It’s been an intense Autumn for the Green Party and environmentalists in general. An Autumn in which the existential threat that faces all of us has come more sharply into focus than ever. But also an Autumn that has seen us dare to hope like never before. It is a season that has given us dark glimpses of the future, but has also seen us march in numbers not seen in years as we protested against Brexit chaos. And a season in which, finally, an open rebellion has been declared against the establishment, and its suicidal “Business As Usual” policies.
And finally, as we approach the season of goodwill, perhaps we have reason to wish each other a “Green Christmas”!
The Autumn began with a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And, as I’m sure you will now be aware, the situation has never been more critical. We have, as a planet, 12 years in which to drastically cut our current emissions in an effort to avoid a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees or more above pre-industrial levels. Even if we stop at this increase we risk devastating heatwaves, superstorms and floods that make islands in the Pacific disappear beneath the waves.
One thing is certain, the Climate Crisis will get worse from here, and it is a sad fact that global carbon emissions increased in 2017 and are set to increase again in 2018.
Hope Dies, Action Begins!
It is with the above, and with other such dramatic statements of intent, that the Extinction Rebellion (XR for short) set about their mission.
The mission began in earnest at the end of October, with a stirring call to action outside the Houses of Parliament. The highway next to Parliament was blocked for 3 hours during this protest, causing several people to be arrested, and this set the pattern for the month that followed. The highlight of this month of action was Rebellion Day on 17th November, which saw 6,000 people from around the country descend upon London.
On this day five of the main bridges in the city (Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Lambeth and Southwark) were blocked by a motley crew of rebels from all age groups, races and faiths (or lack thereof); united in the cause of trying to jolt this government from its state of denial towards this crisis we are in. At the end of Rebellion Day nearly a hundred people had been arrested.
Of all the political parties, XR was embraced most of all by the Green Party. None violent Direct Action is actually part of the ethos of the Greens, because when the establishment is no longer protecting the common good, then the laws and regulations that it has declared become part of the trappings of authority and power that must be challenged by the people.
So far such notables as Caroline Lucas, Jonathan Bartley, Molly Scott Cato, Jenny Jones and Rupert Read have pledged support to XR. And the Ealing Green Party have played their part, up to and including adding to the arrest figures! This is not a course of action that any of us has taken lightly, but we acknowledge that “Business As Usual” has ended, and that the time has come to make a fundamental analysis of this culture of economic growth at all costs.
We know this current system is not good for the planet or its animals; we know this system increases inequality, poverty, homelessness and depression in its people. Is it time to find another way?
The Green Party says yes!
And with policies that include democratic reform and the introduction of a Universal Basic Income, we are already setting forth ideas for what this new world might look like.
Fighting for a People’s Vote
Of course, part of our immediate future is still heading towards withdrawal from the European Union.
But before this drastic step is taken, should the people not be consulted on what this Brexit might look like, and should they not have the choice of ending this course if we think the risk we are taking is too great?
The Green Party says yes!
And so on 20th October, we joined over 600,000 people on the biggest protest march seen in Britain since the days of the Iraq War.
This is an issue that is developing by the hour; but we must do all we can to make the People’s Vote a reality, and, if the worst comes to the worst, then we must fight to get the Greenest Brexit we can get. It is probable that this will never be over.
Finally, as December begins, two bits of fantastic news!
First, with the prompting of Green representatives Caroline Russell and Siân Berry, on 6th December the Greater London Assembly voted to recommend that Mayor Sadiq Khan should agree that we are in a state of climate emergency!
Does this mean that London will finally get true protection for green spaces, traffic reduction, more protected cycle lanes and drastic action on renewable energy that it desperately needs? As yet this is unclear – but at the least, it has to be a shot in the arm for these campaigns.
Don’t forget to sign the petition to Ealing Council. Time to divest your pensions from fossil fuels!
Second, what does all this mean for the membership of the Green Party, including the Ealing Greens?
It means it’s going up!
The new Green surge has begun!
We look forward to seeing you along at one of our new look monthly meetings on the first Thursday of every month.