Four days of action: Big Problems Need Big Solutions
August 25, 2020
Photo credit: JonThePhotographer.co.uk
This Bank Holiday weekend we will begin four days of action to highlight the urgency of action needed on climate and ecological crisis.
The city’s actions start on Friday 28th August with an attention-grabbing event that has been chosen to kick off actions around the country.
The four days of COVID-safe activities will then be focused on Bristol’s harbourside, stretching from outside the Arnolfini, across Prince Street Bridge to the M-Shed.
Prince Street Bridge (normally used primarily by cyclists and pedestrians, with a single lane of southbound vehicles) is planned to be closed to vehicle traffic, while remaining open to pedestrians and cyclists, and to harbour traffic as necessary. The planned bridge closure has been liaised with Bristol police.
Ten times as many people now walk and cycle over the bridge as use cars, compared with nine years ago. However those 10% in cars get 50% of the space. The closure will be welcomed by the 90%, ensuring a walking and cycling-friendly location for the Bank Holiday weekend.
The centre-piece of the action will be a large ‘elephant in a room’, representing the issues that those in power need to urgently address to save the planet.
XR Bristol Coordinator Pete Hughes says:
“We’re taking action now, in a Covid-safe way, to push the issue up to the top of our local and national agenda.”
During the pandemic the government has been prepared to step up to a war footing in an unprecedented way, with economic commitments that were supported by selfless public and community action.
“We need the same scale and urgency of government action for the global climate and ecological crisis, which no vaccine is going to be able to fix. But UK politics based on 5-year parliamentary terms just isn’t making the commitment.
“That’s why we’re having to take action now, to drive forward the solutions needed.”
Each of the four days will have a different theme:
Friday 28th: There’s no Profit on a Dead Planet
Saturday 29th: Climate Justice Is Social Justice
Sunday 30th: Save Nature To Save Ourselves
Monday 31st: Upgrade Democracy
The main aim is to seize public attention and build support to drive forward the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill that has been written by a coalition of campaign groups, with contributions from prominent scientists and academics.
All Bristolians are being urged to contact their local MPs to ensure their support for the bill.
If passed, the Bill will require the Prime Minister to ensure the UK reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, to restore biodiverse habitats and to publish a strategy to achieve specific objectives on climate change, taking on board the specific recommendations of a Citizen’s Assembly.
COVID-19 and public safety
All gatherings will take place outdoors. Members of the public are asked to come prepared with their own face masks and hand sanitiser if possible, and to observe 2m social distancing. There will be on-site sanitation stations and face masks available, with ground markings for safe distancing in key areas.