What did you do when the Earth was unravelling?

Devon Grandparents Health practitioners Mitigation statements

Jane Baker, 64, a retired NHS speech therapist from Exeter read out this statment in mitigation when she pleaded guilty to “not moving when asked from Waterloo Bridge”. She was appearing at City of London Magistrates Court on 6th September before District Judge Rimmer.

“I want to apologise for the necessary disruption caused at the April Rebellion.

This has been quite a week for me.

Yesterday I retired from 38 years of Public Service in the NHS. Today I am in court for a Public Order Offence for my part in Extinction Rebellion’s non-violent direct action. Tomorrow is my Grandson Zachary’s first birthday. He’s just learnt to walk and is full of the joy of being able to move. His future fills me with grief.

So, yesterday represents for me my past of service; today represents the present and the urgency to ACT NOW; and tomorrow represents my motivation to act.

I am wearing my Grandmother’s necklace to honour my Ancestors. Joanna Macey urges us to “act our age” – meaning, as stardust, we are millions of years old. We are the only living embodiment of all our ancestors that have been before and we are the only living embodiment of our future generations.

So, if I don’t take action now, who will? It’s up to me, it’s up to all of us who have breath to ring the alarm bell. It is my responsibility for those who have been and those still to come. If we do not act now to address the climate and ecological crises we are doomed. Extinction Rebellion is giving the clarion call.

We need brave, courageous leaders prepared to implement what we the people, through Citizens Assemblies, agree are the actions and policies needed to reduce our carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and stop the devastating ecological biodiversity collapse. We need to act quickly, like we did for the World Wars.

So yes, I plead guilty as charged under Section 14 as I didn’t move from Waterloo Bridge when asked to.

I also know that I acted with integrity, peacefully and through the love of our planet; I acted through love of my children and my grandson; I acted through love of the insects, through love of the bees, and the trees and the tardigrades.

I am not ashamed of my actions. I feel privileged to be part of Extinction Rebellion demanding that the Government and the Media tell the truth about the ecological collapse and climate crisis, make and implement policies that reflect the vision of zero carbon emissions by 2025 and set up Citizens Assemblies to agree on radical solutions that Government seem unable to consider or deliver. This is beyond politics. This is survival of life on this beautiful planet.

I’d like to finish with part of a poem by Drew Dellinger that always speaks to my heart.

hieroglyphic stairway

It’s 3:23 in the morning, and I’m awake because my great, great, grandchildren won’t let me sleep. My great, great, grandchildren ask me in dreams what did you do, while the planet was plundered? what did you do when the earth was unravelling?

surely you did something when the seasons started failing as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen? what did you do once you Knew…

It’s 3.23 in the morning, and I’m awake, because my great, great, grandchildren won’t let me sleep. My great, great, grandchildren ask me – in – dreams, what did you do when the earth was unravelling?

Thank you.”

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