What next for the #EndSARS movement?

Demonstrators pictured resting at protest site in Nigeria (Picture taken from Twitter, @_SavvyRinu_)

The Nigerian President has called for protesters to stop their peaceful demonstrations in his address to the nation on Thursday but avoided the mention of the lethal shootings that took place earlier this week.

Saying that the youths’ “voice have been heard”, President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged the five demands made by young Nigerians who have been protesting the excessive use of police force over the past two weeks but did not agree to an investigation into the killings.

The demonstrations emerged as young Nigerians challenged SARS, the country’s ex-Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was established in 1992 as a police unit to tackle rising violent crime.

After years of attempted reform and numerous reports highlighting allegations of abuse and extrajudicial killings directed towards citizens, the President’s office announced the disbandment of the unit in mid-October this year.

Despite the disbandment of the force, many Nigerians do not believe that the actions go far enough and are demanding further systemic reform.

On Tuesday, protesters were peacefully demonstrating at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in the country’s southern capital, Lagos despite the imposition of a 24-hour curfew. Protesters were subsequently shot at by Nigerian security forces, resulting in the death of 12 people according to a report by Amnesty International.  

The Nigerian army have denied this allegation.

Members of the international community including the UN Secretary General, António Guterres and British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab have denounced the actions and are calling for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

#EndSARS has been hijacked

Since the incident, Nigerian news sources claim that “hoodlums” have now taken advantage of the unrest in the country’s capital in what some have deemed “a hijacking” of the #ENDSARS campaign.

A Nigerian journalist who has asked to remain anonymous for his safety described the development as a move “from protest to anarchy” after the “hooligans” were seen on social media looting private property, damaging infrastructure and setting fire to shops and vehicles.

The counter-protesters whom he said were “imported” to cities from neighbouring states, have been paid by politicians and transported around the country by the State Security Service to incept and terrorize anti-SARS protesters, with some wielding knives and firearms, he said.

“The counter – protesters have been misinformed and told that anti-SARS demonstrators are trying to overthrow the President. Some of them have not even heard of SARS or know what it stands for”, the journalist said.

The State Security Service were not immediately available for comment on these claims.

International Support

The protest movement has extended to other nations including Germany, Canada and the U.S. with several more demonstrations expected across the UK this weekend.

Protests in Birmingham, Luton and Southampton will be held on Saturday (October 24) with additional movements planned in Reading and Glasgow on Sunday (October 25) according to the EndSars UK Instagram Instagram account.

Anti-lockdown protests: A global fight for liberty or a menagerie of ill-informed activism? Whatever it is, it’s not all about Miss Rona.

Demonstrators at Open New Jersey Protest, photo provided by Ayla Wolf

“Personally, I see the correlation to Nazi Germany with this thing and it scares the living heck out of me. The reason Government feels that it has to take care of the people and has to order them to do things is because they believe we’re too stupid to do it ourselves. The idea that citizens can’t protect themselves is the problem there.”

From his home in Illinois, Josh Ellis, local business owner and founder of the online campaign group, American Revolution 2.0, vents his frustration about the U.S. government’s “unconstitutional” response to managing the Covid-19 crisis. He is calling on state leaders to end the lockdown and has created various groups to help realise this goal. Before it was unexpectedly shut down by Facebook, Ellis claims that his American Revolution 2.0 Facebook page attracted thousands of followers within days. “The Facebook shutdown actually doubled or tripled our numbers across the board”, says Ellis. “It gave us extra time to grow.”

Is this a fight for liberty…?

Beyond the concerns of economic insecurity, are those who are calling for a repeal of lockdown conditions based on a desire to uphold the law and have civil liberties respected.

In the U.S., Ellis decries the actions of state officials and expresses a strong condemnation for the “powerful” Democrat governors who have imposed lockdown measures with various executive ‘stay-at-home’ orders. Angered, Ellis emphasises that “you don’t want centralised power; you want the power in the hands of the people. They are supposed to be the most powerful.” 

