XR Oxford Newsletter – October 2023

At a time when so many households across the UK are struggling with the cost of living, Rosebank’s owners Equinor and Ithaca Energy are set to receive a tax break worth £3.75 billion. Whilst the UK government rightly wants to secure energy supplies, Rosebank is 90 percent oil likely for export. The best way to secure energy, and to bring down bills is to rapidly expand energy efficiency measures whilst boosting reliable and cheap renewables in harmony with nature’s recovery.

Stop Rosebank Coalition

No sooner had the UK government signalled that it was backpedalling on climate action, it went ahead with approving the disastrous Rosebank oilfield. XR Oxford immediately sprang to action along with groups around the country. We must make sure that these plans are stopped in their tracks.

Dates for your diary

  • Wed 11 October, 7:30-9pm: Oxford Talks, Training, and Engagement Working Group Meeting (Jericho – email xroxford.tte@gmail.com for details)
  • Thu 12 October, 11:30am-1:30pm: Cancel the Debt Coalition, BoE London (Bank of England, City of London EC3V 3LL)
  • Sat 14 October, 11am-1pm: Get Equinor out of Oxford! Protest at STEM Careers Fair (Examination Schools, 75-81 High Street)
  • Sat 14 October, 2:30-4:30pm: Oxford Climate Choir October rehearsal (South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street)
  • Mon 16 October, 6:30-8pm: A Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford (Wesley Memorial Hall, New Inn Hall Street)
  • Wed 18 October, 7:30-9pm: South Oxford Geese Affinity Group Meeting (New Hinksey – email soxgeese@gmail.com)
  • Sun 29 October onwards: Just Stop Oil slow march campaign (London)
  • Tue 21st November, 7-9pm: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Workshop (The Community Works, 21 Park End Street)

Get Active

Get Equinor out of Oxford!

Equinor, the Norwegian oil company involved in the Rosebank oilfield is going to be at Oxford University STEM careers fair next Saturday, 14th October. Are you outraged that the University is helping Big Oil recruit graduates to do its dirty work? If so, join us outside the Examination Schools on High Street from 11am-1pm. Bring placards, flags and your voices for chanting. For more information or if you’d like to help organise the protest, email xroxfordactions@gmail.com. See also https://www.stopcambo.org.uk.

A Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford

On 2nd October, Oxford City Council declared its support for a Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford. Now, Climate Collective Oxford, a group working to establish a CEC, wants your help, as we think about what that centre will do, and how it will achieve its aims of reaching diverse groups with information and solutions on the climate emergency, and building community cohesion and resilience.

Please come along to a public meeting on Monday 16th October 6.30-8pm at the Wesley Memorial Hall, New Inn Hall Street, OX1 2DH, to find out more about plans for a Centre for Oxford and how you can get involved.

Digital Action – Defend the defenders of Rempang Island!

The Indonesian government and corporations are forcibly evicting indigenous and local community of Rempang Island to build a mega project called Rempang Eco City, which is part of the Nationally Strategic Projects (a set of prioritized development mega projects of Indonesia that mostly involve human rights violation and are carbon intensive in nature). Check the Solidarity Toolkit for social media actions here.


Action to Stop Rosebank

Photo credit: Feng Ho

Late in September, the UK government gave the go-ahead to the Rosebank oil field. On 1 October, XR Oxford joined Stop Cambo, Fossil Free London, Extinction Rebellion UK and others in talking to the streets to protest the approval of this climate destructive project. The action was joined by XR Oxford Rhythms band and XR Oxford Singers.

Rosebank is the UK’s biggest undeveloped oil and gas field. It will be developed by the oil and gas giant Equinor, which is majority-owned by the Norwegian government. The project has been called a climate bomb. Burning Rosebank’s oil and gas is expected to create more carbon dioxide than the combined emissions of the world’s 28 low-income countries. If we want a liveable climate, there can be no new oil and gas projects. That means NO ROSEBANK.

