Ruth Jarman, mother of three, has been remanded in prison this week to await a further hearing. She is there because she is determined to take a stand for her children’s future and so she blocked Kingsbury Oil Depot. Our government is determined to take a stand for the profits of fossil fuel companies and so have imprisoned her.
Ruth wrote this blog before she took action, knowing that being sent to prison was a possibility.
“In an unjust society the only place for a just man is prison.”
― Henry David Thoreau
We all know the world’s in a mess, that, if we carry on like this (and we show no signs of stopping – the country that led the world into the fossil-fuel era is still building new roads, runways and coal mines and subsidising new oil exploration) then we will pass tipping points and set the world on a path to irreversible and unstoppable global heating. We may already be past this point.
Because of these tipping points, winning the war against climate change slowly is the same as losing.
We know it’s not about switching power from coal to gas to renewables. We know lifestyle changes aren’t the answer, that it’s our whole economic system that is to blame.
So what is the right response to where we are? That is proportional, sufficient, moral? Maybe there is no ‘right’ response to the inconceivable madness of this moment. But I do think simply carrying on with our lives as if everything was fine is probably not one. As a follower of Jesus, we have to ask ourselves: ‘to what might He be calling us at this time?’
Throughout the Bible, God has called forth prophets to speak uncomfortable truths to their generation. They were seen as misfits, unhinged, deluded and they were often very unpopular. Where are the prophets now? Where are the people willing to step outside the accepted norms and sacrifice popularity, safety, freedom and their life savings to say ‘this is wrong and it must stop’? I can’t call myself a prophet, but I do see Just Stop Oil as a prophetic community of which I am proud to be a member.
I don’t feel I can stand by and watch us hurtle towards climate meltdown without trying to intervene in a way that cannot be ignored. I also feel complicit being part of and benefiting from an economic system that is destroying billions of lives, what I believe to be God’s creation and my children’s future. I feel we have that choice that Jesus talks about – between God and mammon, between good and evil. Evil is a big word – but if an economic system that threatens the viability of life on earth isn’t evil, I don’t know what is. As a Christian I have to resist evil. This is just one way to do that. Please pray that our actions will serve God and help preserve creation.
Do also read this inspiring article by a scientist explaining better than me why our actions were a proportionate response.