The Big One (London protest weekend)


The Big One: April 2023

In April, Extinction Rebellion led on a peaceful 4 day protest gathering, urging the government to do more to address climate change and nature depletion. Many other campaign groups joined in, including Friends of the Earth at national level. 

Travelling down for the Friday's day of events, Sheffield Friends of the Earth first joined with many campaigners from across South Yorkshire at the People's Picket outside the Department of Transport with a specific local call for Better Buses for South Yorkshire. Other campaign groups gathering there included those calling for a frequent flyer tax and for no more new roads.  

Moving on to the People's Picket outside the Department for Energy, we joined campaigners from the Stop Burning Trees coalition, with a focus on the shocking business at Drax power station in Yorkshire burns trees torn from virgin forest in places like Canada. Latvia and the southern US to burn for the UK's electricity. This shocking practice, supported by £millions of UK government subsidy, is causing untold damage to the environment where the trees are cut down, damage to the health of the workers involved in turning these into wood chip and then damage to the climate through the carbon released when the wood is burnt. Crazy!

Our final stop was to join with other FoE groups outside the Department for Business & Trade to protest against the Energy Charter Treaty which would enable businesses, through corporate courts, to block climate action and hold nations - and citizens - hostage to the worst of climate change.  'Unsexy' but incredibly important - and we were pleased to be standing with Global Justice on this issue. 

The rain dried up for the afternoon when perhaps 30,000 participants moved peacefully through central London, with the support of the police, to a rally outside Parliament.  Despite the seriousness with which all participants view the climate and nature crisis, the event was joyous and uplifting as we took strength from the numbers.  Humour was in the mix too - a necessary element when someone throwing a bit of children's orange powder paint on a snooker table in Sheffield made bigger headlines than the protest in London. 😞