The ‘Reopen America’ movement is rapidly gaining traction among its sympathisers. There is a burgeoning online presence from the movement, which is receiving endorsements, from various notable right-wing political figures including political commentator, Candace Owens, congressional candidate for California, DeAnna Lorraine and of course, the President himself. “Liberate Michigan, liberate Minnesota, liberate Virginia and save your great 2ndAmendment. It is under siege!”. Trump tweeted in mid-April.  

New Jersey mum and avid online activist, Ayla Wolf was charged with disorderly conduct after attending an Open New Jersey protest in May. She was served with a summons and is now facing six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. 

“I have two sons; I have a daughter and I don’t want them to grow up in a world where our freedoms have been taken and that’s the new normal for them. Our governors are trying to prolong the lockdown as long as possible. They’re ruling with tyranny. People aren’t allowed to go out and work. Their businesses are closed and they’re not receiving the money or the aid that’s being given. A lot of people in New Jersey are 14 weeks out without a pay cheque and yet legally they’re not allowed to work. So, they’re going to foodbanks. People are losing businesses that they spent decades building. The banks are just going to scoop them up and they can no longer open even when the shutdown is over. So, I see the suffering.” 

Ms Wolf as she speaks at protest, photo provided by Ayla Wolf

Wolf later explained that in spite of the resistance she would not stop fighting for her beliefs. She says that although she has been charged criminally for organising protests and continually harassed by the police, it only strengthens her resolve to fight harder. “I’m not out there spreading Covid-19, I’m out there spreading courage and courage is contagious”, says Wolf. 

In Britain on the other hand, reactions have been somewhat muted. However, more rebellious actions have been emerging. Just recently there were anti-lockdown protests which saw Piers Corbyn –brother of ex-Labour leader, Jeremey Corbyn – arrested in Hyde Park this month after refusing to leave the protest or give his personal details.

The protests in the UK are reported to have been coordinated by the group, UK Freedom Movement who are planning similar events in Leicester, Manchester and Southampton. But despite that, over here things seem to have taken up a slightly less belligerent tone overall compared to the U.S. According to Psychologist Stephen Reicher, it’s to do with ideological factors. Reicher says that the two countries’ attitudes (referring to the USA and UK) toward the state differ greatly. “The US was born in a revolution against the central state –it was born out of a suspicion of state power and it was organised very strongly to avoid too much centralised power.” He says, “Britain does not have an anti-state revolutionary tradition in the way that […] countries born out of anti-colonial revolutions have […] In Europe (including the UK), the state on the whole is seen as reasonably progressive and redistributive. In the States it’s seen as tyrannical.”

Protesters in Hyde Park, Photo from Sky News.com

It should be mentioned however, that despite the copious amount of media coverage in the United States, protests are actually only being undertaken by a minority of citizens. According to a survey released by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press – NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research, only 31% of Americans actually approve of anti-quarantine protests. Of that percentage, the majority are Republican Party voters. But perhaps contrary to what one would think, a large proportion of the Republican electorate are also dubious about the demonstrations, with 51% of Republican voters disapproving of the protests. 67% of Democrat voters think the same way. Polarity within parties is a clear conclusion.

In spite of this, protests are set to continue with new movements being organised from state to state on a daily basis. However, counteraction is also being taken up, particularly by those healthcare workers whom themselves are against the Open America movement. A viral video of two uniformed nurses silently standing to obstruct an autocade at an anti-lockdown rally in Denver, Colorado, became an internet sensation a month ago.  “It really feels like a slap in the face to medical workers” said Alexis, one Colorado-based nurse who opposes the anti-lockdown movement. 

…or is it a conspiracy?

But then, what would the coronavirus be without the C-word attached to it? Coronavirus conspiracy; even the words themselves complement each other. The proliferation of insanely outlandish conspiracy theories has truly made its mark in this crisis.

A study by the University of Oxford released on 23rd of May, showed that more than a fifth of people in England believe that the coronavirus is a hoax.  

