Spewing hate about everyone, including tofu-eaters like me, is neither a strategy nor a solution to climate action activists’ disruptive tactics, Rashmee Roshan Lall writes.
First published: Oct 2022.
Now that a climate action group, Just Stop Oil¹, has been making headlines by blocking a major motorway between Essex and Kent on October 18 and sending two of its members to throw cans of tomato soup at a Van Gogh painting, the British government has responded with fury.
Naked fury. Fury that is frightening in its viciousness.
Prime Minister Liz Truss’s then-home secretary, Suella Braverman, blamed the traffic chaos caused by Just Stop Oil on the following list of people:
People who eat tofu and/or read The Guardian are not necessarily violent neo-Luddites or status-quoists. It’s hard to be sure if activists belonging to this particular climate action group even read The Guardian.
The newspaper’s environmental reporter Damien Gayle has been describing this group as an increasingly radical breed, which indicates both the depths of despair and dedication. Just Stop Oil apparently emerged just months ago as the successor to Extinction Rebellion (XR). It is said to have close links to other environmental action groups and is said to be a youth-led movement with a lot of recruitment at universities.
Their aim at this point is very clear — to force a moratorium on new fossil fuel project licences. According to the Guardian reporter, the demand was specifically picked as a good start “because it’s in line with the advice of the International Energy Agency, which had said there cannot be any new fossil fuel projects if we’re going to stay within 1.5 degrees of global warming.”
Their disruptive tactics at roughly 10 fuel distribution facilities a day in London and southern England are working to halve business activity at those sites, he said.
Though Just Stop Oil have broadened their demands from climate action to social justice, one of the more remarkable aspects is their sense of desperation. The Guardian reporter says: “There’s a real sense that we’re hurtling towards civilisational collapse, and it’s led to a moment of radicalisation.”
What it says to me is that the government is losing when it can’t give young people hope instead of a deep abiding sense of despair.
Spewing hate about everyone, including tofu-eaters like me, is neither a strategy nor a solution.
— AUTHOR —
▫ Rashmee Roshan Lall, Journalist by trade & inclination. World affairs columnist.
- Text: This piece was originally published in Medium and re-published in PMP Magazine on 21 October 2022, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/Number 10. - Liz Truss and her cabinet. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)