Rebels demand media and corporations tell the truth
September 03, 2020
Today, rebels staged a series of actions in Cardiff exposing corporate greenwashing and highlighting the pivotal role of the media in holding the Government to account for its failures on the climate and ecological emergency.
Two rebels “greenwashed” themselves in a bathtub full of green liquid outside Barclays in Cardiff City Centre. The symbolic action highlighted how corporations have used the language of “Corporate Sustainability” to hoodwink the public into believing that they were behaving responsibly, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Barclay’s, HSBC & Santander are among the worst offenders globally for financing fossil fuels, having funded a total of $231bn in the four years since the Paris Agreement was signed. All three banks significantly increased their fossil fuel financing in 2019.
Meanwhile, Barclays’ corporate literature tells us “We are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy through our target of providing £100bn of green financing by 2030” which works out at £10bn a year, a paltry sum to compared with the £22bn of global fossil fuel finance the bank has provided over the past four years. This record makes Barclays the top European funder of the fossil fuel industry and the seventh largest fossil fuel financier in the world. (opens in a new tab)”>Learn more >
In a separate action, rebels marched from City Hall to the offices of BBC Wales accompanied by a Samba band. There they staged the ‘Tell the Truth’ media show featuring a hypothetical news broadcast from the year 2050, expert panel discussion and audience participation.
The news element featured two alternative bulletins, the first set in a positive future in which we avoid runaway climate change and rapid temperature increases, by transitioning to a zero carbon economy. The second news bulletin showed a negative future in which warnings from scientists have been ignored and we continue with “business as usual” leading to a 2 degree rise by 2050 and severe threats to our way of life.
The mock news shows were followed by a panel discussion with experts from the fields of science, media and politics discussing whether the media is currently being honest with the public about the threats we face.
Although the media has largely ceased promoting climate denialism, most media outlets are still falling short of explaining to audiences the gravity of the threat we face.
Important speeches by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in 2018 and 2019, in which he warned that climate change is a “direct existential threat”, that we face a very real danger of “runaway climate change” and that “We are in a battle for our lives” largely went unreported by UK national media. The media regularly fails to mention climate change when reporting on heatwaves and other extreme weather events or to explore the potential social and economic consequences of climate and ecological collapse.
Jonathan Lee, 67, from Prestatyn in Flint says:
“As a grandfather of 10 grandchildren and a lifelong believer in a free and open democracy, it dismays me that my concern for future generations has forced me onto the streets with Extinction Rebellion.
“I believe our government and media are withholding crucial information about climate change, information that would influence the demands the public make of politicians and the way we vote.
“By denying all of us, in particular the young access to absolutely crucial information they are denying them the opportunity to defend themselves, which is in my opinion tantamount to a crime against humanity! The media must do more to inform and educate people about our changing climate and what they can do to help prevent this and that’s why I’m here today.”
The UK government pays lip service to the climate and ecological crisis, while bailing out polluters and financing fossil fuel interests overseas. We say enough is enough of the lies and misinformation.
We are calling upon rebels and all members of the public to contact their MPs to urge them to back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
COVID-19 and public safety
All of XR Bristol’s actions are designed to be inclusive, safe and family-friendly, with the movement taking every precaution to ensure the protests adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
All supporters have been asked to come with masks and hand sanitiser, and to observe social distancing at all times. There will also be on-site sanitation stations, extra face masks available, and markings for safe distancing in the main stage area. All gatherings will take place outdoors with safety stewards onsite to support and promote COVID-safety around the clock.