Varying theories have emerged. From Bill Gates being behind a plan for global implementation of micro-chipping vaccines to the beliefs that Covid-19 was a bioweapon developed by China to destroy the West; the speculative hypotheses are numerous and wide-ranging. 

What is concerning in the minds of many, is that those who believe in such theories are in fact less likely to adhere to Covid-19 measures. 

“Our study indicates that coronavirus conspiracy beliefs matter.” Said Daniel Freeman, consultant clinical psychologist at Oxford Health NHS Foundation. 

“Those who believe in conspiracy theories are less likely to follow government guidance, for example, staying at home, not meeting with people outside their household, or staying two metres apart from other people when outside. Those who believe in conspiracy theories also say that they are less likely to accept a vaccination, take a diagnostic test, or wear a face mask.”

Dr Gordon Pennycook, Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Regina explains why some people are “just better” at untangling the fact from fiction. As pointed out in Pennycook’s co-authored paper, ‘Predictors of attitudes of misperceptions about Covid-19 in Canada, the UK and the USA’, it comes down to something called ‘cognitive sophistication’ which is basically the quality of a person’s reasoning.  

One of the measures contributing to people’s level of cognitive sophistication is something called, “bullshit receptivity” and yes, you read it correctly. Pennycook explains how people’s receptivity to “pseudo-profound bullshit” is an even stronger indicator than political ideology saying that “not all reasoning is politically motivated.”

He outlines one of his investigative studies and demonstrates how cognitive sophistication is taken into account when looking at people’s likeliness to have misconceptions and thus believe in conspiracy theories.  

“We take, abstract buzzwords and put them together randomly into a sentence. The sentence would be something like, ‘hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty’. The sentence has a syntactic structure, so it sounds like it means something, but really, it’s just a random sentence. We asked people to rate how profound the sentences were. We found that the more profound participants thought the sentences were, the more receptive they were to bullshit. The correlations of the study showed that people who are more sophisticated cognitively have lower misconceptions.”

It’s not just the cranky Karens and tinfoil hat Toms

Among the average protestors, lies an insidious undercurrent of far-right advocacy that is taking place rather opportunistically. Right-wing groups like the AfD and COMPACT in Germany for example, are using the protests for their own benefits and in many cases are calling for the number of protests to expand.  

“They’re looking for ways to latch on to any kind of mainstream elements that can help further their narratives about racism, xenophobia and immigration. The anti-lockdown protests are a magnet because they represent so many different things that dovetail so nicely with the pre-existing trends of right-wing and white supremacist extremism”, says Peter Simi, professor sociology at Chapman University. 

Dr Lamprini Rori, lecturer in politics at the University of Exeter also points out however, that the pandemic has in fact marginalised the far-right. On the whole, public opinion has been to respect the rules of confinement and lockdown. Given the closure of borders and various limits to “cross-border circulation”, Rori explains that to some degree national governments have in a sense “hijacked” the far-right narrative and consequently caused populists to lose support.

As a reaction, Rori says that far-right groups have “mobilised conspiracy theories in order to deconstruct the consensus over the management of the pandemic” and presented the pandemics “as an excuse to shrink freedoms and impose obedience.” In this way, the far-right try to (and always have) “capitalize from discontent linked to crises” with an aim of canalising “insecure voters towards the far-right narrative.” 

Moreover, Dr Rori also makes a point of reminding people that every party and “political actor is trying to gain leverage within the context of the pandemic”; not just the far-right. The current crisis proves “a big opportunity for mainstream political actors, like the EU, to revive their legitimacy and popularity” as well.

That which can be gathered from all of this anti-lockdown action, is that the feelings and motivations involved are certainly not all about the coronavirus or lockdown itself. With various facets and explanations behind the protests, it is clear that Covid-19 has in fact brought about a desire and drive to highlight the societal issues and concerns afflicting so many. However long these protests last, what can be deduced is that the matters that they have raised, will continue to remain a point of contention even after the pandemic has passed and will perhaps even become that more prominent with time.

The Story of an Essential Worker amid the Covid-19 Crisis

This is Shirley.

