Posted: 01.05.21 at 17:45 by Ellie Brown
A section of Teddington Broad Street was blocked by a 79-year-old Extinction Rebellion member today (Saturday 1 May) as part of a UK-wide protest by the group against government inaction on climate change.
From 11am to 1pm this morning, Teddington resident Pat stopped traffic by sitting in the middle of the road and wearing a sign saying "I'm worried for my grandchildren."
Pat's demonstration was part of an Extinction Rebellion day of action which saw 200 other protestors taking similar action in towns across the UK.
Pat, who has spent his life working on the River Thames and is now retired, said: "I’ve been involved in the ecological ‘debate’ since the mid-60s, when I read Silent Spring and then The Limits to Growth.
"I joined Friends of the Earth shortly after its inception and I’ve been a continuous member since, but I was always frustrated – they were talking to politicians, but politicians had no interest in listening.
“Meanwhile the only changes I was seeing were for the worse. Above all I’ve seen the continuing degradation along the river.
“Discussion of the climate and ecological disaster is becoming more widespread, but it is a political tactic to say ‘yes yes yes’ without actually qualifying the details. There are lots of vested interests, and people are not told the truth.
“I want to tell the truth today. I'm terrified for my grandchildren."
Pat's protest got a mixed reaction on social media, with some Teddington residents praising his action while others expressed frustration that traffic had been slowed.
The UK-wide action was scheduled by Extinction Rebellion to be two years to the day since the government declared a climate emergency.
A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion UK, Gully Bujak, said: “This Government is good at creating positive headlines on climate, but what we need them to do now is stop focussing on their image in the media and start acting.”
She added: “When you look beyond the headline grabbing ‘ten point plan’ and the promise to ‘toughen’ targets, to what bodies like the National Audit Office and the Committee on Climate Change are saying – those tasked with monitoring what the Government is actually doing – it is clear that our government don’t have a plan.
“We are seeing today that people are scared and frustrated at the refusal of this Government to accept the severity of the crisis."
What do you think about Pat's protest? Let us know!