Photo credit: Feng Ho

“Rishi Sunak’s decision to go ahead with Rosebank was so outrageous that it inspired many to take the streets to protest for the first time today. As a mother, I’m absolutely horrified by the government’s actions. Opening up a new oil field when we desperately need to transition to green & renewable energy is utter madness. I’m here for my children, and for children around the world. We are seeing the effects of the climate crisis right now and it’s heartbreaking to witness. We must show the UK government that we don’t want Rosebank and fight for a U-turn in this decision”, Feng Ho said.

Defend the Right to Protest

Photo credit: Zoe Broughton

“Jurors: you have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience”

Trudi Warner faces jail for a placard that tells the truth. Across the country on 25th September, including outside Oxford Crown Court, protestors repeated her clear message – that juries should not be coerced by the judiciary.

Witnesses are sworn to tell the truth, and yet defendants are being prevented from telling the truth about the climate crisis. Watch our video from the protest here.

Restore Nature Now

Photo credit: Feng Ho

Members of XR Oxford joined over 40 environmental charities and climate groups and Chris Packham in protesting outside offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to demand the government take urgent action to restore nature. The action was directed at DEFRA offices across the country, including London, York, Reading, Newcastle, and Bristol. It was in response to The State of Nature report, whch showed that 16% of the UK’s wildlife species are at risk of extinction. UK wildlife has declined by an average of 19% since 1970. Parents and grandparents joined us in this protest, and for many, it was their first foray into activism. Take the example of a mother who came for her son, who recently learned about plastic pollution and climate change at school. He was devastated and begged her to take action.

At the action, Chris Packham shared a powerful message: “Let your heart guide your actions, use your head to shape them, but stand up for nature because nature can’t speak, but we can. Nature can’t act, but we must.”

Restore Nature Now demands that all the major political parties commit to robust, resilient, and practical policies in their manifestos to restore natural biodiversity. These policies must make nature-friendly farming, forestry, and fishing practices mandatory.

Chris Packham has also released a remarkable documentary: Is It Time To Break the Law? He interviews Greta Thunberg, Roger Hallam, and Andreas Malm, and comes to a startling conclusion. It can be watched free online (registration required).

Stop Jackdaw

XR Oxford picketed the Shell garage in Headington and ran a stall at Headington crossroads on Saturday 30th September. We were asking people to complain to Shell asking them not to open the Jackdaw gas field and to stop any new oil and gas exploitation. We also asked them to tell the government to stop issuing new gas and oil licences. We got a very friendly response from the public who seemed to be impressed that we were managing to be both at the crossroads and at the Shell garage. The letter to local MP, Anneliese Dodds, asking Labour to commit to revoking the new license for Rosebank oil field attracted queues of people wanting to sign. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the action. If you weren’t able to support the action on the day you can still send your own emails, details below:

  • Tell Shell we are against them expanding gas and oil production, and against the Jackdaw gas field.
    Contact Shell: complaint@shellenergy.co.uk
  • Tell the government to stop issuing new oil and gas licences.
    Contact Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero: grahamstuartmp@parliament.uk

Oxford Climate Choir joins Flashmob in the Science Museum

On Saturday, a group of singers from Oxford Climate Choir (aka XR Oxford Singers) joined around 100 members of other climate choirs to stage a ‘flashmob’ in the Science Museum in London. They were demanding that the museum’s trustees refuse sponsorship (which comes with ‘gagging clauses’ preventing criticism of the sponsor) from fossil fuel companies. In particular, the protest was aimed at Adani, the giant oil and gas producer, which (almost unbelievably) will be sponsoring the museum’s new Energy Revolution Climate Change gallery. The museum also has sponsorship deals with BP and Equinor.

The choirs sang in the museum for nearly an hour, moving from gallery to gallery, while banners reading ’Science Museum, Stop Ignoring Science’ were unfurled from the gallery. For more details and video, see here.

Would you like to join the fast-growing Climate Choir movement, and raise your voice to protest for a better world? Oxford Climate Choir meets once a month on Saturday afternoons to rehearse. Our next session will be this Saturday, 14th October, 2.30-4.30pm at South Oxford Community Centre. We have an exciting action coming up in London during COP 28 as well as some ideas for local protests. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience, so join us if you can.

For more information, email oxford@climatechoirmovement.org