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‘Social change needed to tackle climate change’

News | Published:

COLLECTIVE SPIRIT with the complete support of government is required urgently to influence climate change, according to protestors on Saturday’s Extinction Rebellion march.

A loose social movement by their own admission, organisers of the march, William Carter, Simon Harvey, Sarah Koulloutas, Camilla Smillie and Rob Gregson want to kick-start social change in the island to tackle climate change.

‘In general, government action is very sluggish. Lots of individuals have been trying to make changes for a long time but we need to move collectively with the support of government and enact real change,’ said Mr Carter.

Mr Harvey added: ‘Our aim is to get the States to declare an environmental emergency.

‘We need every decision taken in government to be decided on its environmental impact as well economically.

‘We need to raise awareness and lobby for systems like citizens assemblies, like those found in Ireland.’

Those marching congregated at La Valette and made their way up through Town by foot and by bicycle, meeting finally in Candie Gardens.

In Candie Gardens, speeches were made by notable figures in the local climate action sphere including Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez and Deputy Barry Brehaut.

Deputy De Sausmarez called for more options for transport, but stressed the community has the power to demand what it wants.

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‘We need to give people more options for their transport.

‘Shorter journeys can be made by bike and foot if people want to.

‘What we have to realise is the most effective way to make changes in your community is for the community to shout about it – this is what happened with the incinerator and we are in a better position because of it,’ she said.

Deputy Brehaut said: ‘I’m not a puritan of green like Lindsay, I am relatively new to this but we need to impart a sense of urgency.

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‘This isn’t a class issue, or geographical, it is bigger than that. It is bigger than everything.’

Protestors were out in their hundreds for the demonstration and the sense of urgency to spread their message was palpable.

Guernsey Bike Group member, Sam Field, said: ‘We have to promote the fact that we need to make changes in the way we live.

‘We cannot continue to live as we do with the same levels of consumption.

‘We have a massive over-reliance of cars and we need to show people it is possible to get about wherever you want to go without a car, especially shorter journeys. 21% of Guernsey’s emissions are CO2, if we could just reduce that by half and demonstrate to the States, then we might actually enable them to act.’

Founding member of Friends of the Earth Guernsey in 1989, Anne Sandwith, said: ‘People should not have to bear the burden any more, we need the government to stop paying lip service and take action.’

Yves Le

By Yves Le
News reporter

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