Next Monday, climate activists from Banbury and surrounding villages will travel to London to take part in what is expected to be one of the biggest act of non-violent civil disobedience seen in the UK.
The Banbury branch of Extinction Rebellion is joining the worldwide group’s two-week protest to take place at several sites in London designed to force action to address the climate and ecosystem crisis facing the planet.
Similar action is planned in cities worldwide as concern mounts about global inaction on climate change and ecological collapse.
This week the group have been in preparation for the protest, taking part in Non-Violent Direct Action training, and printing XR logos on clothing and bunting.
It follows many Bnbury XR members participation in last week’s climate march in Oxford.
One who was there, Maria Huff, said: “This is an emotional time for me, facing up to a climate emergency.
“Sometimes the reality of the science gets through the humdrum routine of my life, and it really hits home that we have an urgent and terrifying problem to deal with.”
Banbury’s activists will be based at a site on or near Whitehall, where they will be focusing on Extinction Rebellion’s ‘third demand’ for a binding Citizens’ Assembly on action to bring about the emissions reductions and ecosystem restoration necessary to address the crisis.
Citizens’ Assemblies involve informed, non-partisan deliberation by a representative set of citizens selected at random, in the same way as juries are selected. Advocates believe that they help democracies to avoid the pressures of party politics and lobbying by powerful corporations and interests.
An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: “The climate and ecosystem emergency is too important to be left to party politics.
“A Citizens’ Assembly would help our country to identify fair, effective policies by means of decision processes that are representative and thoughtful.
“Our politicians should welcome this way of addressing the threat to everyone’s future without getting side-tracked by party politics and special interests.”
Many activists from Banbury have indicated a willingness to be arrested.
Banbury XR group member Jane Rodgers, in her sixties, said: “I have two young grandchildren. What sort of a world are we leaving to the young?
“Floods, droughts, food shortages, millions of climate refugees - I just feel as if it’s really time to stand up and be counted, now, and to say we need to change the way we live on this planet.”
The Whitehall site will welcome activists from across the South-East, with many planning to camp.
Others are heading to London to help in other ways, such as providing food, holding placards, or simply adding numbers to the crowd, but are not planning to be arrested.
“You don’t need to be part of Extinction Rebellion already to come along and make your voice heard,” said Ben Kenward, one of the Whitehall site coordinators.
He added: “Everyone and every contribution is welcome.”
For more information visit the Banbury XR Facebook page.