Climate protestors will hold a “Critical Mass” in a bid to reclaim the roads of Lancaster this weekend.
The Morecambe Bay Extinction Rebels group will gather on bikes and on foot in Dalton Square on Friday April 26 at 5.45pm, before marching and pedalling along the city’s one way system to raise awareness of the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.
Last weekend, the group, part of the national Extinction Rebellion movement which has been protesting in London since April 15, gathered outside HSBC in Lancaster to highlight the bank’s investment in fossil fuels.
Young people from the recent Lancaster Youth Climate Strike joined the 50-strong protest and some of them, aged 14 to 18, gave short speeches about the impact that fossil fuels are having on climate change and their fears for the future.
Ellie, aged 14, said: “We are burning fossil fuels, putting more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, and over-heating our planet. This needs to change! We are demanding that HSBC withdraw its finance from all fossil fuel projects. This is my future in your hands, our government’s hands, and no matter how young we are we all have a right to be heard.”
Alistair Sinclair, a member of Morecambe Bay Extinction Rebels, said: “This week we saw David Attenborough on the BBC saying we are facing an apocalyptic climate breakdown and we have nearly all climate scientists saying the world is warming at an alarming rate.
“But, after only a few days protests in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan told Extinction Rebellion it was time to stop and ‘let London return to business as usual’.
“Business as usual is destroying our ecosphere and driving countless species, including our own, to extinction.
“HSBC, and other banks like Barclays, are continuing to do ‘business as usual’.
“Lancaster City Council declared a climate emergency in January and we call on the council to consider the environmental credentials of all companies it deals with.
“Some of our members, Labour and Green, are standing for council in May and, if elected, we will make the council’s commitment to become zero carbon by 2030 our absolute priority.
“We will work in the council chamber and we will protest on the streets. The emergency we are living in, whilst some die, is bigger than Brexit and bigger than party politics.”
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2018 stated that in order to avoid a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures - which would in turn result in extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty - a huge, unprecedented, global effort to reshape economies and dramatically reduce carbon emissions would be needed. UK banks have been criticised for investing billions in fossil fuels, despite the warnings.