In recent years, environmental activists in the UK have been making headlines with their bold protests calling for immediate action on climate change. Groups like Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future have taken to the streets, blockading roads and occupying public spaces in order to draw attention to the urgent need for change.
One of the newer groups to emerge is called Just Stop Oil, and they are driven by a sense of urgency in the face of the devastating impacts of climate change. They argue that the current pace of action is not enough to address the scale of the crisis, and are calling on governments and corporations to take drastic steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a more sustainable economy.
While their tactics have caused inconvenience and frustration for some members of the public, environmental protestors have been successful in raising awareness and putting pressure on governments and businesses to take action. In fact, their efforts have resulted in concrete policy changes, such as the UK’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Despite criticisms that they are not providing specific solutions, or disrupting important economic and social systems, environmental protestors continue to be a powerful force in the fight against climate change. As the effects of the crisis become more apparent, it is clear that their message is resonating with the public and driving real change.
An Eco-Activist Group Making Headlines
The eco-activist group, Just Stop Oil, has been causing major disruptions and delays in recent months, as they take a bold stand against current fuel and energy plans. The group has made headlines for their attention-grabbing tactics, including blocking the M25 and occupying the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge for a whopping 36 hours, effectively stopping all traffic from crossing. Their goal is to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues and push for change.
Currently staging a two-week-long protest in London that started on November 28, the group’s actions have included peaceful walks along Shepherd’s Bush Green in West London, as well as blocking traffic in Aldwych, central London. So, who is behind Just Stop Oil and what are they fighting for? Here’s everything you need to know about this passionate and dedicated group of activists.
How It All Started
Just Stop Oil formed in the wake of the Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain movements, with organizers from these groups joining forces to create a collective of protesters who have taken part in a range of direct action, including street protests, disruptions at oil terminals, and even football pitch invasions.
In their quest to raise awareness about environmental issues, Just Stop Oil has employed attention-grabbing tactics like spray painting buildings in London and throwing tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflower painting at the National Gallery. However, their methods have not been without controversy, as some members of the public have criticised the group for causing delays and inconveniences.
Despite the backlash, some believe that a “joint approach” is needed to address the issues that Just Stop Oil is raising. Allan Jones has called for collaboration between the Metropolitan Police and the government to work towards a resolution with the group’s protests. Whether or not Just Stop Oil’s tactics are effective in the long run, it is clear that their message is resonating with a growing number of people who are demanding urgent action to combat climate change.
Pushing for Government Change
Just Stop Oil believes that the UK government’s policy of allowing new oil and gas extraction is putting the future of humanity at risk and condemning children to oblivion. They argue that the government’s support for fossil fuels through subsidies and tax breaks is counterproductive and that we need to transition to a low-energy and low-carbon world.
To achieve this, Just Stop Oil advocates for massive investment in clean technology, renewables, and energy storage, as well as cutting energy demand through insulation and free public transport. They warn that failure to take action will lead to social collapse and the end of human rights. Just Stop Oil believes it’s time for resistance and action to address climate collapse.
According to the group’s website, Just Stop Oil’s funding primarily comes from the Climate Emergency Fund, which supports climate activists around the world. The group can also receive donations from members of the public.
Just Stop Oil is known for its attention-grabbing tactics, such as attacking famous artworks in museums. They have targeted Horatio McCulloch’s My Heart’s in the Highlands at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Vincent van Gogh’s Peach Trees in Blossom at the Courtauld Institute in London, J M W Turner’s Tomson’s Aeolian Harp at the Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester, John Constable’s The Hay Wain at the National Gallery in London, and Giampietrino’s The Last Supper at the Royal Academy in London.
In a statement, the group explained that they chose these paintings to highlight issues such as the highland clearances, flood-risk mapping, and the impact of oil and gas projects on future generations. They also threw tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery during Frieze London, with two activists glueing themselves to the floor beneath the painting. Despite several arrests made in relation to the protests, the paintings remained unharmed.
Protests on the Pitch
A Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United was brought to a halt for eight minutes when an activist from the anti-government group, Just Stop Oil, tied himself to the goalpost with a ‘Stop Oil’ t-shirt on. The protester, named ‘Louis’, caused referee Craig Pawson to stop the game in the 57th minute. The group later took responsibility for the demonstration on social media, stating that they are protesting against the government funding new oil fields in the North Sea, which they claim will lead to destruction of the environment and future generations.
The group urged people to take action and not stand by while the government continues to betray its citizens. The demonstration follows another protester, Kai, who did the same during Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal the day before. Just Stop Oil explained that they had to resort to extreme measures to get their message heard, as no one was listening otherwise. The protest was met with mixed reactions, with some fans expressing their anger while others showed support for the cause. The protesters were eventually removed from the field with the help of security, including a fan who tried to intervene. The incident has sparked debate on the effectiveness of such protests and the government’s role in addressing climate change.
“Hurtling towards the breakdown of civil society…”
Just Stop Oil remains steadfast in their mission to disrupt the status quo of climate inaction. In a recent statement, the activist group declared their commitment to civil resistance in the face of increasingly severe climate impacts. “We are hurtling towards the breakdown of civil society as we know it, with extreme weather affecting millions and our country unrecognizable,” the statement read.
The group acknowledged the need to move beyond disobedience and towards civil resistance, a tactic that they say frontline workers like nurses and paramedics have already embraced in the fight against harm caused by climate change. As long as there remains a disconnect between environmental activists and the government, it is likely that society will continue to face disruption in the pursuit of a sustainable future.