The demonstrations, which are being organised by a group of ‘concerned citizens’, come as environmental activists Extinction Rebellion launches two weeks of climate protests across London.
Around a dozen Islanders took to the high street carrying banners and signs, claiming that some of the ‘worst offending companies for ecocide’ are located in Jersey. Their march followed publication of the latest report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that human activity was changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways.
Protesters made their way towards the offices of finance company JP Morgan Chase, in Seaton Place, where they delivered a series of speeches before staging a ‘die in’ outside the main entrance.
In a statement, the group said they had no intention of ‘targeting ordinary Islanders and workers’.
They said: ‘The reality is that whatever steps we may take as individuals to live sustainably, although these of course are important for changing mindsets, it will make absolutely no difference. The real change that is needed is contingent on there being a shift at the highest levels of power, and it is now clear that this shift will only come about from sustained pressure.
‘As has been the case with numerous issues throughout history – ending the slave trade, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement – it is evident that this job has been left to us as ordinary people.’
Earlier this year Jersey’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change brought forward a series of recommendations designed to tackle the Island’s climate emergency. This included bans on new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025, free bus travel for young Islanders and retrofitting homes with energy-saving measures.
In a statement, a campaigner attending yesterday’s protest who didn’t want to be named, said: ‘While our government has declared a climate emergency and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030, we have not seen any meaningful action being taken. Rather we are witnessing that those elected to serve us are making decisions that have made life more difficult and unsustainable for many Islanders.’
The UN’s IPCC report warned of increasing extremes in weather, including droughts, floods and wildfires and found that sea levels were very likely to rise during the rest of this century, threatening many small islands.
The report prompted several local environmentalists to call on the government to take a tougher stance against large carbon-emitting companies investing in Jersey.
Extinction Rebellion’s demonstrations in the UK are scheduled to take place throughout several central locations, including St James’s Park and Piccadilly Circus. In 2019 the group faced a significant backlash from the government when protesters blocked roads throughout the capital causing disruption to thousands of commuters.