Shirley Wiggins is a security officer working in central London. Before the coronavirus pandemic, she didn’t necessarily see her job as ‘essential’ but in progressing through the Covid-19 crisis, she has learned to see her work and that of others in a different way.

Shirley talks about the importance of thinking differently after Covid and explains from her perspective, the changes that the world needs to make for a sustainable future. This is her story.

See her story below:

Darnell Responds Podcast Launch – 21st Feb 2020

This is Darnell Responds, the new podcast hosted by me, Darnell Christie. 

Discussing and digging into the latest stories from around the world surrounding news and other topical debate with my own personal take.

 With episodes released every two weeks there’ll surely be something for everyone. 

Don’t forget to tune in from 21st of February to be sure not to miss the debut episode.  See you there!

Listen on:

Buzzsprout (My Podcast host site):



Darnell Responds Available on Spotify

Empowering communities through climate action Darnell Responds

In this episode, we speak to climate justice activist, Suzanne Dhaliwal, looking at the importance of decolonisation within the climate movement. Then, founder of Kenyan NGO, Agnes Leina talks on the empowerment of women to address drought. And young Ugandan activist, Mulindwa Moses demonstrates the power of youth in the climate battle.
  1. Empowering communities through climate action
  2. Racism and goals for the advancement of the Black community
  3. What has COVID-19 taught us about tackling climate change?

Venezuelan Migrant Crisis: How is Colombia managing?

Amid the Venezuelan migrant crisis, millions of people continue to leave Venezuela in search of a better life with more opportunities abroad. The numbers of Venezuelans leaving the country is continuing to grow. But how is the abundant flow of migrants affecting the countries to which they arrive?

Darnell Christie travels to Colombia – Venezuela’s closest neighbour – to find out how the country is managing with the shear amount of migrants entering the country and the affect the crisis is having on both Venezuelan and Colombian citizens alike. 

Darnell interviewing Venezuelan migrants in Medellín, Colombia

See the short video report to find out more (Link below)

Video Report on Venezuelan Migrant Crisis

Fires in the Amazon continue to rage –and did you even realise?

Picture taken from CNN.com

For the past three weeks large forest fires have been raging throughout the Amazon rainforest in South America and yet, there are still many who don’t even know what’s happening.

More than 2,500 fires are currently active and devastating thousands of hectors of age-old rainforest. Many of the fires are naturally occurring, though the intensity of the blazes have been perpetuated by the increasing rate of deforestation caused by illegal logging, land clearing and the intentional slashing and burning of the land for cattle ranching and agriculture.

So far not much has been done. Until a couple days ago, a lacking media coverage and government intervention stunned those aware of the unfolding events. Some claimed that powers at be were allowing the world’s largest rainforest, “the lungs of the Earth” to continue to burn itself alive for invested economic interests.

Across social media, individuals are outraged by the lack of thought being put to resolving the issue. Many have compared the events to the burning of the Parisian cathedral, Notre Dam earlier this year stating that, “when the Notre Dame was burning, the world’s media covered every moment of it and billionaires rushed to restore it. Right now the Amazon is burning…No media coverage. No billionaires.” An emerging international outcry is beginning with the continual circulation of the hashtag #prayforamazonia as people begin to realise the devastation currently unfolding in the region.

“An international crisis” said the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Until earlier today, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro had claimed that non-governmental organisations had started the fires to make him look bad, although he later admitted to having no evidence for his claim. He also added that the media reports on the events were ‘exaggerating’ and that the spreading of disinformation has led to a misunderstanding of the intensity of the fires in the region. He has said, “forest fires exist in the whole world and this cannot serve as a pretext for possible international sanctions.”

However, with the forest fire smoke being made visible from space, it’s hard to believe that the extent of the burning is merely an ‘exaggeration’.

