: theguardian.com