Activists from groups campaigning on environmental and social justice issues took part in a protest in Stoke-on-Trent town centre on 12 November.
The event was organized by North Staffs Climate Coalition as part of a global day of action timed to coincide with the mid-point of the COP27 summit taking place in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Groups taking part in the protest, which was attended by around 40 people and took place outside Hanley bus station, included anti-racist campaigners NORSCARF, Period Power, and North Staffs Green Party.
Chris Flanigan speaking for North Staffs Climate Coalition said the government has been too slow in recognising and acting on the impact of climate change and that doing so now was imperative.
He also spoke about the extent to which the Egyptian government has used hosting the COP27 summit to ‘greenwash’ its human rights record, pointing out that many climate campaigners had been detained without charge.
The issues of protecting human rights and climate justice, he said, had to be given equal priority.
A spokesperson for North Staffs Green Party said that leaders no longer had the luxury of hesitation, or the right to harm future generations with their poor decisions and that action needed to be taken now on a global, national, and local level.
Verity representing Period Power, a charity campaigning on ‘period poverty’ in the UK and around Europe, spoke about the link between the climate emergency, social exclusion and the ‘self-responsibility’ and ‘austerity’ rhetoric of the UK government.
Too often, she said, politicians “preach” at people about what they should do to respond to the climate emergency, then left them without access to the means to do so, including people on low incomes being able to access plastic free sanitary products.
She added that the “dirty infrastructure” of an economy skewed towards the interests of the fossil fuel industry and other big polluters was being “propped up” to the detriment of the planet.
Simon, speaking for the Stoke branch of Extinction Rebellion said that it was time for people to “take matters into their own hands” and “make things difficult” for the government because direct action is, he said, the only way to get the message that action needs to be taken now across.
The COP27 summit will continue until 18 November, the campaign to persuade governments and big business to take meaningful action on climate change will go on far longer.