‘Opticians’ march against short-sighted climate policies
By Cathy Dann
Last Sunday, representatives of Hastings-based activist group Don’t Frack With Sussex joined 60,000 others at The London Climate March. The group protested outside 10 Downing St, urging politician to take positive action at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Dressed as opticians in labcoats and giant glasses and holding sight-test placards reading “It’s time to focus on renewables” and “Don’t turn a blind eye to climate change”, the group marched alongside other residents from groups including Transition Town Hastings and The Hastings and Rye Green Party – as well as new friends, such as Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader praised their campaign against Amber Rudd’s short sighted strategies and told them to “Keep the pressure on”.
Addressing the march Corbyn accused the government of “closing down” the UK’s solar energy industry and called for them to “use the technology, use the human genius that we have, to use less resources, pollute less, protect and preserve more”.
Caroline Lucas MP spoke of the need to be more ambitious in tacking climate change. “We already know that what’s on offer in Paris is nowhere near enough. We know that business as usual will take us towards a world of 4C warming.”
Don’t Frack with Sussex activist and local artist Beccy McCray said: “Why replace coal power stations with gas-powered ones? Amber’s argument about energy security and problems with storage is blind to the possibilities. Subsidise clean, green energy – like Ireland who, in 2016, are building a high-tech renewable storage facility – and you have sustainable energy for future generations.”
Fellow activist Mike Laloe added: “Amber recently said she is doubling funding for renewable energy but she is blurring the facts. This is not actually ‘new’ money – it is just the existing fund for supporting renewable energy agreed under the coalition government. Since she has come in she’s taken the hatchet to renewable energy and her chancellor has cut her department’s budget by 22%. If they see that as a way to tackle climate change then they both need a new pair of glasses.”
Don’t Frack with Sussex’s action follows their ‘Frack Off’ banner at the Long Man of Wilmington and their gatecrashing of Amber Rudd’s surgery dressed as tea-ladies with giant cakes bearing the slogans ‘Stop backing Fracking’ and ‘Start Being Green’. The group have vowed to keep a close eye on Rudd “until she sees the damage her policies are doing and has a better vision for UK energy”.