Picture taken from Seeker.com

Indigenous community throughout the many regions of the Amazon have had their ways of life and livelihoods decimated. A short video circulating on social media from Russia Today pictures a tribal woman emphatically pleading as she explains how corporations having been intentionally burning parts of the forest in order to clear the land for farming. The woman cries as she explains how the Indigenous community have been trying to nurture the area despite the disruption received from the corporations.

This isn’t a new threat to the Amazon however, constant deforestation and threats against indigenous communities regarding land rights have been an ongoing occurrence over the past decade as large multination companies seek to use land and extract more resources from the Amazon. Today, the leader of the indigenous Mura community, Raimundo Mura said that this is “white man’s goal to finish off the Amazon.”

International pressure continues to build

As the blazes continue be left unchecked, pressure from the international community is being but on President Bolsonaro and other international leaders to take steps to mitigate the problem. In Rio de Janeiro, protesters marched against the Brazilian Government in response to the current apathetic approach being taken to resolve the crisis. President of France, Emmanuel Macron also released a tweet saying, “our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis.” The president urges an emergency debate ahead of the G7 meetings scheduled in a couple days.

He has also threatened to block an EU trade deal with Brazil and its neighbouring countries which accounted for 20.1% of exports in 2018 and has done so in response to their handing of the forest fires by governments in the region. Macron said that Bolsonaro had lied to him at the Osaka summit earlier in June about his stance on climate change. However, Bolsonaro insists that Macron is taking this action solely for political gain.

In spite of this, Bolsonaro has been forced to reconsider his approach and as of today the Brazilian president has planned to deploy army troops to record and tackle the impact of the fires for the next month.

DELETED from the system and happier

 The documentary bringing truth to Britain’s shameful homeless situation

The short documentary film, Deleted, directed by Stephan Pierre Mitchell documents the last five hours of Ahmed Sadiqqi Hussein before he is evicted from his home in north-west London and provides an insightful perspective into the life of the many homeless people in the UK. The documentary also follows the life  of Hussein as he lived on the streets of London. The 59-Year-old, said to have contracted cancer and pneumonia whilst homeless, had been living on the streets for over a year while the film was shot, before he tragically passed away in May earlier this year. 

The documentary points to a failing bureaucratic governmental system being the reason for the mass number of evictions and homelessness experienced in the United Kingdom annually.

According to the Office for National Statistics, “597 homeless people were found dead in 2018.”  

“An ever-more bureaucratic and computerised system is making it harder for British people to access the information and support that they need in order to keep a roof over their head”, says Mitchell.   

The film addresses the homeless situation in a sensitive yet constructive way. As an audience member you find yourself continually warming up to Ahmed as you begin to understand his story and sympathise with his situation. The cinematic imagery captured by the Director of Photography, Aaran Green is clearly well thought out by the director and helps to embody specific elements of Ahmed’s personality and hidden suffering. It is achieved in an intelligent form that is neither forceful nor condescending to the audience or Ahmed himself. Unconventional shots in the film capture elements of Ahmed that perhaps would otherwise be lost. Extreme closeups and unusual imagery provide a vivid insight into the life of Ahmed and what he experiences everyday while on the street. As an audience member you enter into his mind with far greater certainty than what would be expected from the standard confessional interview. 

Supporting the imagery is the subtle and lush-sounding music score by composer, Mathew Slater. Though simple in its orchestration, Slater’s music powerfully adds to the uncovering of this story. In a similar fashion, the music gently adds to the unfolding and understanding of the emotions of Ahmed rather than ‘pulling at the heartstrings’ as it were. Stunningly executed and perfectly placed, the music is an even more lucid guide through Ahmed’s world. Even as Ahmed opens up about specific elements in his story that are seldom expected or unthought  of, the music continually finds a way to reflect the themes and emotions onscreen throughout. 

Having already won runner-up at Sunderland Shorts Film Festival and received a special commendation at the British Independent Film Festival, the film is already making strides and is set to continue its success premiering at both national and international film festivals.  

Director: Stephan Pierre Mitchell

“Late payments by the Department for Work and Pensions causes over 92,000 claimants each year” and the situation is not improving.  

