IN this week’s THINKING ALLOWED, North Fremantle mum JULIA JONES tells us why she decided to get arrested on Monday by blockading the entrance to premier Mark McGowan’s office, as part of an a Extinction Rebellion protest.
SINCE becoming a rebel and speaking up for climate I’ve been told many times to stop being political, but a democracy requires citizens to be political.
That’s the social contract.
When citizens are not political it is called a dictatorship instead.
The United Nations have given us only 11 years to limit catastrophic climate change, yet most of us go about our daily lives as though the climate emergency isn’t happening.
Our children’s lives will be filled with droughts, fires, famines and billions of climate refugees.
This will likely lead to global conflict on a scale never seen before in the history of humanity.
As I caught the train into the city that morning with my climate crime scene tape hidden in my backpack, I looked out of the window at Leighton Beach, as I always do.
There was so much smoke I couldn’t even see the horizon.
It’s heartbreaking enough that 700 Aussie families have lost their homes right before Christmas, but knowing that our prime minister is taking a holiday in Hawaii that our volunteer firefighters can only dream of is rubbing salt in the wound.
So, together with two caring and brave grandparents I’ve met through Extinction Rebellion, we blockaded the door of our premier’s office and declared the building a climate crime scene.
The last straw for me were the new Environmental Protection Authorities draft guidelines that were released last week.
The original guidelines release in March were quickly revoked following a crisis meeting between industry representatives and Mr McGowan, and the EPA began a new round of public consultation.
That’s where I came in.
Along with 7000 others I had spent many hours in good faith researching and making my own personal submission regarding the EPA’s draft guidelines. After the consultation period ended, I was thrilled to learn that 98 per cent of submissions agreed with me that the original draft guidelines should be reinstated and strengthened.
But the voices of Australian people were again ignored, in favour of the fossil fuel industry.
The EPA describe themselves as an independent board providing advice to the minister for environment, but they are clearly taking their advice from big polluters.
So I decided to get arrested by disrupting ‘business as usual.’
The cops were polite and respectful, I felt safe and supported by my fellow rebels, and I was home in time for an afternoon coffee.
It cost me a day off work, and there will likely be a fine and I got the usual abuse on Facebook.
But I can’t help wondering how my experience would have been different if I wasn’t a straight, white mum from the suburbs.
I feel a duty to stand up, especially since it is a sacrifice I can afford, where others cannot.
If you are one of the people who have been making submissions and signing petitions and writing to politicians and are sick of being ignored, we invite you to join us.
You don’t need to be arrested to be a rebel. For every arrestee there are about 20-30 rebels working behind the scenes on wellbeing, legal support, arts, media, food, music, technology and more. We are doctors and teachers and architects.
We are from all over the world and we are strictly non-violent.
I’d much rather spend my day at work, which I love, or with my children, who I love even more, but I could no longer sleep at night. We must stop talking, and writing, and sharing memes on Facebook.
We must tell the truth and act as though it is real.