So who are they? Part of the international Climate Action Justice network, but the group currently blocking the Coryton refinery are probably just an affiliated bunch.
This idea is nothing new – people have been organising high-profile protests against oil dependency for some time. But what is “oil dependency”? Basically, it’s the tendency of politicians to favour the oil industry against all common sense.
One obvious example of this is the motor industry, which enjoys protected status in order to furnish votes. Look what happened when the economy crashed in 2008 – subsidies to the motor industry to “protect jobs”. If Gordon Brown and friends were simply interested in finding employment for redundant motor industry workers they’d have spent the money on building something useful, like cycle lanes or wind turbines. But no – bail out the motor industry as people like cars, and hope no one notices how hypocritical this sounds from a New Labour twittering on about the environment while using it as an excuse to raise taxes.
Other high-profile groups involved in this kind of thing are Plane Stupid and Climate Camp , although this lot are clearly more confrontational about it. If you want the other extreme there’s the World Naked Bike Ride. These are all groups who have woken up to what “Oil Dependency” really means – pollution, congestion, war, greenhouse gasses and political dodgy dealing to secure supply. Would certain countries get away with what they’re doing if they didn’t the off-button the oil supply?
As yet, however, none of these are a political force to be reckoned with. Blocking an oil refinery will get the issue in the news, if they handle things properly, but will David Cameron sit up and take notice?
So good luck to Terri Orchard and her merry bunch (not all-women as reported in the press). From what I understand, Coryton is only the first refinery on the list, and they’re planning to cover a lot more if they can. If this proves correct, I’ll be glad I ride a bike.