We’d been watching the 6 o’clock news and suddenly there she was, on the screen… Grandma… chained to a table!
“Did anyone know she’d joined Extinction Rebellion?” Mum had exclaimed.
Dad had shaken his head and looked at me.
“She never said a word,” I’d assured them.
Ten minutes later we were heading to Covent Garden.
We’d arrived to find the tourist hotspot cordoned off and the table surrounded by police. Mum had been terrified that Grandma might be arrested so Dad had asked a policeman if we could bring her out. After some reluctance he’d agreed, on the condition that only one of us be allowed in.
“It has to be you Toby, you’re the only one she’ll listen to,” they’d both decided.
And that’s how I’d found myself under a bright pink table, at least 4 metres in size with the words ‘change is now’ painted on the side. I’d located Grandma right at the centre. She’d greeted me with a welcoming smile, as if I’d arrived for Sunday lunch and, despite my best efforts, had adamantly refused to leave.
I wasn’t surprised. If Grandma wasn’t marching, she was rallying. But Extinction Rebellion weren’t popular. The public resented the disruption they created and I’d voiced my concerns.
“I understand the public’s perception Toby,” Grandma had admitted, “but sometimes words aren’t enough to bring about change.”
She’d gone on to explain the reason she was there: to demand the Government end their investment in fossil fuels. She’d explained that when fossil fuels were burned, they released large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. And how these greenhouse gases trapped heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming.
The consequences she described were scary – an increased risk of fires, drought and floods and the impact it would have on my and future generations.
I’d never taken global warming that seriously but her words really hit home.
When the table was eventually dismantled and we were told to leave, I’d left with a different perspective and view of XR. The planet was more important than a little inconvenience.