6,000 Climate Activists Block 5 London Bridges, Demand Urgent Action
On Saturday, More than 6,000 climate activists shut down five bridges in Central London. The protest, organized under the banner of Extinction Rebellion to call for urgent action on climate change, was the first to intentionally block the bridges "in living memory," the group reported.
The mood was festive as demonstrators from around London held the bridges—Waterloo, Blackfriars, Southwark, Lambeth and Westminster—from around 10 a.m. to well into the afternoon. Extinction Rebellion had been building to Saturday's "Rebellion Day" since it launched itself into the public consciousness a little over two weeks ago by blocking traffic outside London's Parliament Square. The group hopes to pressure the government into increased climate action by using non-violent civil disobedience. Eighty-two were arrested during Saturday's demonstration, BBC News confirmed.
⚠️❗️Because of the #ExtinctionRebellion demo: Lambeth, Westminster, Watelroo, Blackfriars and Southwark Bridges are… https://t.co/mncMOzJlqo— BBC London Travel (@BBC London Travel)1542454437.0
"Because the last two governments have rolled back significant policies which would have helped the UK reduce its carbon dioxide emissions," Margot Gibbs, a 30-year-old journalist from North London, told EcoWatch when asked why she was there. "And because a massive change is required."
Specifically, the group is calling for the UK government to institute policies that will allow the country to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, and to create a "Citizens' Assembly" to oversee those radical changes.
Saturday's protest wrapped up at 5:30 p.m. with a tree-planting ceremony in Parliament Square, according to Extinction Rebellion. A crowd of around 3,000 watched as an apple, plum and evergreen tree were planted just outside where the UK government meets. But that isn't the end for the growing movement. Organizers are calling for people to join them back at the square next Saturday for "Rebellion Day 2."
✊#RebellionDay2✊ Saturday, November 24, 10 AM – 5 PM Parliament Square The #ExtinctionRebellion is bringing 1000s… https://t.co/Y6GcvN4vAy— Extinction Rebellion (@Extinction Rebellion)1542506298.0
EcoWatch spoke with some of the thousands who traveled from across England to "rebel for life," as one of the movement's slogans reads. They came from a variety of places and had a range of professions, but were united in their commitment to get their government to act now.
Hannah Van Den BrulOlivia Rosane
Hannah Van Den Brul (30), North London
Van Den Brul is a musician and a Suzuki violin teacher. She said simply that she was there "because we need change now." She added she was also there "for the children." As a music teacher, she works with children ages two and up.
Pedro Pereira (left) and Maria Rosa (right)Olivia Rosane
Maria Rosa (38) and Pedro Pereira (40), Oxfordshire
Maria and Pedro are both scientists, a biologist and a civil engineer respectively.
"Time is running out for us," Maria said. "The government needs to wake up and realize that we need to change or else everything is going to go down the toilet. And because economic [factors] are more important for the government, we need to start acting, we need to show that we care about our future and our planet."
Pereira added that, as a scientist, he was "shocked" by the fact that people didn't pay more attention to the vast scientific consensus documenting that human-caused climate change is happening. "A lot of people think that it's still an opinion when it's not," he said.
David HalliganOlivia Rosane
David Halligan (27), Manchester
Halligan, who works at a bank, said that he came to the march "basically because time is running out, and the havoc that climate change is going to wreak is unimaginable in many ways, so we have to make sure we act now."
Dee RiggsOlivia Rosane
Dee Riggs (38), Somerset
Riggs is a full-time mom who had come to London with her children, aged two and five, a day before the protest to fit in a visit to the Natural History Museum.
"I'm here for my children," she said, "marching in the hope of saving their future." She added that the fact of the "Rebellion Day" gave her hope, instilling "a feeling of relief that there might be something we could do after so long."
This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.
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