WOKING XR members brought their message on climate change to the town’s statues this week.

To mark Woking Borough Council declaring a climate emergency on July 25, 2019, members of Woking Extinction Rebellion chose to mark the four-year anniversary of the declaration by enrolling Woking’s many statues into the climate movement.

Each statue was given its own protest placard, to demand that elected officials take their own pledges seriously, and take immediate action on the climate and ecological crisis. 

“We’ve had four years of greenwash and inaction from Woking Borough Council on the climate emergency,” said Andy Malcher, engineer and member of Woking XR.

“Our community is saddled with an impossible debt. Our air quality is some of the worst in the country. And there is little to no planning to protect us from the increased heat and risk of flooding caused by a climate in collapse. It’s simply not good enough in the face of a global catastrophe.”

The messages Woking XR chose for the statues included “There Is No Planet B” for HG Wells, “No Future in Fossil Fuels”, and “Climate Change: It’s Just Not Cricket” for Sir Alec and Eric Bedser.

Woking suffragette Dame Ethel Smyth carriead a simple message for Woking Borough Council: “Deeds Not Words”.

Woking XR said its eye-catching action has a serious message: the earth’s climate is seriously destabilised and these effects are already being felt across the world, and here at home.

June 2023 was the hottest month recorded on the planet, parts of Europe are experiencing heatwave temperatures higher than 40 degrees centigrade, and severe drought has caused multiple crop failures in Spain. 

“I’m absolutely terrified,” said Lizzy Harley, local parent and member of Woking XR.

“I take part in climate action like this because I don’t know what else it will take for our elected representatives to treat climate collapse like the emergency that it is. The council has squandered all our money on shopping centres, private schools and vanity projects, instead of giving my children and children everywhere a chance at a liveable future.”

According to Extinction Rebellion, time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, if rapid action is not taken. 

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience.

The movement demands that government tells the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency; acts now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025; and creates and be led by the decisions of a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.