'Arrests won't stop me fighting for the planet' says Northampton environment protestor

A Kingsthorpe activist who breached his bail conditions for taking part in another climate change protest in the capital says he is determined to keep fighting - even after his second arrest.

Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 11:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 5:26 pm
Northampton man Nick Cooper is led away by police after taking part in a climate change protest in London.

University technician Nick Cooper was one of 6,000 to take part in Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Day of Rebellion’ - a protest which saw five major London bridges blockaded for several hours on November 14.

The campaign group aims to hold the UK government to account over its 'inaction on measures to prevent catastrophic climate change'.

Mr Cooper, a technician at the University of Northampton, was arrested for blockading a road outside Downing Street and for possessing an item with intent to cause criminal damage.

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Mr Cooper says he is motivated to protest by his Christian faith.

He has been released under investigation and bailed to attend West End Central police station for an interview on December 3. It marks the second time he has been arrested in the space of a fortnight, having taken part in a similar protest on October 31.

But Mr Cooper, 34, says his passion for climate change activism will not be dimmed even though his bail conditions restrict him from travelling within the M25 circle.

“While people stand around arguing about Brexit, life on earth is ever increasingly falling into a vicious cycle of extinction," he said.

"It’s like being on a sinking cruise ship with only one lifeboat left and people are still standing around at the bar arguing about being short-changed for a round of drinks.

"I’m not saying that there aren’t other important issues to worry about but please can we get our priorities right."

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says there are only 12 years left to significantly reduce carbon emissions to a level that does not exceed a 1.5 degree temperature rise.

Extinction Rebellion aims to bring the governments of the world to the negotiating table over what it says is their failure to tackle global warming and mass species extinction.

Mr Cooper, who attends the protest with fellow members of Christian Climate Action and goes to St Aiden's Catholic church in Kingsthorpe, says his decision to join the protests is motivated by his Christian faith.

“Pope Francis is clear,” he said. “That Mother Earth is now the greatest victim of our times and so we have both a moral and sacred duty to act”.

“I’m an up-stander. I won’t wait around any more on this issue and I’m ashamed for having done so for so long.

"We have to act for the sake of our children and our children’s children, and governments must play a major part in this”

According to Mr Cooper, some members of Christian Climate Action are prepared to go to prison.

One of the oldest members, a retired university lecturer aged 82, has already been arrested three times since November 14.

“I’m full of admiration for them,” says Mr Cooper, “I don’t feel able to take quite the same number of risks because of the obligations of my employment but hopefully with so many people now joining in with acts of lower risk civil disobedience we won’t have to be in and out of police stations so much.”