Extinction Rebellion

Just Stop It: The Week One Wrap

Just Stop It: The Week One Wrap

By Extinction Rebellion Victoria, on 3 April 2022

Just Stop It. One week. Eight actions. 28 arrests. Hours of disruption. A desperate plea to prevent imminent Climate Collapse.

A big week of actions for Extinction Rebellion’s Just Stop It campaign in Naarm, culminated in two activists highlighting the folly of fossil fuels with unannounced glue-ons at Exxon Mobil headquarters in Collins Street on Friday, and three more rebels hoisting placards on top of a B-double fuel tanker at the gates of the Exxon Mobil terminal on Saturday morning. This coincided with actions by Just Stop Oil activists to blockade oil terminals across the UK calling for a stop to all new licences for fossil fuel projects.

As we move into the election campaign, Extinction Rebellion will be continuing to use disruptive tactics to sound the alarm about the Climate Emergency and call on governments to JUST STOP coal, gas and oil. We will be calling on all candidates and parties to show us their plan for an emergency transition to zero emissions and beyond, at a speed and scale that can preserve a liveable planet for our children.. No more coal. No more gas. No more oil. JUST STOP IT!

Day 5: Friday 1 April, Fossil Fools Day

Oilies and XR rebels with Just Stop It banners on the steps of Southern Cross station, Melbourne. Photo Matt Hrkac.

The Fossil Fools march started on the steps of Southern Cross station for the benefit of commuters headed home for the weekend, and ended at the corporate headquarters of planet killers Exxon Mobil. Rebels glued on to the revolving door to call attention to their funding of climate denial and climate inaction for decades. 

Rebel Heike Weber, 67, health professional says:

I am a health worker in the area of domestic violence. Thus I am very sensitive to different kinds of abuse. The planet is being abused! Fossil fuel companies have treated the planet as a commodity rather than as a living organism that carries and sustains us all. I fear for the future of the next generation.

Arrestee David Urbinder, father, says:

In 1977, I was seven years old. In that year, Exxon’s scientists alerted the board that their product was making the global climate hotter. For 43 years, they stifled their own research and lied about the effects of burning fossil fuels. My daughter is seven years old now. When she turns fifty, if Exxon and their corporate stable-mates have their way, the Amazon will be peat bog, the Great Barrier Reef will be long dead, and humanity will no longer be able to feed itself. We have to do everything we can, as ordinary citizens, to stop this machine of total destruction.

Exxon knew, Exxon lied about the gravity of climate change. This article in the Scientific American clearly explains how Exxon did its own research and knew about climate change in the 1970s. Instead of sharing these findings with the public, Exxon ‘became a leader in campaigns of confusion’. In 1988 they helped to prevent the U.S. from signing the Kyoto Protocol to control greenhouse gases. China and India followed. It is sobering to realise that half of the greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere were released after 1988. 

And now in Australia, Exxon and their fellow fossil fuel companies have just been gifted almost $38 billion of taxpayers’ money in subsidies in the federal budget - and Exxon pay no tax. We need a transition plan to prevent this misuse of public funds. 

Rebels locked on to the door of Exxon Mobil HQ while Exxon Fossil Fools pour oil on rebels representing the innocent public. Photos Matt Hrkac and others.

Day 6: Early Saturday morning

Protesters stood in biting autumn winds holding a red Just Stop It banner and a bold green Climate Justice Now banner across the gates of the Exxon Mobil terminal at Yarraville and singing for Climate Justice. As an empty tanker waited at the lights to enter the terminal three activists swarmed on to the truck and draped a Just Stop It banner over the side. A hand written sign in front of the truck said ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’. There were repeated apologies for the truck driver and assurances it was nothing personal – his property would not be harmed. The CEO of Exxon, Darren Woods made more than $16 million in total compensation in 2019. Exxon Mobil Senior Vice Presidents made between $8 and $10 million. We need a plan for a just transition for the existing fossil fuel workforce. 

Television cameras were there to record the dramatic proceedings. Melbourne Activist Legal Support, an independent legal observer team in fluoro pink vests took photos as an irate worker tore down the Just Stop It banner which was soon replaced with a sign that read ‘Climate Code Red for Humanity’. Victoria Police arrived and efficiently set up road blocks to ensure the safety of all. While the three rebels on the truck were assisted down and arrested, the banner holders continued to sing. Rebel Brad made the point that for every person arrested there are twenty others in support roles. Each as valued as the other. 

Ordinary people. Why do they do it? 

Dan, 31, Disability Support and Advocacy worker, says

Action any less radical than this just doesn’t make sense when we’re facing the deaths of potentially hundreds of millions of people. I’m here because escalating climate disasters mean our children will struggle to feed themselves. Non-violent resistance is the only response that feels proportional to that fact. 

Our window for meaningful action is too thin to wait for climate-friendly independents to push the needle. The changes we need are immense, rapid, and would directly challenge the wealth and power of the corporations that own our major parties. 

We can build a world that honours and nurtures life, but only a mass movement of civil resistance can break the entrenched power that’s blocking our way. At this point, anything less will only deliver a different shade of hell.

Jane Morton, 69 year old psychologist and mother of two, says: 

Its time for ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Those of us who know how close we are to climate catastrophe must find the courage to sound the alarm and cause a level of disruption that will force our broken political system to respond. I never expected to leave the quiet and law-abiding life of a clinical psychologist to get arrested twice in one week for blockading petrol distribution depots – three hours on top of a truck on Tuesday and up on a petrol tanker on Saturday morning at dawn. It was frightening, exhilarating and extremely satisfying. I want to be able to look back on these all-important years and be able to say to my kids ‘I did everything that I could. Having spent many hours in police custody now, I know that I am ready to go to jail if that’s what it takes.

Nat Tunbridge, father and husband, says: 

I’m doing this because fundamentally I believe it’s the right thing to do. I’m also doing it for my 7-year old son. He will grow up in a much more dangerous and fearful world with few of the opportunities and freedoms that I took for granted. This dark future is locked in because of the amount of heating that’s already gone into the weather system. Few Australian parents know about this - about the Arctic having at best 10-15 years left before there’s no ice forming in the summer; about the decade of worsening extreme weather events that is locked in because when greenhouse gasses are released, it takes them a minimum of 10 years to convey their heating effect into the weather system; about the latest IPCC report saying that by 2030 up to 700 million people across Africa - half the continent - will be on the move to avoid extreme heat.

Most people don’t even know that greenhouse gasses have gone up 60% in the past 31 years and are continuing to go up. I’m convinced that if they did know these facts, if they knew that their children are being handed a death sentence by profit obsessed fossil fuel companies and compliant politicians, then we’d see a much stronger public response. So I hope through actions like this we can draw people’s attention to what’s happening and create a momentum for change.

Nat Tunbridge on top of the oil tanker with a photo of his son on his t-shirt and holding a Climate Emergency sign. Photo Matt Hrkac.

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