X Close

Green activism is turning apocalyptic

A Just Stop Oil protestor sprays an orange substance on the Aston Martin Store in Mayfair

November 8, 2022 - 3:46pm

A few weeks ago, I was standing in the cobbled lane that runs between Norwich Cathedral and its exquisite 14th century gatehouse when I heard a man yelling. I assumed initially that he was one of the people who had come to protest a talk that I had just given as part of Norwich’s Hostry Arts Festival, but it soon became clear that it was not trans activism that was exercising him. 

No, this bearded, dishevelled man was prophesying the end of the world. “You won’t be smiling when your children are starving to death,” he shouted at me as I was hurried away, “climate collapse is coming for us all.” 

The security hired to escort me past the other set of protestors explained that this kind of wandering doomsayer has become a fixture in Norwich, a city that contains an unusually large number of political activists. Like most people, their attitude towards Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and other radical environmentalist organisations was one of weary annoyance.

I suspect that, historically, this has been the typical view taken by ordinary people when met with millenarians of all kinds. The mediaeval setting made the sight of this figure in brown rags seem particularly archaic, but he has likely imbibed his vision of coming collapse from a much more conventionally dressed activist who is nevertheless drawing from our Christian past with equal fervour. Roger Hallam is one of the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion and, in a clip widely shared this week, has spoken of the future in apocalyptic tones:

The other thing about social collapse is the complete collapse of material security
What will happen is there will be episodes when
 a gang of young men come into your house, they take your girlfriend, they take your mother, they put her onto the table, and they gang rape her in front of you. Then after that, they take a hot stick and they poke out your eyes and blind you.
- Roger Hallam

These kinds of visions — complete with a pornographic level of detail — are the emotional driving force behind the radical environmentalist movement, which is growing more extreme. In recent months, followers have escalated from the damage of property to the mortification of their own flesh. In April, an American activist died through self-immolation in the plaza of the United States Supreme Court Building. In September, another activist set himself on fire in London’s O2 Arena during a tennis match, although the flames were quickly extinguished. 

To describe this movement as religious — more specifically, Christian — should not be to dismiss it. It’s possible that these activists are right about the seriousness of climate change, and they are certainly motivated by a sincere belief in the justness of their cause. 

But then millenarians have always been sincere. It’s possible that the young woman who yesterday filmed herself standing on a motorway gangway and sobbing, “I don’t have a future” could, in other circumstances, have been a contented member of her local Anglican congregation, with her fears of apocalypse soothed by moderate Christian teachings. 

But it’s far more likely that people with this temperament have always been drawn more to the Book of Revelation than to the Gospels. Even if they express themselves in ostensibly secular terms, these modern millenarians are calling on radical, apocalyptic elements in Christianity that have been with us for two thousand years. This will not have been the first time that a self-styled prophet stood outside Norwich Cathedral shouting that the end is nigh.


Louise Perry is a freelance writer and campaigner against sexual violence.

Louise_m_perry

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

73 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

The UN seems to be deliberately fanning the flames with statements such as from Antonio Gutteres that we are heading for Climate Hell. Why are they doing it?

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

In his case, because he is an old man trying to look trendy. If he shrugged it all off, he would be accused of ‘not understanding’ because he is too old.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Possibly because they have good reason to believe that some very unpleasant and dangerous climate changes are coming, and that we had better do something about heading them off?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

They would be taken more seriously if they used less inflammatory language.
Talking like a person with a “The end of the world is nigh” placard is doomed to failure.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Seems to have got him an article on UnHerd. And your attention.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If so their evidence is very sketchy

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I am skeptical because we are continually given hysterical predictions about what will happen. Exaggeration is piled on top of exaggeration. According to earlier predictions the arctic should be ice free by now. It’s not. There are still 10-12 million square kilometers of ice. It’s hardly less that it was 40 or 50 years ago. We have been told that by now London would be under water. It’s not. There have been headlines like “sea levels to rise by 100 feet”. Sea level is currently rising at about 1 foot per hundred years. So that 100 feet represents 10 thousand years. The predictions from these activists is far outside anything that even the IPCC has said.
This is all crying wolf. They are trying frighten us. I feel like I’m being forced by a high pressure salesman to sign on the dotted line before I’ve read the contract.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Elliott
Kevin L
Kevin L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Who are the people telling you these things? Links please?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin L

Google it Mr Lazy.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

sceptical.. no “k”

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

My house by the sea According to forecasts 20 years ago should be underwater by now.