As the film reiterates, it is not just Ahmed who has suffered. His story represents one of the many thousands that still exist across the country. 

Stephan Pierre Mitchell continues working to promote Ahmed’s story, enabling a voice to the many voiceless that there are in the United Kingdom.

A British Cuppa and International Development – They’re not as ‘loose tea’ connected as you’d think

A love of tea isn’t one that comes naturally to me, but surely no one can resist the sweet smell of ginger, honey and crispy tea leaves brewing beneath you. Borough Market, located a short walk from London Bridge, is well known for its eclectic stands and high-quality food stuffs. Though, less is known of its international connectivity and the conscientious spirit embodying the wholesome foods, so highly sought for by the British public. Sipping my chai, indulged by the placid surroundings of one of the tiny tea houses in the market, I chat with Ratan Mondal, a tea connoisseur from Darjeeling state in India. “I’m dictating the whole of England with my tea.” He says. “It’s proper, handpicked, ethically sourced and sustainably grown.” My mind opens. A world of tea entwined with international development.

On average, we drink 36 billion cups of tea a year in Britain, according to UK Tea and Infusions Association. It’s not hard to comprehend the UK’s obsession with the beverage. Importing an estimated 127 thousand tons of tea leaves alone, valuing at a colossal £142 million, it leaves no doubt that Britain really takes the international biscuit as it slurps down its global impact.

Tea is great for business as many of the leading brands will tell you. But less is known of its impact on the producers. Two thirds of people in less economically developed countries work in primary industries including agriculture and pastoral farming, yet not much is heard from them and the impact of our demand on their lives.

Fiona Gooch, Senior Policy Advisor at Traidcraft Exchange, a UK charity fighting against injustice in global trade, speaks of the need for British people to become awake consumers and to realise our responsibility within a global chain of events.

Explaining further, she speaks of the systemic problems associated with poverty that are entrenched within globalisation, saying that, “there are systems that keep people poor. We’ve passed policies and rules and regulations that systematically keep people poor and we need to change some of that.”

Trans-national companies whose strongholds dominate the international markets, “are producing shareholder returns.” Fiona also comments. “Shareholders are not really even interested in the product. They just want to see that there’s money coming in. Companies have to think, how they can buy at the cheapest possible price, sell at the highest possible price, make the maximum amount of money and deliver profits.”.

The negligence of many large multi-national companies towards their foreign workers have gone unnoticed for a long time. But now more efforts are being made to ensure that the producers at the bottom the supply chain have their rights upheld and that they are paid justly. Tea workers no longer feel compelled to hold an oath of silence in the hope of a measly pittance for their survival. According to the international media organisation, Peoples Dispatch, “hundreds of tea workers from Assam protested in Delhi” in March earlier this year. The workers demanded the “implementation of minimum wages and for the betterment of working conditions.” In April, “the Supreme Court of India granted some relief to the tea garden workers in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, directing the governments of these states to pay half the dues owed to the workers.” However, the workers are yet to see any lasting change regarding their working conditions.

Back in Borough Market, Ratan and his tea house are making small differences. “Ethically sourced and sustainably grown” he utters with pride, as he explains that the key to running his business is through cooperation and shared interests. He reiterates that, “the growers help me, and I help the growers.”.

But it isn’t just the tea brands themselves that can make a difference. Charities like Traidcraft Exchange are encouraging the public to demand equality in trade. In May 2018, Traidcraft Exchange launched the ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign in which they are urging tea companies to clearly state where they source their tea; in the hope that it will restore accountability among the brands and incentive them to protect their workers. Traidcraft succeeded in getting the six largest tea brands in the UK, including the likes of PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea and Tetley to publish their sources.

The tea business may seem the unlikely source of progress for international development, but there is a broader outlook for what it represents. As consumers, it is essential to understand that the so-called ‘insignificant’ decisions we make, impact on millions of people, despite the hundreds of miles between us. Consumers can no longer afford to remain unconscious to it. There is a shared responsibility to ensure a secure and dignified life for the people living in this world, of whom work so hard to gift many others the pleasure of a comfortable existence.

