Disruption ‘can wake us up’: three generations of family join protest

By Edd Dracott, Press Association

A father who joined three generations of his family at a climate change protest has emphasised it is a “multi-generational issue”, adding that disruption in London “can wake us up” to it.

Jeremy Williams, 38, joined Extinction Rebellion demonstrators with his parents, his wife and their young children.

“We’ve basically had this generation from the ’50s and ’60s who, with new access to flying, driving and other services, had the best of everything and emissions shot up,” he told the Press Association.

“Then you come to the present with my generation, where we are aware of this issue and what my generation does to tackle it, in turn, affects my children’s lives and the world they inherit.”

The protests have caused significant disruption to public transport in London and demonstrators have vowed it will continue for weeks.

In a message to those affected by the travel disturbances, Mr Williams said: “If you live in Mozambique or California during the wildfire season you are already being disrupted by climate change.

“It is a luxury not to be disrupted by climate change and we need to wake up to that.

“If this disruption to our commutes, our streets and our cities can wake us up to it, then it’s worth that disruption to become aware of it.”

(Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Williams described the atmosphere at the protest like “a street party”, adding there was “a real sense of playfulness and creativity”, as his seven-year-old son Zachary and five-year-old daughter Eden drew in chalk on the road surface of Waterloo Bridge.

“The kids were waving flags and joining the silent disco and what have you and there were lots of families and older people there too,” he said, adding that some attendees assembled a skate ramp, which “fascinated” his kids, while others had picnics.

Mr Williams, who co-authored a book on sustainability earlier this year entitled The Economics Of Arrival, said he deliberately attended the first day of the protest to ensure it was “child-friendly”.

“We didn’t witness any arrests, but if you were there yesterday or today the police are getting a bit fed up,” he said.

Asked if there was a message he would like to share with those not at the protest, Mr Williams said: “Do not be afraid to get involved – Extinction Rebellion is a broad and inclusive movement.

“The press tends to go to the people getting arrested, but you can get involved without being arrested, you can just be part of it.”