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Islington XR campaigners call for a green recovery from coronavirus pandemic at Bank of England protest

PUBLISHED: 16:31 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:31 27 July 2020

XR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon Vines

XR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon Vines

Jonathon Vines

Extinction Rebellion campaigners from Islington tied a thousand origami cranes around the pillars of the Bank of England today, to symbolise hope as they called for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

XR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon VinesXR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon Vines

The government and banks are currently throwing billions of pounds into the global economy to stave off financial collapse.

But rather than continuing to prop up fossil-fuel based industries like aviation with “no strings attached” bailouts, eco-campaigners from the non-violent direct action group want to see that money directed towards green, clean industries.

They tied hundreds of folded paper birds onto the railings at the UK’s central bank in Threadneedle Street in the City, onto which adults and children from all over the country had written their wishes for a healthy, sustainable future. 
The origami crane is a symbol from ancient Japanese legend and legend has it that 1,000 of them can make a wish come true.

Climate Assembly UK, a group of 108 members of the public chosen to represent the UK population to help shape climate policy and how to meet the government’s 2050 target of zero carbon emissions, found that many people would be prepared to continue the lifestyle changes enforced by the coronavirus lockdown to help tackle the climate emergency.

XR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon VinesXR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon Vines

Anna Moore, a respiratory doctor and mother of four, thinks it would be a mistake to return to “business as usual” after lockdown.

“Business as usual is killing us and our children,” she said.

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“We have to look forward, with the understanding that our environment is our life support system - without it we won’t survive.

XR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon VinesXR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon Vines

“But if we get this right, we won’t just survive - the world will be a more just, peaceful and beautiful place for our children to grow up in. I want that more than anything else in the world.”

Alexia Hall, mother of a four-year-old, criticised the government’s bailout to date.

“Billionaire polluting companies have been bailed out using our money - the public’s money - which should be invested in green industries, in training and financial support for workers in high-carbon industries during the transition instead.

“Once again, it seems that all that matters is “let’s bring the economy back”, the same old economy which is killing our planet and condemning the future generations and all life on earth as we know it to death.

XR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon VinesXR campaigners from Islington protest outside the Bank of England, calling for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathon Vines

”Hester Campbell, mother of three children, added: “Covid-19 is here to stay, and the largest recession in a hundred years is upon us. We are in the great turning now, stepping through the portal, and we can either step through lightly, or dragging the heavy carcass of the old world with us.”

Alongside the visual symbol of the cranes, families at the protest played a recording of mothers from all over the country singing to their babies, wishing them a safe future.


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