XR Oxford Newsletter – Nature Needs You!

We are in a crisis. A nature crisis. You’ll have heard it before – but the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth. Our coastlines are a sewage dumping ground, farm effluent in our rivers, ancient trees felled, protected species culled and our National Parks mismanaged. And our leaders? They continue to fiddle while the planet burns.
We must take to the streets.

Chris Packham

Restore Nature Now will come less than two weeks before the General Election, giving us a chance to demonstrate that climate should be top of the agenda for candidates. Supported by organisations as diverse as the National Trust and Just Stop Oil, we need everyone pulling together to raise our voices for nature.

Diary Dates

  • Wed 5 June, 12-1:30pm: Silent Sitting at Barclays (Barclays Bank, Cornmarket)
  • Sat 8 June, 12-4:30pm: Leafleting at Jericho Festival (Canal Street)
  • Sat 8-Sun 16 June: Tetiten Swarane Tandur: Hear the Seeds Sing (Fusion Arts Gallery, 95 Gloucester Green, OX1 2BU)
  • Mon 10 June, 7-9pm: All-Oxfordshire meeting / Restore Nature Now march preparation (South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street)
  • Sat 15 June, 2:30-4:30pm: Sing for Nature with Oxford Climate Choir (Gill Garret Room, South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street)
  • Sat 15 June, 1:30-5pm: Make a bird for the Nature March (East Oxford – email xroxfordarts@gmail.com for venue)
  • Wed 19 June, 12-1:30pm: Silent Sitting at Barclays Bank (Barclays Bank, Cornmarket)
  • Sat 22 June, 12pm: Restore Nature Now! (London)
  • Wed 03 July, 12-1:30pm: Silent Sitting at Barclays Bank (Barclays Bank, Cornmarket)

Get Active

Restore Nature Now

As many will probably now know, XRUK, alongside big names such as the National Trust and the RSPB, is one of the high profile organisations putting together a massive march for nature in central London on Saturday 22nd June. The march has supporting organisations running to the hundreds, ranging from Goths Against Climate Change to the Crab Museum. It should be big, and will send a strong message to campaigning parties that nature matters to thousands of us. If you can make it, please sign up on the website!

XR Oxford is supporting people to be there in a number of ways.

At our All Rebels Meeting on Monday 10th June (7-9pm at the South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street OX1 4RP), we will be making placards and nature-themed props to take on the march, as well as discussing practicalities (like how to get there and where to meet), and the wider implications of the general election for XR. If you’d like to make a placard, please bring some cardboard.

If you’re feeling creative, we are holding an Arts Session on Saturday 15 June from 1:30-5pm. We will make birds out of cardboard to be painted and placed on bamboo poles. All ages welcome, though children should be accompanied by an adult, as there will be some cutting involved. Email xroxfordarts@gmail.com to book your place and for details of the venue, in East Oxford.

Alternatively, if you enjoy singing, Oxford Climate Choir needs your voice! We will be joining with other Climate Choirs to create a choir hundreds strong (as we did at The Big One last April) and we’ll have a special role to play in the march and rally. Our workshop / rehearsal on 15th June from 2:30-4:30pm at South Oxford Community Centre will be a chance to learn the songs for the march. All are welcome – no previous experience or music-reading ability is required. For more information about the Climate Choir movement, our mission to ‘sing truth to power’, and footage of recent climate actions, see www.climatechoirmovement.org/

On the day: Oxford rebels will be mostly be travelling down to London on the Oxford Tube – departures from Gloucester Green at 9:32, 9:40 and 9:50 are the ones we’ll be aiming at, getting off at Marble Arch for the Park Lane gathering point. You are, of course, entirely free to make your own way! 

The plan is that the march will start assembling at Park Lane from 12:00. While it assembles, we’re hoping to put together a giant ‘Oxfordshire says Restore Nature Now!’ photo call featuring Oxfordshire marchers from all the different groups participating. That’s currently planned for 12:15 at Queen Elizabeth Gate (in Hyde Park, the far end of Park Lane from Marble Arch). So whether you’re on the Tube with other rebels, or making your own way, please do try to join!

XR Oxford is able to reimburse costs of transport to Restore Nature Now, for anyone who might otherwise find it difficult to go. Please email xroxfordcoordinator@gmail.com for details of how to be reimbursed.


General Election

The General Election on 4th July will provide us with a unique opportunity to put pressure on our political system to change for the better, as we strive to upgrade democracy. XRUK is working on plans, but for the meantime there is interim guidance from December.

XR Oxford is not directly campaigning, but many of our members have joined a local team with Greenpeace Project Climate Vote.

Find out about your local MP’s climate voting record at Vote Climate.

Clean River Festival

On 25 May, XR Oxford joined a coalition of local groups at the Oxfordshire Clean Rivers Fest to celebrate our much-loved local River Thames and its tributaries, and to protest about the horrifying levels of sewage pollution.  The background to the event was the popular Oxford University Eights Week rowing races which brought the crowds out onto the towpath.  The Festival at Longbridges Nature Reserve offered a family fun atmosphere with music, entertainment, food and drink, and talks from both national and local speakers, all with a serious campaigning intent.

XR Oxford ran an outreach stall promoting the XR Dirty Water campaign and the Restore Nature Now action on 22 June.  The XRO Seaside Board offered a fun photo-opportunity activity, and the XR Drummers added to the entertainment drawing the public into the site.

‘Sun, Swim and Sewage’ and ‘Unite for Clean Water’ banners were dropped from both sides of Donnington Bridge with more outreach opportunities.

A small group spontaneously enacted wild water swimming in sewage-polluted conditions, whilst Thames Water fat cats gloated over their dividend payouts.

Sewage pollution in our rivers is at unacceptable levels. We need action now by the next government and by Thames Water.  The coalition of organisations that formed the Oxfordshire Clean Rivers Initiative, including Earthwatch, Oxford Friends of the Earth, River Action, Windrush WASP, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Thames 21, and Oxford University Students Union, will continue to campaign for change to the regulation of water companies and their regulators OFWAT and the Environment Agency.  A change of government and a change in the way our public utilities are run.

Photos: Suzanne Williams and Feng Ho