Prominent actors and scholars condemn UK for its climate “insanity” and restrictions on demonstrations.
Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, and Ben Okri, along with former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and prominent climate scientists, are coming together to bring attention to a “collective act of insanity” that is causing the “devastation of life on our planet.”
A group of over 100 actors, authors, scientists, and academics have signed a letter stating that the UK government is disregarding the scientific facts surrounding the climate and ecological emergency. The government is continuing to support new fossil fuel projects and punishing non-violent activists who bring attention to the issue.
The letter asserts that the UK government is disregarding reason and scientific evidence by awarding contracts for oil exploration in the guise of ensuring ‘energy security’. This action is also pushing the UK towards authoritarianism. Currently, it is almost considered unlawful to protest for the vital right to preserve life in Britain.
The statement, co-signed by Sir David King, a previous top scientific advisor for the UK government, and Prof James Hansen, who first brought attention to the greenhouse effect in the 1980s, is in response to increasing worry over the suppression of nonviolent demonstrations in the UK.
In the past month, Michel Forst, the United Nations’ investigator on defenders of the environment, expressed concern over the “frightening” state of affairs in the UK. Activists are now faced with navigating through a harsh new legal landscape that imposes strict restrictions on their right to protest.
Two activists from Just Stop Oil, Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker, were sentenced to three years and two years in jail for obstructing a motorway bridge in east London. This case has sparked controversy as Trowland received the longest jail sentence for non-violent protest ever given by a British judge.
According to Ian Fry, the United Nations’ representative for climate change and human rights, the extended prison sentences could violate international laws and prevent the public from voicing their concerns about the environment.
The statement, released on Friday, states that although banks and fossil fuel companies seem to face no consequences for earning billions from the destruction of the planet, governments are utilizing all their authority to repress nonviolent demonstrators.
The statement claims that instead of prosecuting the true criminals, the political and legal system is resorting to rounding up individuals with moral values. This is a sign of a failing system that is unable to handle or find a solution to the pressing crisis.
The signatories applaud a jury’s decision last week to clear nine women of causing £500,000 worth of criminal damage to windows at the headquarters of HSBC in London. The women sang and chanted as they shattered the glass windows in April 2021 and placed stickers on the building reading: “£80bn into fossil fuels in the last five years”.
The message states that women have historically come together to resist in the name of life and love. In light of the threat posed by money and power leading us toward complete climate and ecological collapse, protests like this are a logical reaction to the most severe threat humanity has ever faced. These women, like us, feel a responsibility to resist a violent system that jeopardizes the survival of everything we hold dear.