In fact the sea level is exactly the same. The beach high water mark has marched towards the sea each year.

Also high on the cliff above my house about 15 to 20 metres up are a row of iron rings where in the Middle Ages fishermen used to tie their boats. The only explanation is that the sea level was much higher then,

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I read somewhere that Al Gore has some very nice sea front properties.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Depending on where you live, this could be glacial rebound. So ground level may have been much lower in the past. Sea levels are rising, the dispute is about how fast. It doesn’t seem to be as fast as the apocalypse tribe say.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

According to what I’ve read, glacial rebound is occurring in Scandinavia, due to the melting of ice age glaciers there, and as a consequence the Netherlands have been sinking, since they’re on the same tectonic plate — sort of like a teeter-totter effect. That might apply to the British isles as well.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

Yes it does. In general the North is rising and the south is sinking. Bit more complicated than that, but an easy way to think about it. Also in parts of USA

Richie Corscadden
Richie Corscadden
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Well watching Gutteres at COP27 wearing a face mask for certain photo ops then choosing not to wear one for others, shows the level of idiocy or propagandism we are dealing with.

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

What can he actually do? He is the head of the United nations but has no ability to force any country to do anything. All he can do is advocate and appeal. It’s hardly his fault that that is not working.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Religious cults — which the writer correctly sees as templates for Extinction Rebellion and similar outfits — being faith, not fact-based, remain unmoved by more than fifty years of failed doomsday predictions. Starting on Earth Day 1970, “experts” like Paul Ehrlich (which stands for “honest” in German) have told us there would be mass-famines in the 1980s, and England would no longer ‘exist’ by 2000. Not to be outdone, Peter Gunter predicted that by 2000 the entire world except the US, western Europe and Australia would be dying of starvation too, Kenneth Watt predicted our atmosphere would become so dark nothing could be grown, Nigel Calder forecast a new Ice Age in 1975, as did Life Magazine and many other sources; it also predicted that by 1985 all city dwellers would need to wear gas masks. More recently, Al Gore upped the ante by announcing in 2008 that the Polar ice cap would be completely gone in 2013, and in 2006 James Hansen, the ‘doyen’ of American climate researchers, said we only had 10 years to bring CO2 down to avert catastrophe; there would be no more snow in England … I could go on, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome.

Last edited 1 year ago by Wim de Vriend
Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

He was singing for his supper?

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

This whole climate thing is a ‘King’s New Clothes’ type of issue. If you dare to say that the Earth is not really threatened (which it isn’t) then you must be blind. So no-one wants to be left out, everybody agrees and says that it is all wonderful, “Aren’t we all doing a great thing!!”
What is needed is an even younger version of Greta, who says “But the king is naked.”

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

How do you know the Earth is not threatened?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

um – it survived a meteor strike 70million years ago so it will survive our pathetic impacts on it. People need to ‘get’ that it is the human race at risk NOT remotely the planet. Typical human arrogance to think we can threaten a whole planet what ?

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Totally agree. I read that the asteroid that hit the earth 65 million years ago released energy equivalent to billions of atomic bombs. Half the species on earth were made extinct almost overnight and yet here we are. I sometimes think that the human race may not have evolved at all if it hadn’t been for that asteroid. In our puny lifetimes it appears that the earth is steady, stable and unchanging but it’s not. Even without humans it changes all the time, species come and go, continents drift around, mountains rise and fall. Nothing stays the same.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Ah, so you are saying that the actual lump of rock will keep circling the sun. The risk is only to every hyuman being and a large fraction of all other living organisms. So, that’s all right then?

