Portsmouth branch of Extinction Rebellion launches to fight climate change and says: ‘We all need to make a big stand’
‘WE NEED to make a stand for our future and we need to make it now.’
Those are the words from the Portsmouth branch of Extinction Rebellion, a national group set up last year to avert climate change and make councils and the government listen through non-violent resistance.
Alanna Benita, 21, said: ‘It is our future that is going to be affected and I love the world and don’t want to see it go.
‘I want my children to grow up and see the world we did as children and it is now time for us to stand up and make it happen.’
The event held in Somerstown Community Centre last night marked the official launch of the Portsmouth branch as members of the London group came down to give a talk.
Nick Onley and Xavier Hammon ran the session in which they talked about climate change and the group’s intentions and events later this year.
Nick said: ‘I only found out about the group in October because I saw the media coverage of their protests in London.
‘I have been driven mad about climate change since I was a teenager but I have never known what I could do about it until now.’
Extinction Rebellion has made the news previously thanks to their protests which include gluing themselves to buildings and sitting in roads to block off traffic.
The 56-year-old added: ‘I think we all need to make a big stand and I think this is a good way to do it and get inspired by all the other groups across the country.’
Doctor Mark Foster from the University of Portsmouth was one of the first members of the new group.
He said: ‘I don’t want to look back in 20 years and wonder what I could have done to prevent this from happening.
‘We have the last chance now to make a difference and have an impact on our future and the generations to come. I think the non-violent resistance is a good way to achieve that and make people listen.’
The group wants to lobby Portsmouth City Council to declare a climate emergency and pledge to become zero carbon by 2030.
Portsmouth South MP and Charles Dickens ward councillor Stephen Morgan had a statement read out to the audience due to being needed in Parliament but vowed to put down a climate emergency motion at Full Council later this month.
His statement said: ‘We have just seen a February so hot that scientists have been forced to reconsider their statistical models, school children have taken to the streets in protest over climate change and we in Portsmouth have seen a number of breaches to our sea defences in recent years.
‘As a coastal community, Portsmouth faces unique challenges and the importance of addressing climate change as a matter of urgency cannot be underestimated.’
The group has also planned to support the Youth 4 Climate Strike on March 15 in Guildhall Square where school children and young people across the UK are expected to take to the streets to demand government action on climate change.