Spending Holy Week Blocking Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

This blog is by Thalia Carr, who has been involved in the Just Stop Oil campaign this week:

It’s Holy Week. So why am I not taking time to attend church services, to meditate on the momentous events which brought joy, love and hope to so many throughout the ages?

Maybe Holy Week is the best week to be doing what I’m doing. The time of Jesus’ life Christians focus on at this time is tumultuous. We see a reluctant but determined Jesus head towards Jerusalem. It seems he has no choice, although he spends an agonising night in Gethsemane trying to find an alternative way through. It is not that he is dragged into it. It is just what he has to do. It is not pleasant. He loses everything, possessions (if he had any), friends, sleep, health, respect and in the end, his life.

I, and many like me, have understood how serious a predicament we are in. We are experiencing runaway climate change and instead of doing all we can to stop it and to prepare for what is inevitable, we are only making it worse. Where we should be drastically reducing energy demand through insulation and sharing transport and increasing energy generation through renewables, instead our government plans to open up new oil fields and invest in nuclear.

So, we feel we have no choice. In desperation, we cause disruption, blocking access to oil terminals, taking on the wealthiest and most powerful companies – the fossil fuel industry – demanding an end to new licences for fossil fuel exploration,development and extraction.

It is not pleasant, it costs time, money, maybe our jobs, our reputation, sleep, the respect of our friends and maybe one day more than just the regular trips to the police cells but longer time in prison. Of course we want to walk away, but we can look to Jesus, who didn’t shirk his responsibilities, who did not meet violence with violence or taunts with anger.

As Christians we are called to love, we are asked to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked; if we stand by and allow our world to become uninhabitable as millions die because of drought, flood, fire, war and extreme heat brought about by climate change, we fail to love.

So, this Holy Week, I am not in church. I am causing disruption and demanding that our government agrees to cancel all new fossil fuel licences to give a glimmer of hope that we will start to reduce our carbon emissions and preserve what we can of the beautiful world we live in.

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