An Interview with Just Stop Oil protestor

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For the past week, Just Stop Oil activists have been protesting outside parliament. We interviewed one member, Helen Shaw, about the campaign and why it’s so important

Just Stop Oil is a group of activists who are working together to urge the Government to cease new fossil fuel production and recently the association has been making their voices heard across London.

Across the capital, people have mixed opinions about the tactics used by Just Stop Oil. But, if you ask them, it’s necessary action and the only way to make the government listen. So, we spoke with Helen Shaw, a dedicated member of Just Stop Oil to find out more about the movement.

In Conversation with Helen Shaw, a member of Just Stop Oil:

Can you tell us a bit about Just Stop Oil and what the movement stands for?

Just Stop Oil (JSO) is a group that has developed as part of Extinction Rebellion, which aims to persuade the government to stop the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and the further development of fossil fuel sources in the UK (e.g. potential fracking sites). We also want the government to insulate our homes ahead of this winter to reduce energy usage and to improve means of public transport so we can be less reliant on cars as a country. One of the main ideas with JSO is to have very clear, reasonable, achievable demands that the government can’t ignore.

just stop oil movement

© Helen Shaw

Why was it important for you to show up to this protest?

Personally, I got involved with JSO after a talk in Lancaster. Having studied environmental science, I know that the climate crisis is the biggest challenge facing humanity and the current government is nowhere near doing enough to avert this country’s course. For me, not getting involved whilst knowing this would equate to negligence and I’d not be able to live with myself in the future if I didn’t know I had done everything I could. The October actions are a continuous month of civil disobedience involving hundreds, if not thousands, of people from around the country and it was important for me to support everyone else too.

What were the aims/goals of this protest? What do you hope people will take away from it?

The October actions aim to get the government and the general public to wake up and realise the situation we are in. By causing mass disruption, the hope is that people will pay attention to the causes behind the actions. The fact that there are hundreds of people willing to risk their liberty (54 people were arrested last week, including Helen) should mean that the gravity of the situation is understood.

Just Stop Oil

© Helen Shaw

What do the Government and politicians need to do in order to start tackling the climate crisis seriously?

Politicians need to stop all fossil fuel production, invest more in renewable energies, insulate our homes and create a better, more functional public transport system.

What’s your message to those reading this, how can we all do our bit to help tackle climate change?

Everyone can do their bit by joining a local group. Our greatest power is in numbers. Even if people aren’t willing to risk arrest, other roles are available. Financial support is also much appreciated if people are able. Write letters to your MPs, and spread the word.

Just Stop Oil

© Helen Shaw

Actions are planned for the whole of October in London.

You can learn more about Just Stop Oil here. And find your local climate action group here

About Post Author

Hannah Petch

Freelance writer, poet, playwright, dramaturg.
author

Freelance writer, poet, playwright, dramaturg.