Check out the short video report explaining more about Tea’s role in international development.


“If the environment were a bank, it would have been saved by now.” – A look into why after 30 years, climate change remains on the international agenda

Strolling past London’s Marble Arch on an unusually warm April afternoon and I am promptly greeted with a flood of tents in the street. A wave of slow indie music floats among the fluttering of multicolored flags above. A man to the left hands me a pamphlet, subtlety breathing, “Extinction Rebellion. Rebel for life.” 

Despite the serenity experienced on one of the protest days; the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations were smacking national headlines. Thousands went out lobbying the Government, demanding change for a more sustainable future. 

But this isn’t a new conversation. Over the years the rise in environmental activism groups has been growing rapidly. In 2017, over 200,000 people took part in the People’s Climate March in Washington DC. Climate change and global warming is a hot topic (no pun intended) yet, we still find ourselves with unachieved goals and sunken with the lost dreams of a greener future. We’ve learned a lot over the last 30 years when talk on climate change really started to emerge but why is tackling it taking so long? Have we seriously still not got it right? 

Barricade at the Extinction Rebellion protests

According to Beryl Pankhurst, an activist for Extinction Rebellion, the “invested interests in the world for fossil fuels” and lack of “political will” are accelerating the climatic crisis. Large multinational companies, she argues, are making millions of dollars at the expense of the environmental protection of the earth and the Government allows the business elite to escape without penalty.

An article from the Guardian went as far to expose the fact that, American multinational oil and gas corporation, Exxon, knew about climate change as early as 1981 but continued to spend up to 30 million dollars on researchers and thinktanks who promoted climate change denial over the following 27 years in order to increase the firm’s profits. The actions from the firm have been compared to the those taken by tobacco companies in the denial of the connection between smoking and lung cancer to protect profits. 

As a post-millennial it’s hard to imagine why an issue with such global prominence has been allowed to slip through the cracks for so long. In such an age of technological advancement and international cooperation it almost feels comical. At the same time though, it is somewhat understandable when looking through the eyes of the elder generation. As Danish physicist, Niels Bohr once said, “technology has advanced more in the last thirty years than in the previous two thousand. The exponential increase in advancement will only continue.” We are now living in times so unique and distant than that experienced in the vast majority of human existence. It was unthinkable that we would ever achieve what we have so soon. Perhaps we simply have not had enough time to truly understand our impact in the little time that we have made it.

Despite this, there are those who no longer see this as an excuse. Almost inverting the argument, they state that, if we can create such drastic change in a period as little as 30 years then we can surely reverse the effects in the same way.  We have the evidence; we have the technology but most importantly we have the money.


Scientists have declared that a 2°C rise in global temperature threatens to leave us at a point of no return and engender irreversible damage to our world and existence. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has already set out a 1.5°C threshold in order to sustain our future.

Countries such as China are already starting to lead the way with environmental change, whist incorporating economic and business needs. The launch of fully electric taxis and the adoption dockless bike-sharing systems containing 20 million bikes in Shenzhen are a few paving the way. With goals to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in energy consumption to 20% by 2030, China is demonstrating an international leadership and impetus to finally engender some needed changes. But this can’t be a one country solution to a worldwide affair. As we are reminded, climate change is an international problem and it will take more than electric taxis and bicycles to solve it.

However, with other world leaders continually denying the existence of climate change its hard to see where the future lies. With Trump’s exit from The Paris Agreement and global warming deniers like Vladimir Putin’s stating that, “so-called anthropogenic emissions are most likely not the main cause of this warming”, it does make you question the likelihood of international cooperation and the existence of a shared global endeavor in tackling the issue for the next generation. But what’s clear is that whatever it comes to, we each need to take some responsibility. 

As Pankhurst pleads, “some people in the world are actually suffering enormously from the effects of climate change right now. Their houses have disappeared completely.”

Could we be willing to let our only home disappear too?

At the Extinction Rebellion Protests in Marble Arch