Climate protesters lay out 1,000 children’s shoes on Palace Green

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Extinction Rebellion held a demonstration this morning on Palace Green against climate change. They placed 1,000 pairs of children’s shoes, which contrast with the circa 1,000 years the Cathedral has stood for, to show the impact the climate crisis will have on future generations.

The event is part of a series of demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion taking place across the country, culminating in the re-opening of Parliament on the 1st of September. 

The shoes used for the demonstration were donated by parents across the country who fear for their children’s futures. They will be transported for the next demonstration location.

Extinction Rebellion aims to unite people in the fight against the climate emergency, and activists will therefore be pleased with today’s multi-generational turnout.

Social distancing was maintained at the event, with many attendees wearing masks.

Local Speakers

The event provided a platform for local activists to share their concerns about the imminent danger facing younger generations. Mary K Foy, MP for Durham City, spoke to those in attendance, as did Jon Clare, Councillor for Aycliffe North and Middridge. 

Mr Clare linked the climate emergency to the current coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the economy is being prioritised over familial relationships. He said it was ironic that he could not visit his elderly relatives but at the same time was being encouraged to ‘eat out to help out’ and potentially come into contact with the virus.

This, he said, explains the climate emergency, as Mr Clare believes capitalism prioritises profit over people, and has led to an “apocalyptic scene”. He warned protesters that “if we don’t change our direction, we’re all going to die”. 

“If we don’t change our direction, we’re all going to die”. 

– Jon Clare

Ms Foy ended her speech by saying: “when the government try to take away your future, you threaten to take away theirs”.

Speaking to Palatinate before the demonstration, Ms Foy, citing the recent government U-turn on exam results, focused on the impact that she believes young people can have. “If you can get enough people interested in, and supportive of your cause, then you can take on the Government and win. I hope climate activists can do the same.”

“When the government try to take away your future, you threaten to take away theirs”.

– Mary K Foy MP

The MP for the City of Durham implored the government “to take the climate emergency seriously”, citing her concern that “we’re running out of time”. 

Ms Foy highlighted local environmental policies she approved of, especially “plans to improve walking and cycling routes in the County”. However, she would like to see “greater consideration given to the sustainability and the environmental impact of every project in the region.” She argued that “climate policies must inhabit everything we do as a society.”

Today’s speakers maintained that Covid-19 may offer an opportunity for a new outlook on the climate emergency, the ‘new normal’. It offered, they said, a chance for greater environmental consideration in order to protect future generations.

More information on Extinction Rebellion’s campaign is available here

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