I don’t see anything in Faceboook, and I was only there for days 2 and 3, but here are my impressions.
I think it is better for XR to confront those who know why, than disrupting people who think they are just going about their ordinary lives. Those ordinary lives are destroying the ecosphere through consumerism, but they have yet to see that.
Numbers came and went, but I guess there were 300 or more, of which 150 were at the site entrance at any one time. At least there were enough to close the entrance. Arriving at Durham rail station on Wednesday evening I was told by someone leaving after the first day that there had been a tense moment when security staff with dogs made some attempt to prevent the initial blockade, but apart from this the general strategy by Banks, the contractors was to accept that the entrance would be closed for three days. A mass trespass though the site on Friday was unopposed.
The site is elevated. Thursday was sunny, but I found the stiff northerly wind much harder to bear than was central London. An even stronger wind with snow flurries on Friday really took me out of my comfort zone. Young things with blue ‘Wellbeing’ sashes kept asking me if I was OK. No I wasn’t, but I wasn’t going to admit it.
Speeches told us that the local community have been fighting this operation for 38 years. Local authority decisions have consistently turned down development, but this government has overruled them.
The local community has a significant local presence, but there were XR rebels from all over the country. There were about a dozen of us from Leeds.
So was it all worth while? Yes. I am assured we got some national publicity, and this sort of thing has to stop, and soon.
But will it be enough? On its own, no. All we have done is halt access to a strip mine for three days.
I am aware that in the immediate short term, Banks and the present government are right, and we are just preventing wealth creation. Only in the slightly longer term does our planet endangering logic make more sense.
As long as there is a perception that short term profits can be made, powerful interests will go about making them – world wide. Coal in Durham is neither here nor there alongside rainforest destruction in Brazil and Indonesia, hydraulic fracturing, much bigger mines in Australia . . .Need I go on?
Only when that expectation of profit is not there will these processes come to an end. Am I unrealistic in suggesting this will only be possible when everyone is sure of basic needs? At least everyone should have a share in whatever wealth there is. All we need is a consensus to that effect.
But at least we have publicised the risk of what is on course to happen.