Updated: Oct 21, 2022
I stand in solidarity with Phoebe Plumber and Anna Holland. They adorned their Just Stop Oil t-shirts as they threw soup over Vincent Van Goghs famous Sunflower painting and glued themselves to the wall beneath it earlier this week.
This comes after two weeks of continuous disruption in London by the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion. Several key roads in the capital have been blocked over the fortnight. This disruptive activism has put their actions on media outlets across the globe, giving a platform to the message they are spreading.
Phoebe Plumber was heard saying: “What is worth more, art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice?”
“Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people? The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of oil crisis.”
“The cost-of-living crisis is driven by fossil fuels—everyday life has become unaffordable for millions of cold, hungry families—they can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup.”
“Meanwhile, crops are failing, and people are dying in supercharged monsoons, massive wildfires, and endless droughts caused by climate breakdown,” the activist added. “We can’t afford new oil and gas; it’s going to take everything. We will look back and mourn all we have lost unless we act immediately.”
This has sparked criticism online, with the actions of the young protestors sparking anger. Some people argue that they’re going about spreading their message in the wrong way. I understand this point because if you upset people over your actions, they may choose to disagree with your message because of your actions. However, these shock and awe tactics have made front page headlines, amplifying their message.
Scottish historian and human rights activist Craig Murray initially said that “I support Just Stop Oil’s direct action, especially the blocking of roads and refineries. It is needed to wake people up. But this is stupid vandalism and counterproductive. This beautiful painting has no negative environmental impact.”
However, Murray later added that “I was wrong about this. The painting is behind glass and unharmed. In which case, this is a very effective bit of campaigning for publicity.”
I’m sure the brave activists knew the painting was behind glass and would be protected. What they have done is extremely clever and has sparked global conversations. We have been encroaching on environmental tipping points for some time now, and immediate action is needed.
We can no longer sit around and pretend that everything is fine. Change may be scary, but what’s more frightening. Sleepwalking into the death of humanity or progressing into a sustainable society? We still have the choice of the latter here.
I was at The Sustainability Show at the Business Design Centre in London yesterday, where thousands of people gathered to listen to experts in their field. Ben Fogle delivered an inspiring talk about his life lessons from the wilderness. He posed the question:
“Instead of 10% of us making a perfect 100% sustainable change, what if we encourage 100% of us to make a 10% improvement instead?”
My message here is not all doom and gloom but quite the opposite. We don’t need to be perfect. We need everyone in society to do a little bit better. We must all help each other in this; no one is alone.
The good news is there are small changes that we can all make today. You’re probably on this blog because you’re interested in sustainable food. Well, funnily enough, so am I, and my mission is to make eating for the planet easier by providing tips on how we can all do our bit.
I think the best changes we can make to our diet is to reduce the amount of meat we eat and the amount of food we waste. You can find many meat-free recipes here, and a blog post exploring my thoughts here. You can also read my blog post on food waste here, which includes several waste-saving recipes to inspire you!
Thank you so much for reading to the end; I really appreciate it. If you’d like to stay up-to-date, please consider subscribing using the box below for updates. You can also follow me on my socials using the links below for regular ideas and tips. Have a great day ❤️