What is it really like to be at an environmental protest?
When you put aside the relentless government and media spin, what are we actually saying and thinking?
Are we, the people, really so very divided on the crises we face, or are we being set against one another to keep us squabbling and distracted?
The divisions may not be as strong as the media and government would have us believe.
At the time of the protest, Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove had just given the green light for the coalmine to go ahead, the first time this has happened in over 30 years.
All the while, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak continues to seek more ways to criminalise protest.
As I’ve said before, this is a grave new world and we need to sit up and pay attention more than ever.
So, with that in mind, I didn’t simply accompany my friends from XR out of solidarity, I also took my audio gear with me to record the events and conversations as they unfolded so that you could listen too.
You can hear those recordings below and they’re also on the brand new Audio page.
I happen to think they’re eye-opening and very powerful, if only because they completely blow apart some of the myths sold to us by the government and the press.
The sonic collection starts with a long-form soundscape, but scroll down and you can simply dive into some shorter clips if you’d like to.
Listen carefully to the soundscape and you’ll hear how the protest gradually moves from a ‘classic’ scenario of tensions between those for and against the coalmine to constructive conversations between the two parties as they hammer out the issues.
Like me, you’ll hear opinions that you do and don’t agree with. But what did I learn that cold December day? That the two parties are actually more unified than we realise.
Our perceived divisions are often completely fabricated by the state to set people against one another.
As Hazel Graham says in her speech, we would be so much more powerful and greater in number if we could overcome those false divisions and unite.
Perceived divisions were healed that day and it was very moving to be a part of it in some small way.
Love and courage,