WHAT kind of organisation has the backing of hundreds of scientists, activists purposefully willing to get arrested and the support of a former archbishop? The answer to that question encouraged me to take a leap of faith which found me walking on to a London bridge with people I had never seen before or after.

The year since then has changed me. I am consumed by the climate crisis much of the planet suffers because of our overconsumption of its resources. I think of little else. While lying awake in bed thinking about how to defend myself in an upcoming trial for Extinction Rebellion (XR) action I ended up in tears at the gravity of the environmental catastrophe we are enveloping upon ourselves.

It is a real physical nightmare already for millions of humans and animals who are starving, facing drought, being forced from their homes, insecurity and death.

I am going to London to hammer loudly on the door of Westminster to demand that we take immediate and proportionate action to address the emergency that we all admit is happening but seem unable or unwilling to tackle.

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I am nervous of the special powers that the police have been given to deal with a necessary peaceful protest, but not fearful. There is clarity in the climate science, resolve in that I act in conscience, as well as protection, belief and determination that we can change an economic and political system that is ecologically destructive to all, yet financially beneficial to a tiny few.

I have lived in Scotland for 20 years, but as a native Geordie I am familiar with the October 1936 Jarrow Crusade, a march from the North East of England to Westminster. This changed public opinion and eventually resulted in great social reform.

Now XR Scotland joins with North East England and Cumbria in solidarity of joint action to tell the truth about fossil fuels that power our lives, while sending our future up in smoke.

It has never been more transparent that we must challenge the authority of our government, who are complicit in their links with the fossil fuel industry, through legislation, subsidies and vested interests. Despite all the science and warnings, Britain’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years has been given the go-ahead to open in Cumbria. Ineos, owned by the third richest man in Britain, Jim Ratcliffe, continues to put pressure on government at a local and national level to make it exempt from existing environmental standards. It has already won the approval of Scottish ministers to close a major road between Bo’ness and Grangemouth in order to redevelop its petrochemical plants.

Justice lies at the heart of everything I believe and act for. In transitioning rapidly from our present to a world we would like to see, we must put ecology and justice as a centrepiece.

Such a radical transformation may seem utopian, but it better fits any hope of a sustainable future with a truly democratic foundation. Climate justice will benefit all and eventually bring to court those corporations and governments who have knowingly and deliberately profited at the expense of climate breakdown.

In the meanwhile, the struggle goes on to have our voice and alarm heard.

Andrew Naylor (aged 58) was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and graduated in Psychology from Warwick University before working in conservation and as a psychologist in mental health. He moved to Edinburgh in 2000 and has worked at the National Museums of Scotland, Filmhouse and EIFF, as well as doing voluntary work with the Citizens Advice Bureau. He was arrested three times for XR activity in 2019.