PRESS RELEASE: Clergy blocking oil facilities across the UK

Friday 1st April 2022

For immediate release

Photos here

Contact: christianclimateaction@gmail.com

Members of the clergy and Christians are amongst those currently blocking 10 major oil facilities across the UK. They intend to continue to block the sites until the UK Government agrees to end all new fossil fuel investments immediately. 

A number of Christians have joined supporters of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil at sites ranging from London and Southampton to Birmingham and Tamworth. Scores of people sat in the road to block oil tankers from leaving each site, while others climbed on top of oil tankers. Others are locked on at the entrances using large pink oil barrels filled with concrete, with the words ‘END FOSSIL FUELS NOW’ on them. The Southampton locations each have one of the iconic Extinction Rebellion boats blocking the entrances with people locked to them. At the Esso terminal in London, four people have climbed on top of an oil silo and have hung large banners that say ‘JOIN US – LONDON APRIL 9’ and ‘END FOSSIL FUELS’.

Revd Sue Parfitt and fellow CCA member, Ruth Jarman, getting into a police van during Just Stop Oil protests.

Rev Mark Coleman, 63 and retired as Vicar of Rochdale in in February 2020, said:

‘Oil is killing us, it’s time to stop our dependence on it. Ordinary people in our parishes are suffering the most from this cost-of-living crisis, while tyrants are making a killing. Literally. Now is the time for the government to signal its change of direction by refusing to develop new oil fields. It’s a real no-brainer, so what are we waiting for?’

Rev Helen Burnett from Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion, said: 

‘Compared to the horrific bloodshed in Ukraine, the fight for 1.5˚C may seem abstract, but it is, in reality, all too real. It is the fight for all those on the frontline of the climate crisis, in particular our children and our young people and the majority of the world’s population in the Global South. It is the fight for a peaceful and organised international community, it is the fight for the story of humanity and the fight for all those whom we love.’

Rev’d Canon Jonathan Herbert, member of Hilfield Friary and Chaplain to Gypsies and Travellers in Salisbury Diocese, said:

‘I’m taking part in civil disobedience with JUST STOP OIL as part of a long tradition of Christians engaging in non-violent direct action. In Baptism Christian are called to renounce evil; challenging this country’s foolish dependence on fossil fuels is a way of renouncing an evil that is destroying our planet and God’s people. ‘

Claire Cooper, 64, said:

‘There has never been a greater threat to human existence than the climate and ecological crisis. The Government fails to see this and has turned a blind eye to its genocidal path by refusing to give up subsidising and granting new licenses to fossil fuel companies. There is nothing so far that has persuaded them to change course. The only answer it seems, is nonviolent civil resistance, which is central to my faith. Christianity can claim a long history of nonviolent resistance, right back to Jesus turning the tables in the temple. Indeed, Christian ethics say we have a duty to protest against injustice – that is why I have joined in with Just Stop Oil.’

Kate sitting in the road with other Just Stop Oil protestors

Kate Chesterman, said:

‘I’m supporting the Just Stop Oil because I believe that if Government were to stop granting licences for new fossil fuel exploration, this would be really meaningful action in the face of impending catastrophe. Oil is killing us, is fuelling war and creating a terrible cost of living crisis that leaves many behind.  When people who have had enough take action, it destroys the façade that we can, or that we have the right to, live undisturbed, unperturbed lives based on a way of being that is inherently destructive. It is a call to stop pumping more oil and instead pursue the obvious things that would benefit everyone: building more renewables, insulating homes and providing good public transport’.

The action is taking place at a crucial time: the UK public is waking up this morning to a 54% rise in the energy price cap, which the Citizens’ Advice charity say will leave millions of people unable to pay their bills. As war wages in Ukraine governments around the world are making plans to get off Russian oil and gas at speed. However, instead of doing what’s necessary to move away from fossil fuels to align with Paris Climate pledges, world leaders are choosing to appease oil companies and pursue extraction elsewhere. This is despite the recent IPCC report stating that staying on fossil fuels means that half the population of the continent of Africa could be displaced within the next eight years. These are the people and nations who have done the absolute least to cause the crisis.

The blockades come just over a week before a Rebellion begins in London on 9th April. Christian Climate Action is calling on Christians from across the UK to come to Hyde Park at 10am on Saturday 9th April where they can gather with other Christians to worship pray, take part in workshops and protest the government’s inaction on ending fossil fuel investment.

ENDS

Contact: christianclimateaction@gmail.com

Notes for Editors:

  1. Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. We are inspired by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. Following the example of social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of public witness, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to urge those in power to make the changes needed. Since November 2018 we have worked closely with Extinction Rebellion and have become known as the Christians in XR. www.christianclimateaction.org.
  2. Blog from Rev Mark Coleman, written ahead of the action.
  3. Extinction Rebellion press release
  4. Just Stop Oil press release
  5. Locations where action is taking place:

Just Stop Oil

  • Inter Terminals UK Ltd, London Rd, Grays RM17 6YU
  • Navigator terminals Thames, Oliver Rd, West Thurrock, Grays, RM20 3ED
  • Buncefield Oil Depot, Hemel Hempstead HP2 7HZ
  • Esso Petroleum Co Ltd, Wood Lane, Birmingham B24 8DN
  • Purfleet Fuels Terminal, London Rd, Purfleet RM19 1RS
  • Kingsbury Oil Terminal, Tamworth, B78 2HA
  • BP Oil Depot, Kingsbury, Tamworth B78 2EF

Extinction Rebellion

  • Esso West Terminal near Heathrow Airport 
  • Hamble Terminals in Southampton.
  • Hythe Terminal, Fawley 

6. Half the population of the continent of Africa could be displaced within the next eight years

7. Christians invited to Rebel in London in April:

https://christianclimateaction.org/2022/02/20/9th-april/

https://christianclimateaction.org/2022/02/21/rebel-with-us-in-london-9th-17th-april-2022/

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