Marching, chanting with the environment in mind


United voices: Extinction Rebellion members make themselves heard in Rosebud shopping centre. Picture: Yanni

SOUNDS of chanting and drumming coming from Rosebud shopping centre last week were orchestrated by one of the many pro-environment groups making up Extinction Rebellion Victoria.

Organiser Kate Wilkins said the local response to the Thursday afternoon disruption was interesting: “We were mostly cheered, congratulated and thanked by onlookers – surprisingly by a lot of the elderly shoppers,” she said.

The retailers’ response was mixed: “Woolworths ran us out quick smart, while Aldi was hospitable and quite unconcerned.”

Ms Wilkins agreed it “probably seems like there are so many environment stories and so much climate-related news” these days.

“This will only increase,” she said.

“Extinction Rebellion members find it hard to see how there really can be any more important news than this existential threat of utter environmental degradation and destruction of the ecological systems our very life depends on.”

The group acknowledges the dedication of so many people in preserving and protecting the environment. “The problem is, nothing has worked,” Ms Wilkins said.

“After many hard years of campaigning, we are in a worse state than ever before and are rapidly taking the world to the brink of a no-return scenario.”

Setting itself on a collision course with mainstream society, Extinction Rebellion says it will use non-violent civil disobedience to get its point across. A Spring Uprising, with traffic disruptions and blockading in the Melbourne CBD from 7 October will no doubt put many commuters offside.

“The disruptions will be creative and colourful and absolutely non-violent,” Ms Wilkins said.

“We must halt ‘business as usual’ in order to indicate to governments and power elites that we won’t allow this to go on.

“We simply cannot let them destroy the future for generations to come. To allow that would be to fail humanity in the most profound way.”

The group wants the federal government to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2025 – “2050 is way too late”. It wants the decision-making process given to citizens’ assemblies that are “not pressured by giant lobbies and this vital issue moved beyond partisan politicking”.

Ms Wilkins said: “I’m a grandmother of two beautiful boys and I’ve come to the point – after crying so many tears – of understanding that the most I can love them is to stand against this criminal robbing of their future security and rights in an environment fit for healthy living.

“All the people in this group are united by their passion for this beautiful world and all that lives in it and we will keep working until we achieve our goal of halting this disastrous course we have taken.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 17 September 2019


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