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think you missed the point Rasmus.

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think that he is saying that the planet will still be here but the humans and other creatures that depend on the current biosphere may not. I don’t think that he is welcoming that prospect, just pointing out a fact.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

And it’s going to happen one day anyway.
Rasmus seems to be the in same narcissistic family that believe we should live forever as those who want to wish the lifecycle of the universe away.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It’s worth taking a big step back, you know. Being an astronomer helps a lot. It sort of “right-sizes” one a bit.

So the answer to your angry question, Mr Fogh, is that in the scheme of things, No. It doesn’t matter a toss if the earth’s population all disappears tomorrow.

The earth and the entire solar system in which it exists, are a speck of dust, in the Albert Hall. The only thing more stupid than worrying about stuff like this, is thinking that you can change it.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Spot on. But the narcissists can’t accept this fate.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

How do you know it is?? I correctly assumed the Null hypothesis with Covid hysteria, and as a result of this now realise that it very likely also applies to the ‘climate emergency ‘.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Because CO2 concentrations have been 20 times higher in the distant past than they are now and that didn’t cause some runaway greenhouse apocalypse. We’re not much above an all-time low. Because we’re still coming out of the last ice age.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago

Hopefully, or we could be in an interglacial period.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

What state, exactly, should the world exist in?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If you honestly believe that the earth is only now suddenly threatened, after 4.5 billion years of massive changes, then I can only wish you well and move on.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

There simply is no legitimate science that supports the theory of imminent ecological collapse.
Many advocacy groups, who depend on motivating people to donate money, have exaggerated some of the “worst case” scenerios and come up with some wild predictions. But they’re not supported by any real science.
Such a serious topic deserves some careful consideration. It might be better to not make the general anxiety level of our age worse by repeating such wild predictions.

Last edited 1 year ago by laurence scaduto
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

How do you know it is threatened?

Rebecca Bartleet
Rebecca Bartleet
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

More like Chicken Licken…

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Turn vegan and stop driving cars and impoverish yourself… or your girlfriend will be raped and your eyes put out.

This is supposed to be a winning political strategy?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

They are not seeking a democratically- achieved goal. It must be brutally enforced.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

We had a similar stream of nutters appealing to their preferred verses of the bible (science)on here the other day, all riled up about oat milk.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

Also – quit the cheap and utterly Wrong comparing this Radical Green to Christianity.

Western Philosophy came from the amazingly intellectual Catholic Church where all the Universities originated. In the Dark Ages tens of Thousands of Priests educated to high standards in reading, classics, Philosophy, and Theology were sent out into the world to civilize it, to educate it. Tens of thousands of Monks sat in monasteries and Abbeys hand copying books to enlighten the world. Great Cathedrals built, lines of communication developed.

Millions of books are written on Christianity, its philosophy and meaning – the early scientists were all Priests, or Monks, they were the educated and thinking people.

Christianity has a hierarchy, a creed, a BOOK laying it out which is Universal – practices, a billion hours of devoted study and practices in a structured and ordered way…

Call this anarchist, ignorant, group anything like Christianity just shows the ignorance of the writer on Religion, she obviously is educated in modern, sneering of religion, schools.

Religion has a Book, then great amount of the best thinkers having studied it and developed the creeds and cultices (practices). It has a hierarchy, a finance stream, headquarters, structures, education, philosophy………….

These are barbarians – no set creed or learning, no hierarchy with authority to set the philosophy and creeds and rules…This is NOT a religion.

This is as stupid analogy as calling some innercity gang of thugs a Military and contrasting them to the British Army….

The young today have no clue – ‘education’ is making them more stupid by merely filling them with agenda instead of educating them.

