LONDON — About 150 mothers with babies and young children defied a police ban on climate protests to stage a “nurse-in” outside the London offices of Google on Wednesday, while activists launched a parallel protest at the premises of its subsidiary YouTube.
The mothers said they were acting in response to a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper last week that said Google has made “substantial” contributions to climate deniers in Washington despite saying it supports climate action.
“It’s just a terrible betrayal to all the parents, families and children that are suffering as a result of the climate and ecological crisis,” said Lorna Greenwood, one of the organizers of the mass nurse-in.
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Google said in the Guardian report: “We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organizations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy.”
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George Monbiot, an award-winning author and high-profile Guardian columnist, was arrested for defying a citywide police ban on all protests by the decentralized group of climate activists.
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“A few hours after this column is published, I hope to be in a police cell,” Monbiot wrote in advance of joining the demonstration. “I dont yet know what the charge will be, where I will be arrested or when, but I know that if I go home this evening without feeling the hand of the law on my sleeve, I will have failed.
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In his column, he pointed out that mass arrests in peaceful civil disobedience campaigns have proven effective in the past. To support this point, he cited the history of the suffragette movement, the Indian salt marchers, the civil rights movement, and the democracy movements in Poland and Germany.
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The Guardian has reported that as of 8 a.m. London time today, there have been 1,642 arrests at Extinction Rebellion protests.
In June, Extinction Rebellion protesters shut down traffic in New York City in front of the New York Times building to protest the way the newspaper has been covering climate change.
One of those demonstrations took place outside Googles office. Activists demanded that the U.S. tech giant stop hosting misleading and dangerous climate-denial videos on YouTube.
Monbiots book Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning, which was published in 2006, showed how to achieve a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
His recommendations were largely ignored by governments around the world, which is one reason why so many climate activists are engaging in peaceful civil disobedience in 2019.
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Last week, Monbiot delivered a speech at another Extinction Rebellion event praising the “weird” for launching a climate rebellion.
“Those of us—who because we have a different view of the world and see things differently have been marginalized for years—have found each other. And have found a way of projecting those views that were marginal into the mainstream,” he said. “It is no coincidence that the person who has done more than anyone else to change the entire global conversation on climate breakdown has Aspergers. Humanity cannot survive if everyone is looking at the world in the same way.”
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“From our earliest origins, groups who could see the world in different ways had higher chances of survival than those who only saw it in one way,” Monbiot continued. “And one of the extraordinary things that Greta Thunberg has done is to get us to talk about this existential crisis in ways we werent talking about it before.”