Why you should listen
Roger Hallam recently found himself embroiled in a controversy over a statement he made about the Holocaust. In an effort to make a point about the government’s neglect for climate change, he made a parallelism with the traumatic event and uttered a statement which came across as said in a throwaway manner. He has since apologised for it, after his arrest in September at Heathrow airport for public nuisance.
Controversy seems to follow Roger everywhere. After all, the organic farmer has co-founded Extinction Rebellion, the influential international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction. His group believes that humanity is nearing a point of ecological and societal apocalypse and the only way to stop the catastrophic event is to come together, rebel against the systems that have not worked for humanity’s benefit, and make a drastic change.
Roger wrote a booklet called “Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse.” It outlines how the environmental and climate movements around the world need to come together in order to avert the extinction of all life. It goes into detail on using nonviolent civil disobedience as well as other strategies and tactics to make real change happen.
Hear Roger speak at Worldwebforum 2020 about his strong viewpoints on leadership and effecting true social transformation.
About Extinction Rebellion
We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction bigger and faster than the one that killed the dinosaurs. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. The Earth’s atmosphere is already over 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and the chance of staying below the 1.5°C limit set in the Paris Agreement is tiny. Projections show we are on course for 3 degrees of warming and probably much higher.
We and our children will face unimaginable horrors as a result of floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failures and the inevitable breakdown of society when the pressures are so great. We are unprepared for the danger our future holds.
The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.
Roger Hallam is a British environmental activist, a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and cooperative federation organisation Radical Routes. Hallam was previously an organic farmer on a 10-acre farm near Llandeilo in South Wales he attributes the destruction of his business to a series of extreme weather events.
Between at least 2017 and early 2019 he was studying for a PhD at King’s College London, researching how to achieve social change through civil disobedience and radical movements.
In January 2017, in an action to urge King’s College London to divest from fossil fuels, Hallam and another person, using water-soluble chalk-based spray paint, painted “Divest from oil and gas”, “Now!” and “Out of time” on the university’s Strand campus entrance. They were arrested in February when they again spray painted the university’s Great Hall, charged with criminal damage and fined £500.
In May 2019, after a three-day trial at Southwark Crown Court, they were cleared by a jury of all charges, having argued in their defence that their actions were a proportionate response to the climate crisis. In March 2017, Hallam went on hunger strike to demand the university divest from fossil fuels—the institution had millions of pounds invested in fossil fuels but no investment in renewable energy. Five weeks after the first protest, the university removed £14m worth of investments from fossil fuel companies and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025.
Later in 2017, Hallam was a leading member of activist group Stop Killing Londoners an anti-pollution campaign of mass civil disobedience that they hoped would result in the arrest and imprisonment of activists. Hallam with Stuart Basden and two others were prosecuted and some pledged to go on hunger strike if imprisoned.
Hallam is a co-founder of environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion, with Gail Bradbrook and Simon Bramwell. He stood unsuccessfully in the 2019 European Parliament election in the London constituency as an independent, winning 924 of the 2,241,681 votes cast (0.04%).
Hallam and four other activists were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance on 12 September 2019, the day before a planned action to pilot drones in the exclusion zone around Heathrow Airport in order to disrupt flights. Three days later, in an action organised by Heathrow Pause, Hallam was arrested in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport apparently in breach of bail conditions from the previous arrest requiring him to not to be within five miles of any airport or possess drone equipment. He was remanded in custody until 14 October.