Leigh Collier
Leigh Collier
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

What I noticed in this article was the lack of any reference to any of the words actually written in the Book of Revelation (incidentally, “Revelation”, singular, not “Revelations”, plural). There nothing whatever in the article to show any kind of link to the Book of Revelation. I can only assume that the reference to the Book of Revelation was included to in some way add some spice – unless of course the motivation was to slander christians by associating them with people who everyone else would regard as deluded fanatics. I hope that the latter was not the motivation, but no clear motivation was given for making reference to the Book of Revelation.

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

The ancient word for “radicals” like this doomsday cult is “heretics.” Specifically, they are Gnostics, turning Revelation on its head.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

I’m interested to know what they see as their ideal future. We know what they don’t want – fossil fuels, capitalism and so on but what do they want the world to be like? Some kind of simple agrarian society perhaps.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

I think it is a death cult. If they were honest they want 7.5 billion people to die. A population of 200 to 500 million is the upper limit of what they see as sustainable.

The thing is if they keep going and this plunges the world into war. They might get their 500 million. A communist green utopia and the landscape of dust and poisoned air. Just like Mars in fact. They don’t call it the Red Planet.

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Why assume that nonsense? We can’t live beyond the ability of the planet to sustain humanity and we are crashing into environmental barriers everywhere. No matter what you think, the biosphere dictates how things will be for life on this planet, not your shallow ideology.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

The idea that there are people who actually want 90% of us humans to die out is not new, nor is the absurdity of those that do naturally believing that they and theirs will be among the 10% of lucky survivors who will go on to inherit a cleaner, greener new Eden (‘..and a new day will dawn, for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter’ etc. Led Zeppelin circa 1973)
That these hysterical climate catastrophists may well now be in ideological lockstep with a real, actual dastardly plan by the elites to reduce the human population down to half a billion through some engineered Satan bug that they and their security/technicals/farmers and flunkies etc. will have been secretly vaccinated against (Covid a concept testing dry run possibly?) has got to be the greatest of ironies. I very much doubt they’ll want a bunch of useless, whining millennials and Zeders to look after once the smell has finally died down.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

cult? n not l?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“I don’t have a future” 
So not about the world but about “me”.

Simon James
Simon James
1 year ago

They’ve got ‘issues’, as we used to say.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

Today is the most important voting day in 150 years – the USA Midterms. The MAGA Republican incomers have their first sight set on reversing these insane Green Policies which will bankrupt the world and lead to War, Famine, Poverty, Pestilence –

If any of the mad Greens expect to have a pension and a working society able to care for them than they should not be destroying it economically in their hurry.ï»ż

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

My friend who is a farmer of a highly mechanised farm. Has told me that he estimates that his farm produces about 6 to 8 times the food per acre than 150 years ago on his land on a hillside in Wales

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

That has happened for only a very short time. The old agriculture lasted for thousands of years.
Modern farming depends on techniques and chemicals that are now fading in their effectiveness.
Human have become a plague and are eating the things crucial for their existence faster than they can be replenished. The only way forward is down. Every plague ends with a catastrophic population collapse and that is what currently confronts us. The only question is when.
That is without the present geopolitical nonsense and climate change. Nature runs the show and we are totally ignoring, if not actively destroying it.
We won’t win.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago

The young woman who sobbed that she had no future should have done the noble thing and JUMPED! That way she would be helping with the present day (supposed) food shortages and (supposed) over-population problem. Oh, and there would be one less activist for the Police to serve tea to.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

I think 6 months in a psychiatric care institution might be a better way forward for the individual 


Leigh Collier
Leigh Collier
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Yes, as long as it wasn’t by inconveniencing a lot of innocent people unconnected to her. So, no jumping off a motorway bridge or a railway platform: instead, some more considerate way of achieving that end.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

