Dorking residents were among hundreds of protestors from Extinction Rebellion who blocked roads in the City of London on Monday 14th October to highlight the financial sector’s complicity in accelerating climate breakdown.
The protests closely follow a warning from the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, that corporations which fail to move towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors.
Protestors gathered in the rain outside St Paul’s Cathedral before stepping into the road at 7am to block traffic at Bank junction. Police began making arrests shortly afterwards.
Demonstrators were joined by representatives from a variety of faith groups from the Christian, Jewish and Moslem communities.
Companies targeted by protestors included asset management fund Blackrock, which recent research has shown is one of three money managers – including Vanguard and State Street – that have a combined $300bn fossil fuel investment portfolio, built by using money from people’s private savings and pension contributions.
Climate activists glued themselves to Blackrock’s doors whilst others staged a mock dinner party with rolled up banknotes on their plates.
One placard raised outside the offices read: “When the last tree is dead, the last fish caught and the last river poisoned, you will realise that you cannot eat money.”
The Walkie Talkie Building on Fenchurch Street, which houses some of the UK’s largest insurers, was also targeted with protestors dressed as canaries, glued to the entrance.
Dorking resident David Crawford, 66, a retired engineer, attended the action with his son Guy Crawford, 31, a PHD student.
David said: “I came here today, to the heart of the UK’s financial centre, outside the Bank of England, to bring attention to the fact that the climate and ecological crisis is being funded to the tune of trillions of pounds by British-based companies profiting from ecological disaster and societal collapse around the globe.”
He added: “Major investment banks have provided $700 billion to the fossil fuel sector sice The paris Agreement in 2015. This is madness.”
Referring to the Governor of the Bank of England’s warning, local activist and youth worker Dom Rudd, 61, said:
“I think the corporates know the truth. They know that if they do not make changes they will go bankrupt. I have spoken to two or three bankers here today who say they have made risk assessments and know they have to change.
“And I think the big corporations can make those changes in a way that governments have failed to do so far because they can look at the long term. So, if we can bring these corporations onboard we can drive change.
“We need to change the system and the best way to do that is from within the system.”
He added: “None of us can hide away from the truth any longer. I did for 30 years but now I have grandchildren and I look at them and know this is going to hurt them and hurt all of us if we don’t act. We must act now.”
Notes to editors
About Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion came to public prominence in 2018, after a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that immediate, deep cuts in carbon emissions and radical infrastructure changes are needed for even a 50–66% chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.1 The group blocked bridges in London in late 2018, before a major protest action that lasted more than a week in April pushed climate change up the political agenda and persuaded Parliament to declare a Climate Emergency. However, there has been little Government action since then, and global carbon emissions and rates of ecosystem destruction have continued to rise unabated. Subsequent reports by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services2 and a key UN Science Advisory Group3 have confirmed that humanity is on track for an unprecedented global climate and ecological disaster.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
What is a Citizen’s Assembly?
Citizens’ Assemblies involve informed, non-partisan deliberation by a representative set of citizens selected at random. Proponents 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.”
- In the UK, come to one of our events, or join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Find your local group, or start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.