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‘I refuse to leave a barren and broken world for my beautiful grandchildren’

The Extinction Rebellion’s global climate protest has made headline news – with members of the public (including many Christian campaigners) taking non-violent direct action in capital cities around the world.

In London, large scale road blocks have been underway for three days at five key places around the capital – Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square. These areas have been transformed into festival sites with dramatic art installations and public protest performances.

A core group of individuals involved in establishing the Marble Arch site were members of Christian Climate Action, who are part of the Extinction Rebellion. Some of the group arrived at the Marble Arch site via lorry – guided by a series of road blocks from other Extinction Rebellion members.

The lorry was parked up by to the side of Marble Arch green and members of Christian Climate Action then attached themselves to the lorry, so that it could not be removed by police. This included 77-year-old Rev Sue Parfitt, 80-year-old Sheila Collins (pictured above) and 72-year-old Genny Scherer, who locked themselves to the underneath of the lorry with metal chains.

As protest crowds gathered, the lorry was transformed into a solar-powered stage, equipped with sound systems and music equipment. Today (17 April) at 6pm, singer Paloma Faith is set to perform to crowds of protestors from the stage, demonstrating her support for the rebellion.

Mrs Collins, a devout Catholic and retired teacher from Cardiff was one of the Christians locked on to the bottom of the lorry to prevent it from being removed. “I’m probably a bit old to have heard of Paloma Faith but if this will bring attention to the issue of climate change then I’m all for it” she said.

“Climate change terrifies me. People keep telling me the risks for someone of my age getting involved in non-violent direct action, but when I think of the risks of not taking action – it’s a no-brainer. I refuse to leave a barren and broken world for my beautiful grandchildren, they deserve so much more.”

Another CCA member, Michelle Barnes, from North West London, said: “Climate breakdown and its extreme weather caused by our burning of fossil fuels is already causing the death and suffering of millions of people around the world. Jesus rebelled against the authorities who failed to act for the poor and vulnerable, and so must we. God calls me to rebel against this government which has so far refused to take sufficient action in response to the truth of climate change.”

Earlier this week the group received the backing of former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who said Christian Climate Action was responding to the scale of our environmental crisis.

He said: “Christians are called by God to show to the world what the divine image looks like – the image of a divine creator who brought the world to birth, called it good, and summoned human beings to reflect this divine care and delight through their own work in the world, animated by the gift of Christ's Spirit. Christian Climate Action seeks to respond to that summons; in the face of impending environmental crisis, we need to encourage one another to grow more fully into the joyful responsibility we are made for.”

Photo: by Holly-Anna Petersen / Christian Climate Action

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