Southern Europe is baking in life-threatening temperatures, and global temperature records spanning tens of thousands of years have been broken several times this month. But government and media seem committed to business as usual, which promises an uncertain future for young people who will likely face crop failures, food shortages, droughts, heatwaves, and rapid migration on a scale never before seen.
Eddie Whittingham is one of those young people, graduating today at Exeter University after completing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. For the past 18 months he has been committing acts of civil resistance in support of Just Stop Oil’s demand that the government commit to no NEW oil, gas and coal projects, including a high profile interruption of the World Snooker Championship.
His plan to spray iconic orange paint across the courtyard in front of a Graduation photocall was partially thwarted by security guards. Another young student Kosta Junglas, a doctoral researcher at Oxford University, was also grabbed as she tried to unfurl a banner.
Although not as effective as planned, it was seen by a large crowd of graduates and supporters, with mixed reactions, some boos, some applause and some amusement. As security personnel held the pair and waited for police, Peter – a graduating student of International Relations – came to shake Eddie’s hand. He told Real Media that he believed the majority of the student body supported them, and that although the methods might not be popular, he thought these were absolutely necessary in the bigger picture. He told us that despite claiming to have excellent green credentials, Exeter University had signed a new partnership agreement with Shell (which has recently announced a scaling back of its own climate commitments).
Kostja said that we need students and young people to stand up for their right to a decent life, and Eddie called out for students to join him in non-violent civil resistance as a proven route to rapid social change. Both were arrested at the scene.