While previous climate protests have generally failed to encourage tangible action, the Extinction Rebellion protests recorded their first big win last week. Thanks to pressure from the grassroots environmental group that launched in October of last year, the United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to officially declare a national climate emergency.
Whilst a climate emergency is not a positive thing in and of itself, the UK government’s announcement reflects growing political awareness of climate change and willingness to act. The motion, which was intended to demonstrate the will of parliament to act without legally compelling them to do so, was approved without a vote after being proposed by Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“This is the first step in the government telling the truth about the climate and ecological emergency,” said the Extinction Rebellion group in a statement.
“Pressure on politicians will now increase as nothing but decisive action will suffice.”
The Extinction Rebellion protests took place over 10 days in April this year, with tens of thousands of people committing acts of disobedience including blocking traffic and blockading the offices of multinational oil and gas companies. The collective action directly resulted in two parliamentary debates, which were rounded off this week with the successful climate emergency motion.
Climate change as an issue is rising once more as a policy flash-point and it’s not restricted to the UK. In Australia, the environment has emerged as the number one issue in the ABC’s vote compass and the 2019 Triple J What's Up In Your World survey of young people found climate change was the most important election issue.
- Make your voice heard! If you feel strongly about the need for action on climate change, contact your local political representatives to let them know.
- If you are a business looking into investing in solar power for your workplace, check out the clean energy solutions on offer through Planet Ark Power.
- To stay up to date with the latest in climate science, follow the Climate Council, Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation.
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