Climate activists ready for arrest

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TWO groups operating on the Mornington Peninsula are part of a global movement seeking government action to counter climate change.

XR Westernport and XR Mornington are part of the British-based Extinction Rebellion movement that has a “core strategy” of “mass disruption of city centres through nonviolent civil disobedience”.

Along with XR Frankston, the two peninsula-based branches are among 66 similar groups throughout Australia.

Murray Lindsell Turner said people who joined XR Westernport at a meeting in Balnarring Hall on Tuesday 14 January were “willing to be arrested” at future demonstrations.

He said the inaugural meeting included school teachers, former politicians, Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors and small business leaders “all seeking clarity and wanting change on climate policy”.

Jack Clarke, of XR Mornington spoke about the science and effects of climate change. 

“Those attending the meeting represent a broad range of community members all keen to get a better understanding on the science and how Extinction Rebellion operates,” Mr Turner said.

“The level of discontent about both political parties’ efforts towards climate change was apparent, and the mood of people power with a considered, measured response to world climate change policy at a local level.”

Mr Turner said the meeting discussed the need for an “immediate response to climate change and the extinction of flora and fauna” and “the real possibilities of world population and resources management in a stressed environmental-depleted system”.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) describes itself as “a peaceful movement of civil disobedience that seeks urgent action to prevent the worst of climate change”.

“We are about political change not personal change – though we welcome the latter. We act in full public view and we take responsibility for our actions,” the movement’s website states.

“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.”

With its “Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies”, Extinction Rebellion says it wants to mobilise 3.5 per cent of the population to create “a world that is fit for generations to come”.

This includes “breaking down hierarchies of power” while seeing the use of “non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change”.

First published in the Frankston Times – 28 January 2020

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