XR Oxford Newsletter – May 2024

“The shocking reality is that it is simply not safe to swim in rivers like the Thames due to the huge levels of recent raw sewage discharges. […] Where is the Environment Agency and the Department for Health? Why aren’t they holding the polluters to account and protecting people’s health? Frankly, the Thames should come with a health warning.”

James Wallace, CEO of River Action

This month we will be joining a coalition of groups to protest the abysmal state of our waterways, thanks to Thames Water putting profit over people. The world-famous boat race in March was marred by reports of sickness plaguing the Oxford team, and the supposed designated bathing area in Wolvercote has such high levels of bacteria that bathing is not advised.

Diary Dates

Get Active

The Oxfordshire Clean Rivers Festival

Join the rally to call for a clean and safe Thames!

Sewage pollution in our rivers is at unacceptable levels. We need action now by the government and by Thames Water. Join our rally to make your voice heard and call for action!

The rally is happening by the Thames on Saturday May 25th. There’ll be speakers, entertainment, and food and drink. It’s taking place at the Long Bridges park (near Donnington Bridge). The Oxford University ‘Eights Week’ rowing competition will be happening at the same time – the rowing clubs are supporting our event. The rally is being organised by the Oxfordshire Clean Rivers Initiative, a coalition of organisations including Earthwatch, Oxford Friends of the Earth, River Action, Windrush WASP, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Thames 21, and Oxford University Students Union.

XR Oxford will be doing a banner drop and running an information stall and ’seaside photos’ activity as part of the festival, and will need people to help with all these things. If you would have an hour or two to spare on 25th May, please email xroxfordactions@gmail.com.

Tetiten Swarane Tandur: Hear the Seeds Sing

During Great Big Green Week from 8-16 June, Fusion Arts Oxford is partnering with artists from Soboman Artspace 219 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for an exhibition – ‘Hear the Seeds Sing‘. This collaboration seeks to ignite discussions on climate change, food security, and land justice. Exploring the fading tradition of Cowongan, where Indonesian villagers traditionally prayed to Dewi Sri, the Goddess of rice and fertility, for rain during drought seasons, the exhibition promises a thought-provoking experience. Join Fusion Arts for a week of events, including a panel discussion, artist networking session, poetry writing and a batik workshop.

Restore Nature Now!

XR Oxford will be joining Restore Nature Now in London on 22nd June. Over 100 organisations are uniting with XR and Chris Packham to demand UK politicians to show nature and climate leadership. We’re aiming to hold an Oxford meeting to get ready for the march in June – watch this space! To find out more about the event, join the online open call on Sunday 12th May at 7pm – register here.

Oxford Climate Choir

Oxford Climate Choir rehearsal, Saturday 11th May, 2.30-4.30pm in Headington.

Do you enjoy singing? Would you like to join the growing climate choir movement (see www.climatechoirmovement.org) and help us sing truth to power on the Climate and Nature Emergency? All are welcome, regardless of previous singing experience, and all songs are taught by ear. For more information, including details of the rehearsal venue, email oxford@climatechoirmovement.org

Walk for Earth / Interwoven

Call out for embroiderers able to work over several sessions in June and possibly July this year, on stitching a message onto calico backing fabric which will be attached to a woven textile piece in connection with Walk for Earth / Interwoven, two linked projects to raise awareness of the Stop Ecocide campaign. If you can do even simple embroidery, and are interested, please contact: zoe@walkforearth.co.uk

News

Climate Justice Now

On Saturday 27th April, Oxford Extinction Rebellion was on Cornmarket Street protesting the fact that the richest 1% in the world produce as much carbon pollution as the poorest two-thirds.

The Cornmarket Street action included speeches and drumming, and colourful flags and banners. XR members talked with many passers-by, who also took part in a survey which asked for people’s reaction to this extreme inequality, and for their suggestions for realistic and fair solutions. The group unveiled a graph showing how greenhouse gas emissions are heavily concentrated amongst the wealthiest. Ironically this graph forms the shape of a champagne coupe. 

Read more here