I accept that the planet is warming.
I accept that an increased world population plays a part. e.g. concreting over absorbable land in rich countries (causing flooding) and cutting down trees in poor countries for firewood (reducing rain).
BUT until we are shown (with verifiable facts) that renewable energy will cover ALL our energy needs in the future, most people will be sceptical of the statements made by the activists. So:-
(1) How much renewable energy goes into the UK national grid each year, covering winter and summer?
(2) How much of it is generated here and how much comes in from places like France which has excess nuclear power at certain times of the day.
(3) How much extra energy will be needed from the grid when motor vehicles are all electric?
Taking all that into account HOW and WHERE are we going to get the renewable energy needed to cover heating, lighting and tech equipment in the home, the workplace, factory and hospital in the future. Tidal and wave experiments have had little success to date.
We need a dose of honesty!

Leigh Collier
Leigh Collier
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Some of that honesty needs to be applied to the undeniable fact that until today’s major polluting countries agree to take major and credible steps towards reducing their emissions, there is very little point in countries such as Britain twisting ourselves into all sorts of (highly inconvenient and massively expensive) contortions when nothing that this country can do can make any more than minimal difference to the total outcome on this planet. Attempting to portray ourselves as more righteous than these other evil polluting countries makes zilch contribution to the actual problem and only makes us look like egotistical prats. These fanatics and activists probably are egotistical prats, but the rest of us don’t want to be tarred with that brush.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

The planet has warmed and the planet has cooled in very long cycles for 4.5 billion years. Don’t fall for this stuff. Man can’t change the movement of the tectonic plates, solar flares and the tilt of earth’s axis.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Penguins go back over 60 million years. But the Frozen Plant would have you believe they face extinction.

I believe in climate change and the need to take action. What I resent is being hammered with bad science.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Precisely!

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

You are right to want to move onto facts. The global discussion is amazingly fact free, even if you accept global warming at face value. A more pressing point is that we may not have enough of the right metals for the whole world to go down the current net zero route. I would like a proper energy policy, based on a grown up discussion. Honesty would indeed be a good start.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

That photo is a doozy! Transvestite and eco-nutter in one!

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And a comb over to boot. I’m not surprised it looks unhappy.

Malvin Marombedza
Malvin Marombedza
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

A case of madness coming in packages.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago

As someone who spent the vast majority of their youth growing up in Norfolk and by extension, Norwich (a fine city), it’s sad to read about the eco-loonies having such a foothold there. I blame those lot at the UAE having their fears and indulgences fed at every turn and getting the better of them. Ideally these people need to be kept away from the Cathedrals and places like Tombland and moved onto Prince of Wales Road on a weekend night to lecture the revellers who will tell them a thing or two about their “crisis”.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Ahhh Norfolk! If only the rest of nu britn were like Norfolk! Owned and run by landowners, low crime, a happy population and no racialism/ lbgbgqt / eco sandaloid obsessives.. or motorways!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Sea levels have been rising steadily since the last Ice Age reached its peak. Ten thousand years ago you could walk from England to the Continent.
So the Marshall Islands (highest point 10m asl) will disappear beneath the waves before too long. Perhaps the rate of rise has increased a little in recent years but it doesn’t seem sensible to spend $Ts in order to defer the inevitable by a few decades.
There must be some Dutch engineering companies that would protect the most vulnerable areas for a fraction of the cost.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

It’s the book of Revelation. Not Revelations.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

in that book called the boble about Gud n stuff?

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

The difference now is that the mass media is actively encouraging these insane people and giving them a worldwide megaphone with which to scream their idiocy.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago

The security hired to escort me past the other set of protestors explained ….

Ironic – we seem to be suffering a plague of intolerance where people need to hire a security escort just because someone else doesn’t agree with them
I don’t know who Louise Perry is but I’m disturbed that anyone needs a security escort (unless they are a very high profile politician or similar)

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I suspect many gender critical women who speak out would like to be protected from angry penised “women” who may feel that they are not only justified but permitted to use violence against them because they “identify” as female.