Extinction Rebellion Storm into Council Climate Change Event

Group angered that Shell was allowed to participate while it was excluded

Xr Wandsworth Protesting Inside Battersea Arts Centre. Picture: XR Wandsworth

November 16, 2021

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) have stormed Battersea Arts Centre calling for an end to climate change.

The march took place this Saturday (13 November), where a Wandsworth Council ‘Together on Climate Change Festival’ was taking place.

The group were armed with toxic air zone signs and a giant black coffin as they marched into the arts centre’s grand hall.

XR said it applied to have its own stall at the event but was refused.

One stall was sponsored by Shell which infuriated XR Wandsworth as they demanded ‘SHELL OUT!’.

XR Wandsworth said it refused to leave until Shell’s display was taken down and claimed they left to the sound of applause from stallholders and local residents.

XR Wandsworth also claimed it wanted to hold a citizens’ assembly on air pollution earlier last week but was turned down.

No other local group was excluded from the climate festival, claim XR.

Painter Coffin Bearers with banner
Painter Coffin Bearers with banner. Picture: XR Wandsworth

Peter Harrison, XR member said, “I am a blind, registered disabled pensioner who will never give up trying to give hope to future generations.

“If only Wandsworth Council matched rhetoric with action.”

Peter carried a place card declaring ‘Code Red For Humanity’ into Battersea Arts Centre.

Outside the centre, XR Wandsworth held its own climate festival.

Its pink table invited passers by to talk about the climate emergency and gave out leaflets accusing Wandsworth Council of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is where an organisation spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimising their environmental impact.

Before marching into the arts centre, XR Wandsworth marched around Clapham Junction station.

Caroline Hartnell, XR Wandsworth member, said, “Basically, the council wants to talk about us – what we as individuals can do – while we want to talk about them, what the council can and must do.

“While it’s important for individuals and small businesses to do their bit, individual action can achieve only a very limited amount.

“In the end it’s government, local and national, and corporations that need to act if we are to achieve the cuts in carbon emissions we need to avoid catastrophic global warming over 1.5C.”

A Shell spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, “Urgent action is needed on climate change which is why we have accelerated our efforts to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050, in step with society, with short-term targets to track our progress.

“We are investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels.

“We want to grow demand for these products and scale up our new energy businesses even more quickly.”

A Wandsworth Council spokesman said, “Contrary to these claims we are implementing a vast range of measures to help us achieve our target of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

“This includes action to green our vehicle fleet and our pension fund, plant thousands of new trees, explore food waste recycling, support the switch from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles and introduce energy efficiency measures in our housing blocks.”

James Mayer - Local Democracy Reporter