Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Marnie Johnson with her 4 month old granddaughter

XR rebel pleads mitigating circumstances

Last autumn, a Hastings grandmother was arrested in London during XR’s October Rebellion – a fortnight of direct action in London. Last Friday, over a year later, Marnie Johnson’s court case was finally held. She was allowed to read out a statement supporting her action:

“I decided to enter a plea of guilty to the charge of obstruction, because the truth is that I did sit down in the road, knowing the consequences of my action. I did it because I want the government and industries and us as individuals to also tell the truth about climate change, to admit the consequences of our actions on the planet that we live on and are part of and to do something about it.

“I sat down in the road because I believed that I was doing so to prevent a far worse crime, that of destroying this planet. I, and many others, have tried to draw attention to the climate emergency by legal means, by writing to my MP, by signing petitions, by participating in demonstrations. But nothing seems to change. Government after government pays lip service to doing something about climate change but precious little seems to happen.

“We have destroyed the natural habitat of much of our wildlife. We are tearing down ancient woodland – trees that use up carbon, so that people can get to London 20 minutes faster. We are filling the oceans with plastic. We are burning up fossil fuels in ever bigger and faster cars. We are using up the earth’s precious resources without a care for the future of our children and the planet. 2050 is too late to reverse the damage. It may already be too late. We need to act now.

“I sat down in the road to draw attention to the need to do something before it’s too late. If climate change got a fraction of the attention that has been given to COVID, if the press and the government treated it as the crisis that it is, then I wouldn’t have needed to sit down in the road. Covid has proved that if the attention and the will are there, then things can change dramatically.

“I have two daughters and three grandchildren, two of them recently arrived in this world. One of them is four months old and loves looking at the dappled light through the trees. I worry that there won’t be any when she grows up. I want them to grow up in a world where we respect the planet and all who inhabit it. I want them to live in a world where food is plentiful because we have not destroyed the soil and the heat is not destroying crops. I want them to live in a world where millions are not dying because of food shortages and extreme weather cycles, caused by global warming.

“I want to be able to look my children and grandchildren in the eye and say that I did what I could to draw attention to the climate emergency, even if it meant breaking the law by sitting in the road and that hopefully it had some effect.”

Marnie Johnson was given a six month conditional discharge and court costs of £106.00. The judge was supportive of her action and said “Science is behind XR”.

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Posted 21:03 Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 In: Campaigns

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