Extinction Rebellion Leeds, supported by Extinction Rebellion Sheffield and Nottingham blocks a central road for a working week staging die-ins, speeches and music.
The protest aims to put pressure on the financial sector to stop funding fossil fuels and draw people’s attention to where their money is being invested.
Yellow boats on bridges, acoustic music and food; these are the sights, sounds and smells of Extinction Rebellion Leeds’s Summer Uprising.
Groups from across the north of England have been standing in unity with Extinction Rebellion Leeds’ demand that the financial sector stop financing the fossil fuel industry and invest in solutions to the climate crisis.
Extinction Rebellion Sheffield members have travelled to Leeds by train and bicycle to draw attention to the destructive fossil fuel obsession within the biggest and fastest growing financial sector in the UK outside London.
Rebels camped out, leafleted, participated in die-ins and spoke from the Mia Mascarinas-Green - a bright yellow boat emblazoned with PLANET BEFORE PROFIT that is named after a Philippine environmental lawyer who was murdered for her work in 2017.
Speeches were made highlighting the $1.9 trillion that HSBC (the parent company of First Direct) and Barclays, among others, have invested in the fossil fuel industry as of 2019. As well as calling on companies to divest, these speeches called on individuals to use more ethical banks, if they are able to. More information on this can be found at http://savetheearth.coop/how-to-find-ethical-bank-uk/. These speeches took place on a road that is one of the most polluted in the UK outside of London.
As for the yellow boat, you may see it on a street near you soon.
Nathan Strathdee, Engineering Student, 19;
“The climate crisis is here and it’s already affecting the planet. We’ve already seen an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, massive glacier ice loss and habitat destruction. The banks and other institutions are funding this to the tune of $1.9 tn. Through the Summer Uprising, I hope we can draw attention to this and put pressure on the financial institutions to change their ways.”
“I travelled to Leeds because I know that we will only solve this crisis by working together - across the city, across the North, across the country and across the world. People in Sheffield want to be able to live sustainable lives but by yourself it’s really difficult without government help and there’s only so much you can do. Government needs to change society so that the sustainable option is the default option. If you give people recycle bins they will recycle, but if you only give them a black one, most people won’t have time. These are the kinds of decisions that only governments can make, and we need them to make the right choices for every aspect of our lives, from renewable energy and electric cars to better, safer cycle paths and bans on single-use plastics. I don’t want any part of my life to be paid for with the life, health and security of people affected by climate change. This is an emergency and we need the government to Act Now so they we can all lead ethical, sustainable lives.”