The picturesque town of Wallingford has become the unlikely launch pad for Just Stop Oil in Oxfordshire, a protest group led by Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam.
Activists are calling on the government to stop issuing fossil fuel licenses for new oil extractions. If no commitment is made, actions of civil resistance will be announced.
They plan to block oil refineries, highways and occupy gas station forecourts in protest against fossil fuel production.
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The Wallingford meeting, which took place last week at Center 70, drew a crowd of 50. According to the organizer, Sarah Webb, it was a success as 80% of participants joined the campaign.
Just Stop Oil has been running a major recruitment campaign in recent weeks. The group’s strategy is to form regional groups and recruitment teams to hold more than 20 meetings per week.
Its promotion through leaflets throughout the city angered locals who felt it was a “crass” approach.
Regarding the climate emergency and Just Stop Oil ‘civil resistance’ methods, Zoologist and District Councilor Dr Sue Roberts said: ‘We don’t want to disrupt normal people’s lives. We are normal people!
“We certainly don’t want to hang around oil refineries and get arrested. But what else can we do? Why is the government increasing oil production when we need to reduce it? We are already getting breadbasket failures in the wheat growing regions of the world. And it affects us. In Wallingford we are in the most heat stressed part of the UK, with the same amount of water per person as Tunisia. Food and water shortages aren’t going to be fun.
She added: “The government is not helping us. Our district council received no instructions and no money to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
“We need help insulating our homes and reducing our fuel bills. Instead, the government is forcing us to increase carbon dioxide emissions. We are made to build useless housing, against the will of the inhabitants. 100 tons of CO2 are emitted in the construction of each new house alone. It would take 5,000 mature trees per year to absorb this amount of greenhouse gases”.
Sarah Webb, who works as a special educational needs tutor for young children, said: “I live in Wallingford and am part of the community. I know people care about these issues.
“Ordinary people care about the climate emergency. [This meeting] was meant to empower and help people do something about it. rather than worrying about it. »
Wallingford activists have been invited to attend a second meeting which will take place on February 14.
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