My personal experience in the protests this week was one of offerring care and wellbeing: I was playing a support role, giving food, water, acting as someone to talk to or to give those being arrested, emotional help and general advice if needed. I have attended talks and Extinction Rebellion Youth sessions previously, so had some experience of the movement before this week, however had not appreciated the extent of it within the UK or worldwide until this week.
The media so far has been very divided on their opinions of the protests, some highlighting that without civil unrest and outcry often big, systemic change of the type that is needed to deal with climate change does not occur. Others condemned the protest as disruptive without a just cause, or consisting predominantly of those more privileged who do not understand that economic disruption such as coming into work late or not being able to work is likely to be hugely significant for many people.
Personally, I think it is difficult to strike a balance between causing mass disruption economically and physically in the streets, so that the government see a need and want for change, and acknowledging that economic disruption can disrupt the livelihoods of those who do not bear the most responsibility for climate change. It is important therefore to use protest as a tool for change, but only as far as it is effective more than detrimental. The Extinction Rebellion protests this week have caught media and some government attention, and while the focus on climate change needs to be maintained, other strategies such as more direct negotiation should now also be initiated so that the demands of the movement can be more explicitly and tangibly met. Hopefully this will start to occur in the upcoming weeks.