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XR art exhibition set to close Cambridge petrol station

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XR campaigner Amelia Halls' Tell The Truth artwork highlights climate injustice
XR campaigner Amelia Halls' Tell The Truth artwork highlights climate injustice

Extinction Rebellion Cambridge is to transform a petrol station into a climate justice art exhibition today (January 18).

The climate change activism group will hold a day-long blockade of the Elizabeth Way BP garage, setting up a pop-up art exhibition. The group hopes to bring curious passers-by into the exhibition, which will use visual and written art to call attention to the climate crisis and what they claim are ‘greenwashing’ tactics used by BP to hide it.

It will be the latest action in XR Cambridge’s youth-led ‘Rebel for Justice’ campaign, in which the following demands have been made to local institutions:

- The University of Cambridge to cut ties with fossil fuel industry

- Cambridge City Council must hold a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Justice. “We are looking forward to working with them to ensure that this is a robust process which puts real decision-making power into the hands of ordinary people,” said a spokesperson for the protesters. “This includes ensuring that any decisions the assembly make are binding, not simply advisory.”

- Cambridgeshire County Council must work with other relevant regional authorities to provide a plan for a just transition away from an inadequate transport system reliant on fossil fuels.

How Extinction Rebellion protests visually, this on a bus helter
How Extinction Rebellion protests visually, this on a bus helter

By shutting the petrol station, the group intends to “highlight the toxic nature of the fossil fuel industry”, and the over-reliance of Cambridgeshire infrastructure on highly polluting forms of transport. If their demands are not met, the group has warned it will “escalate its actions, culminating in a week-long roadblock beginning February 16”.

The group stresses that the target of the action is BP, not motorists – XR says it does not blame individuals and instead demands that the government takes emergency action to bring about rapid system change, ending reliance on fossil fuels. The Council is currently aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We do not have the luxury of 30 further years when the planet is burning and people are dying,” added the spokesperson.

Expect visual art, poetry and live performances, culminating in “a turning of the tables - BP itself will be greenwashed” on Elizabeth Way.

Tom, a member of XR Youth Cambridge, added: “BP spends over $50million on greenwashing campaigns each year to confuse and mislead the public while continuing its highly destructive oil-drilling operations. We want to reiterate to BP that they are not welcome in Cambridge or anywhere else and that we are again going to shut down their petrol station to show them this. This shutdown will be the longest we’ve carried out so far in an escalation proportional to the worsening climate crisis. During the protest, we’ll be hosting an art exhibition focusing on climate justice to highlight the suffering that companies like BP help cause every day.”

Ayshe Mira's work has existential leaninigs
Ayshe Mira's work has existential leaninigs

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