Breathing in toxic air happens every day and it is killing us. We know this, but the fact that thousands suffer with illnesses such as asthma and lung disease, isn’t enough to create immediate change.
Scientists have communicated to governments what needs to be done in order to save our planet (that includes life, of all kinds). The UK’s target is to reduce the production of dangerous gases by 34% by 2020 (that is less than a year away), and a zero carbon emission by 2050. Nearly half of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from the energy we use every day at home and when we travel.
Today, Extinction Rebellion Bath protested for clean air. Unlike some protests, Breathe in Bath, was peaceful and civilized: the people respected the police, and the police respected the people. The route was organised, rules were given and accepted.
The group of XR members and other locals gathered in Kensington Meadows and walked to Queens Square, via Bath Abbey for a mass die-in. Disruption to traffic was minimal. There was singing, banners, cheering and lots of encouraging support from onlookers.
As someone who often walks along the main roads of Bath and dislikes the lorries and traffic-jams, I am not surprised that Bath has some of the highest rates of pollution in the country.
Time will tell if Bath Council are committed to achieving their pledge to cut carbon emissions. Maybe London Road has a chance of becoming a tree-lined avenue with a tram system? Or as one protester said to me today, the whole of the city centre can become pedestrianised?
In my opinion, Extinction Rebellion aren’t a group of angry people wanting to cause a fuss about nothing; these are a group of environmental activists urging politicians to act on the facts given by scientists. There is something deeply sad about needing to march for clean air. Clean air is a human right.
As sung by the XR protesters in Bath: Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
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