Extinction Rebellion Malvern links flooding to climate change

Extinction Rebellion Malvern gathered in Upton-upon-Severn on Wednesday 30 December 2020 to highlight the role of climate change in local flooding. Dressed as office workers carrying on with business-as-usual despite the floods around them, they held signs reading “Climate Change = Increased Flooding Chaos”.

The protestors are emphasising that climate change isn’t something far away which will only impact us at the end of the century. They point to unprecedented storms in 2020 which led to record rainfall amounts. These extreme weather events will become more frequent as carbon emissions drive global temperatures higher. At the same time, the trees, hedgerows and flood plains which have traditionally soaked up excess rainfall are being lost. “While we have always had flooding in our area, the climate emergency is making the flooding much more frequent and extensive,” said Dr Johnny Birks, 62, a retired ecologist. “We cannot continue with business-as-usual and ignore the grave threat our communities face”.

The UK currently spends £2.2 billion every year to clean up flood damage. “The situation we are facing is like an overflowing bathtub: Do we get mops and buckets to clean up the mess, or do we address the cause and turn off the tap?” asked Dr. Birks. “The sensible option is to turn off the taps, and the only way we can do that is to rapidly decrease our carbon emissions. We’re in a climate emergency and it’s time we had policies capable of addressing that emergency.”

However, the Climate Change Committee, the government’s climate advisors, say the UK is not on track to meet its targets to lower carbon emissions. “Boris Johnson is great at producing sound bites which give the impression that he’s providing leadership on the climate,” continued Dr Birks. “But he’s failing to do what’s necessary to keep global warming to safe temperatures. We must all demand the government act now, at both the national and county level, to bring down emissions and restore our damaged ecology. “Covid has taught us we can make great changes in a short time when we need to. Rather than ignore the climate crisis, Extinction Rebellion encourages us rise to the challenge together before the flooding and other natural disasters get even worse.”

Coverage in the local press