‘We will shift our focus again once this is over’ – Extinction Rebellion Richmond support one other through lockdown

By Joe Marshall
April 16 2020, 12.25

With coronavirus changing life for everyone, Extinction Rebellion activists have had to rethink their plans.

“It’s a real challenge on humanity,” said Lee Jackson, an active member of the group in Richmond. 

While we’ve all been told to work from home, stay indoors and not to go within two metres of each other, the climate change activists are still meeting weekly via video calls, but their immediate goals have shifted.

Jackson said: “We’re all first and foremost at this moment in time, locked into a catastrophic emergency.

“The main focus of us coming together is entirely one of supporting each other as human beings right now.

“All of our time and effort is on that.”

Extinction Rebellion was one of the first groups to ask the government to halt construction on the HS2 railway, in order to slow the spread of the virus.

The group is now working to ensure political leaders don’t use the situation to make changes that could erode democracy. 

But Mr Jackson is wary of Extinction Rebellion being seen to use the pandemic as political leverage.

He said fewer cars on the road means people might see some improvement in air quality.

However, he was quick to add: “It is having horrific consequences.

“This is in no way something that we can in any way welcome.”

When asked how the virus might change people’s habits beyond the current restrictions, Mr Jackson said it’s too early to make those kind of judgements. 

As for when Extinction Rebellion will get back to concentrating on climate change, he said: “As we come out of it, in however many months’ time that is, it will be appropriate for us to shift our focus again.”

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