Open Collective
Open Collective
Rebellion of One - action now, 1 May in Bangor and Newcastle
Published on May 1, 2021 by XRNI Media & Messaging

‘I will not be a bystander’ in the face of climate change inaction 
In two seaside towns in County Down at 11am today, two local people are stopping traffic, by peacefully sitting in the road wearing signs that read ‘I’m terrified’. 
Dr Cillian McGrattan, father of Felix and Maya, sitting on a street in Bangor, states ‘I am terrified of the climate crisis because I fear my children will have to fight for food one day’. He explains ‘Two years ago Ards and North Down Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency. As far as I can see, almost no action has followed that statement.' [1] 
He continues to explain: "I am aware that I am inconveniencing local people today for an hour while I am sitting on this busy road beside Bangor harbour. Yet this inconvenience is insignificant in the face of millions of people depending for their livelihoods on coastal regions in the world, and seeing them disappearing under the rising sea levels.’ 
This sitter is not alone. Across the UK over 200 people just like him, terrified about the trajectory the earth is on in this climate and ecological emergency are taking action in the same way. [2] The action is part of an approach developed during the Covid-19 pandemic by members of Extinction Rebellion, in which people engage in civil disobedience alone, yet united. 
Chris Murphy is sitting on the road in Newcastle with a placard stating: ‘I’m terrified because of Climate Change and the Collapse of Ecosystems’. He says ‘Our political leaders are still not taking this seriously. I feel it is necessary for ordinary people to step up and demand action.’ Pointing to the blackened Mourne Mountains behind his sitting location he continues: ‘The scenarios for the UK are pretty terrifying and I don’t think Northern Ireland can afford to remain aloof. Arlene Foster got it wrong, when as Minister for the Environment she said Northern Ireland does not need to concern itself with climate change for another 100 years.’ [3] 
‘My local MP organised a climate change conference at Castleward in October 2019 but I see no action, only soundbites! For example, Chris Hazzard (SF), will not sign the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.' [4] 
The UK’s Committee on Climate Change - the body tasked with monitoring government progress on reducing emissions - said in its progress report June 2020 that the UK has failed on 17 out of 21 progress indicators, falling further behind in many areas and that just two of 31 key policy milestones have been met over the year since the parliament in Westminster declared the climate emergency. [5] 
Mr Murphy is very concerned about the collapse of ecosystems worldwide and feels that continued, relentless investment in fossil fuel infrastructure is contributing significantly to local extinction and loss of biodiversity in Northern Ireland. [6] & [7] He has campaigned for better access for the public to experience nature and the safeguarding of specially protected areas. 
This protest is part of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘waves’ of Rebellion for 2021; rebellions held each month, increasing in pressure each time in the build-up to COP26 in Glasgow in November. The only item on the agenda will be the world’s climate crisis. 
The introduction of a Northern Ireland specific climate change bill is being proposed to the Assembly. [8] The Climate Change Bill introduced in March this year is a non-executive proposal sponsored by Green Party’s Clare Bailey. It has cross-party support except for the DUP and is due to go on to the second stage on 4 May. [9] 
Dr McGrattan describes his motivation for sitting on the road in Bangor: ‘Through this small action I hope that more people will recognise the disaster facing future generations. I hope more people will decide to no longer stand by but join the broad environmental movement in demanding immediate change’. 
Notes to Editors: 
Contact for images 
'Rebellion of One’ sitters available for interview: 
Bangor - Dr Cillian McGrattan, 07715415059 
Newcastle - Chris Murphy, 07547 362332 
[3] Climate crisis hits 'worst case scenario' levels – Environment Agency head 
The two Northern Ireland MPs co-sponsoring the CEE Bill are North Down’s Stephen Farry from the Alliance Party and SDLP’s Claire Hanna. Colum Eastwood (SDLP) and Jim Shannon (DUP) are the two further MPs from Northern Ireland who are supporting this Green Party private member's bill alongside 94 others. 
[5] Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament: 

XRNI Media & Messaging

Posted on May 1, 2021

Eye witness report received: "Hooting horn in Newcastle and a bin lorry guy got out of his cab to talk to the Rebellion of One sitter. All peaceful." The protest will be for a maximum of one hour.