Ruth Jarman writes as a member of CCA who was part of the Extinction Rebellion train action, reflecting on her thoughts and feelings about a divisive action:
This is not the first time that we have carried out actions on railways. A similar action in April seemed to contribute well to the movement. However, this one on Thursday and particularly the one at Canning Town brought understandable levels of upset and anger in an overt and disturbing way. In all honesty I wanted to get up and leave. It makes me feel awful thinking of the upset to their already difficult lives people experience and I apologise to every person who was disadvantaged by the action – especially those who were harmed trying to intervene and those for whom our action sparked violence.
Our aim in stopping the train was to raise the alarm about just how serious and urgent the current drift to runaway climate breakdown is. This time last year, the head of the UN gave us until 2020 to change course or face runaway climate change. We wanted to highlight the utter disruption that this climate breakdown will cause – to aspects such as food, energy, water supply and transport like the Tube which is particularly sensitive to flooding and global heating.
The disruption we caused became a small act of uncomfortable prophecy – foreshadowing the massive disruption and social upheaval that climate meltdown will bring. We have grown to expect our food, energy, water supply and transport systems to run like clockwork. Our action highlighted how terribly vulnerable we are when they don’t.
Our choice of the DLR line was to emphasise the connection to high greenhouse gas emissions and The City. This is because bank financing for fossil fuels has increased each year since the Paris Agreement and in 2018 Banks spent $654 billion financing the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. However, I appreciate that this message was largely lost.
I personally was in two minds about taking part in the action in the lead up and made the decision to take part late the night before. I apologise to anyone who thinks that I made the wrong decision in that moment. My intention now, as with every action, is to reflect with others and learn together how to go forward. Only God knows whether this action was helpful in the long run. I hope and pray that it will be used for God’s purposes.