How Extinction Rebellion target UK grouse moors
[Eco-zealots from XR graffiti an ancient bothy wall, yet can't seem to spell grouse correctly.]
This weekend’s papers – if they arrived, that is – all covered one important story: protestors outside various national newspaper printing works. This resulted in staff unable to get to work, and a number of papers (namely The Times, The Telegraph, The Mail and The Sun) suffered from delayed deliveries. This, of course, is exactly what the protestors wanted to achieve. Their complaint was that these newspapers weren’t giving enough attention to climate change, and argued that their targeting of the print works was designed to force newspapers to give more coverage to climate change issues. The Prime Minister, however, described their actions as “completely unacceptable”, with the Home Secretary Priti Patel calling the protest “an attack on our free press, society and democracy”.
These people are Extinction Rebellion [XR], and they claim to be a global environmental movement. “We are facing an unprecedented global climate emergency. The government has failed to protect us. To survive, it's going to take everything we've got,” they say.
But in reality, what do they do? We are sure you have read the headlines; apart from preventing people from going to work and locking or glueing themselves to gates, they have also climbed on top of tubes – creating huge delays for TfL and workers – and blockaded London’s bridges, roads, places of work (included the stock exchange, Google HQ and the city). And, more often than not, despite claiming to want people to cut down on plastics with the aim of saving the world, they leave vast amounts of rubbish behind them.
If they stuck to raising awareness of climate change, XR might be able to appeal to the public. Most of us appreciate and are aware of the many issues and problems that climate change could bring, and understand the need to alleviate it. In fact, that’s exactly why so many moorland estates are working to rewet the peat bogs of the moors: because they understand and appreciate the need to protect and preserve one of the country’s carbon stores.
But XR are unable to see this. This same weekend, up on the North Yorkshire Moors, a building which is cleaned and maintained by a moorland estate, and which is left open for the public to make use of, was vandalised. On its side was painted to words “BAN GROSE SHOOTING” (sic), alongside the Extinction Rebellion logo. It seems odd, when so much work is being done to improve the moorland environment and peatlands, that Extinction Rebellion would target grouse moors. Particularly if their aim is, as they state, to raise awareness of climate change.
But the reality is that so many of the XR protestors are the very same people who protest on the moors. The attack on a public bothy is not the first time XR have focused their attentions on grouse moors; earlier in the year a group of them decided, for some strange reason, to dress up in red witches cloaks and dance around on the moors – which was videos and published online together with a string of incorrect statements. Chris Packham Wild Justice’s frontman – has been spotted at XR protests, while his mate Mark Avery has publicly supported a number of their campaigns. Tim Birch, from Derbyshire Wildlife, is also a supporter having spoken at XR events.
If the anti-driven grouse shooting campaigners want to encourage locals to see their point of view, we can’t help but think that following XR’s example isn’t the best way to go about things but instead a textbook lesson on how to lose friends and alienate people.