Says North Dorset Green Party’s Ken Huggins
It’s tricky speaking truth to power. How can citizens who are increasingly concerned about the looming environmental crisis persuade government and industry decision-makers to take the necessary actions to avert disaster?
The challenge was highlighted at a protest outside Dorset Council’s offices on 12th May, seeking to raise awareness of the council’s failure to take adequate action since it had declared a climate and ecological emergency three years ago ago at its first AGM as a unitary authority.
None of the protesters were there for personal gain. They were acting on behalf of all of us. To their credit, some councillors engaged with them as they arrived for the meeting. Notably only a couple of younger
Conservatives did so. The protest was entirely peaceful, albeit theatrical and lively when a drum band struck up. There were various speeches, but they were not heard inside the building. A Conservative councillor in the meeting was reported to have described the protesters as a ‘rabble’ and said she was ‘disgusted’ by them.
Decades of increasingly desperate warnings by scientists have failed to generate the required urgent action. Public protests have so far simply drawn increasingly harsh repressive measures by the Government. There is some hope, with polls indicating that most people are now increasingly concerned about the environment, and growing numbers within industry are too. A safety consultant recently left her job with Shell, sending an open letter to its executives and 1,400 employees saying the firm was knowingly causing extreme harm to planet and people.
Attitudes to the environmental crisis are too often split between the so-called political Left and Right. This is disastrous. Global warming will impact us all, regardless of our political affiliation. We have to find a way to work together for the common good. Our common future depends on it.