Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


'One Crisis Doesn't Stop Because Another Starts': 2,000+ Kids' Shoes Form Protest In London

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer

In a protest Monday to call for more ambitious action from the U.K. government to tackle the climate crisis, activists with the group Extinction Rebellion lined up over 2,000 pairs of children's shoes in London's Trafalgar Square and unfurled a banner that read "Covid Today > Climate Tomorrow > Act Now."

The once bustling central London square was nearly deserted during the demonstration due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While climate activists often took to the streets worldwide with their demands before the public health crisis, they have had to move online and get creative to stay safe and comply with coronavirus-related lockdowns and social distancing guidelines.

With the Monday protest, Extinction Rebellion (XR) encouraged the government to address the climate emergency during recovery from the pandemic and to not bail out extractive industries that contribute to global heating. The shoes—donated by London residents, parents, and teachers scared for their kids' future—will be given to the U.K. charity Shoe Aid after the demonstration.

"As a young person during the pandemic, I'm urging the government to be led by the science," Poppy Silk, a 19-year-old member of XR Youth, said in a statement. "We had months to prepare for coronavirus, we've had decades to prepare for the climate crisis, and still not enough is being done."

Silk said that "this has to be the moment at which we learn from our mistakes and take the necessary action to protect not only future generations, but the people living in high polluted cities and those in the global south dying now due to climate change."

"Many young people feel suffocated by fear of what is to come, and now with this pandemic maybe others will start to understand our fear for the future," she added. "This action highlights that, even whilst healing from the pandemic, we must move towards a green transition to prevent future crises."

During the pandemic and resulting economic crisis, climate campaigners across the globe have encouraged governments at all levels and world leaders to #BuildBackBetter with a just, green recovery. In London and other major cities, that has resulted in plans to create miles of "car-free zones" to promote cycling and walking.

The XR statement on Monday highlighted a recent warning from co-founder Bill McKibben that "one crisis doesn't stop because another starts." In a piece for The New Yorker Friday, he wrote about increasing bicycle traffic in parts of the U.K., and efforts in London and others places around the world to limit vehicle traffic and promote greener modes of transportation.

"Those changes of individual habit are important, if we can maintain them. (And they'll make for far nicer cities.)," McKibben wrote. "But the stubbornly high carbon numbers from the lockdown make it clear that we're also going to need institutional and infrastructural change. The economic-recovery plans that nations are now making may offer the best chance we'll ever get at those deep changes. Because the heat isn't pausing—that's what the jaggedly rising curves of the planetary fever make clear."

XR's shoe demonstration was part of its "No Going Back" campaign and followed the group creating pop-up bike lanes around the U.K. over the weekend, pressuring local governments "to help accommodate the boom in cycling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, keep cyclists safe, and as a first step in re-imagining our streets as we emerge from the crisis."

With such actions, XR activists have worn masks and followed social distancing guidelines, according to the group, which launched in 2018. XR has three key demands for governments: declare a climate and ecological emergency; act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025; and create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens' Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

"We're living through one of those rare moments in history when everything can change," Dr. Deepa Shah, a general practitioner from Hackney, said in XR's statement Monday. "British people have shown throughout this crisis how deeply we value our health and well-being."

"There are now multiple paths before us; we could choose to go back to our destructive past, or we could choose a future that gives our children a chance," added Shah. "Coronavirus will end but climate change is here to stay. Governments must act now to secure our future."

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>

Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>

Jelena Gligorijevic: (Un)lawful Lockdown And Government Accountability

As the Government begins to ease the lockdown, serious questions remain about the lawfulness of these extraordinary measures. Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee has indicated it will issue summonses for the production of legal advice about the ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Trans-Tasman Bubble, And The Future Of Airlines

As the epidemiologists keep on saying, a trans-Tasman bubble will require having in place beforehand a robust form of contact tracing, of tourists and locals alike - aided by some kind of phone app along the lines of Singapore’s TraceTogether ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog