Of course Extinction Rebellion is unpopular, they’re forcing us to sacrifice our selfishness just because the world is in danger

The protesters can make their point, they should just do it without disrupting anything, maybe by drawing a turtle or looking out of the window. Only then can we contemplate giving up a few bad habits

Mark Steel
Thursday 10 October 2019 18:43
Extinction Rebellion protests: Man climbs on to British Airways plane before take-off as climate activists occupy airport

The lesson from these Extinction Rebellion protesters, that all sensible people have drawn, is they might be trying to warn us we’re killing off every living thing on the planet, but I COULDN’T GET TO DEBENHAMS, THE BASTARDS, so I appreciate their message about all of us dying but I WAS TRYING TO ORDER A SET OF CURTAINS so they should KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE, THE TW**S.

It’s a measure of our dedication to getting on with the day, that Suffolk could be a desert, with people living off scorpions and cactus juice, and many of us would scream “OH NO these bloody Extinction Rebellion idiots are in my way AGAIN, now I CAN’T GET MY CAMEL PAST THEM.”

One reasonable objection to their demands is it seems unfair for us to cut down on our carbon emissions when other countries aren’t cutting down on theirs. And the same is true for other activities that do damage, such as murder. I don’t see why I should have to reduce the number of people I hack to pieces, when Isis won’t cut down on their slaughter rates. I’m just being made a fool of.

This must be why our prime minister dismissed the protesters, with his typically well-crafted prose, honed and polished through years of studying classics in the finest school in the world, when he said they were “crusties” who live in “hemp-smelling bivouacs”.

In a few neatly chiselled words, he refuted their premise. The teachers and bus drivers, the retired civil servant who said on the news “I’ve never protested before but we have to do something for our grandchildren” and Benedict Cumberbatch and all the others, it turns out, live in bivouacs too. This is enough to invalidate anything they say about fossil fuels, but it’s not just any bivouac they live in, it’s ones that stink of hemp.

Maybe Boris Johnson took into account the great debate of the Ancient Greeks, when Plato argued all earthly life was an imperfect copy of a perfect God, and Aristotle disproved this, by arguing “You live in a hemp-smelling bivouac, you stinky f****r”, and that settled it.

The International Panel on Climate Change have made their calculations. They have analysed carbon emissions and their impact upon climate, the ice sheets in Greenland, the diminishing Gulf Stream and its likely effect on air pressure and sea levels, but what they haven’t told us is how many of them live in hemp-smelling bivouacs, because we can write off all the graphs made by those pungent crusties for a start.

To be fair, Johnson has an admirable record in investing in new industries that reduce energy consumption. While he was mayor he funded a technology company so determined to use as little energy as possible, that it didn’t actually exist, so he should be given credit for that.

Maybe he should get that woman who received the money to run all the other companies, such as Shell and Ford. They’d get rid of all their factories and oilfields and replace them with a dancing pole in a flat, and we’d reach our carbon emissions target by Christmas.

Another inevitability whenever there’s a protest about climate change, is the charges of double-standards against the protesters, such as “I bet they all use herbal tea, and that’s probably picked by people who travel to the rosemary plantations in Formula 1 Mercedes and spaceships, so they’re hypocrites”.

This is always helpful when any discussion about climate change is deemed invalid because the person making it uses energy themselves. So they’re told, “if you really cared about the environment, you’d cut down on your own consumption, by killing yourself with a whittled twig and laying in the woods to be eaten by badgers”.

This has become more difficult now the movement’s global leader is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. So middle-aged millionaire businessmen find themselves saying “this girl is a sickening narcissistic disruptive menace obsessed with her own image, as I agreed with my good friend Donald Trump”.

The stardom of Thunberg has already reshaped society, partly because middle-class parents ambitious for their kids no longer force them to rehearse a solo on the oboe all night. Instead, they scream “come on, you’ll never get a Nobel Peace prize if you don’t practice making a speech about the decline of the sea lion while glueing yourself to the wing of a Boeing 737”.

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The trouble is, we’re not helped in the quest to make life more carbon-friendly. For example, a plane from London to Newcastle is usually about 30 quid, whereas the train will be 700 quid unless you book it nine years in advance.

Then, in solidarity with Thunberg’s suffering as she sailed across the ocean, there are 90 people to a seat and the air conditioning is broken. So at least this creates space, as those who suffocate can be thrown off at Peterborough, the water runs out at Watford, and the toilet tries to tell jokes, which is so disheartening that anyone reasonable would decide to wet themselves, as it’s far less uncomfortable. Subsidies for solar panels have also been cut, and you can hardly buy a packet of Hula Hoops without driving to World of Snacks in the Out-of-Town complex off the M40.

So the protesters can make their point, they should just do it without disrupting anything, maybe by drawing a turtle or looking out of the window. Only then can we contemplate the sacrifices we might have to make such as taking less flights in order to save the planet. It’s a tricky choice, similar to the sort of dilemma we face every day, such as “I want to live a long healthy life, but on the other hand I really like the taste of crack”.

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