Environment

Just Stop Oil activist: ‘I have no regrets’

4 Mins read

A Just Stop Oil protester, who has been actively causing significant disruption in the UK for the past few weeks, has spoken out about their divisive campaign, that has angered motorists and politicians.

Louise Harris says she is taking a stand to bring awareness in tackling the climate crisis, and the environmental pollution from the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK, that has resulted in a mix of disturbance, chaos, anger and frustration for those unable to get to work, school, or appointments.

Louise campaigns for change and says the way this movement goes about their protesting will continue, until the UK government stops licensing new fossil fuel projects.

“It is possible for us to turn things around, but it doesn’t require every single person in this country to be in agreement.”

What sparked Louise’s interest in joining the Just Stop Oil campaign, was when she was having a conversation with one of her friends from school; her friend explained the issues that had been taking place, and from then, she wanted to be a part of the change: “My life is on the line, we won’t have a future unless we radically change how society is operating right now.”

Louise has always been aware that there was a climate crisis, and that climate change is a real thing, but originally she only ever thought that it would affect everyone in a couple of hundred years, meaning, it didn’t seem like an urgent thing for her. 

Louise Harris. the JUST STOP OIL activist, protesting in a football match.
Louise Harris is being taken by security, after protesting at a football match [Instagram: Louise Harris]

Louise is a vegan, and she was essentially concerned about the plastic pollution in the environment, oceans and foods; therefore, she was trying to make every single individual effort to reduce her carbon footprint, by not using single-use plastics and being as environmentally-friendly as much as she can; but still, she didn’t know this wasn’t enough, and how urgent the situation was. 

In doing her research, she found the work of the former chief scientific advisor to the UK government Sir David King, he had stated in February 2021: “What we do over the next three to four years, I believe, is going to determine the future of humanity.” 

“This is going to affect me in my lifetime, and since discovering this, I’ve done research into the latest scientific reports. The World Meteorological Organisation predicts that by 2030, half of the African continent will be displaced due to water scarcity. That is a global crisis,” Louise told us. 

“The climate change community UK is expecting disruption to food supplies as early as the 2040s, but to be honest I expect it to be a lot sooner, because a lot of the times, these models and predictions end up happening earlier than they think.”

“I want to live my full life, I don’t want to die aged 40.”

For this movement, Louise believes it only needs a certain number of people in order to make the change needed to avoid climate catastrophe, “which will kill all life on this planet.” She adds: “it is possible for us to turn things around, but it doesn’t require every single person in this country to be in agreement, it just requires enough people fighting against genocidal government policies of new fossil fuel extraction in order to make that change and save everything; so I thought I will be one of those people, it was a complete no-brainer for me.” 

Louise wants to do all that she can, as she wants to have no regrets. She wants to be that one person who could potentially tip the balance and legislative change happens and essentially “save the whole fucking world.”

The key reason for this is that Louise tells us that there is an “immediate crisis which will affect all of us in our lifetime in absolutely awful ways, such as droughts, crop failure, water shortages, war, rape and slaughter.”

Louise Harris. the JUST STOP OIL activist, protesting in Central London.
Louise Harris protesting in Central London [Instagram: Louise Harris]

Louise has suggested that she feels empowered, that there is a solution – where history has shown civil resistance and that civil disobedience does work. She believes that she wants to do the right thing and be on the right side of history, where she can just appease her moral conscious. “I believe that I am doing all I can, because what could be more important than fighting for your own life?

“A lot of people believe climate activists sacrifice so much, but I think a perspective shift happened for me when I realised the sacrifice is not giving up my job or not seeing my family and friends as much as I want to, but the sacrifice is the life I lose, the future I lose, everything I know and love that I lose if I do nothing about this crisis, the sacrifice comes from not taking action, rather than taking action, so that’s another thing that compelled me to join just stop oil campaign, it seemed to be the biggest and most promising campaign of this year,” Louise told us.

“I completely have no regrets and I am extremely pleased I’ve joined this campaign and it feels like the absolute right and necessary thing to be doing at this moment in history, because we’ve never faced a bigger crisis, and I think this is our last and only hope of avoiding that catastrophe.”

Louise Harris glueing her hands to the ground
Louise Harris protesting, hands glued to the road [Instagram: Louise Harris]

“When people are sceptical about climate models and predictions, it actually doesn’t make sense, as models are often too conservative, and disasters happen much earlier than predicted. We experienced 40-degree heat in the UK this summer, in 2022, when the Climate Change Committee UK only predicted there to be a “small chance of exceeding 40 degrees before 2040.”

Louise says the demand from the Just Stop Oil campaign is that the government makes a statement that they will immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development, and production of fossil fuels in the UK. “We are not asking for petrol tap to be turned off overnight, we are asking a no-brainer, simple demand of no new fossil fuel projects” and “our government are in bed with the oil industry, and all of this continuous reliance of fossil fuels is benefiting them because they keep making money off it, and that’s their priority, profit over people.

“The goal of the Just Stop Oil campaign is to achieve climate justice. You could throw me in jail, you could even murder me, but what you won’t ever do, is silence me, and kill my mum, my dad or my friends and family; whilst I watch and stand by and do nothing,” Louise says.

“You won’t stop me from fighting for what is right and for life itself, and for me, that means I’m undefeatable and that is a powerful feeling to have.”


Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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