More than 170 people from a total of 27 local organizations joined Extinction Rebellion North Devon (XRND) in Barnstaple on Saturday 28 January, to express their disgust and concerns about the polluted state of our rivers and coastline.
The vibrant march, accompanied by a ‘sea serpent’ and local samba band, toured the town, stopping for speeches in the High Street and outside Conservative MP Selaine Saxby’s office. The speeches highlighted the failures of privatised water companies and the government, and also the huge problem with agricultural run-off, with the environment agency having suffered massive cuts to funding over the last decade. One participant told how he picked up a viral infection whilst surfing locally, and spent 11 days in hospital in a serious condition.
There was a mock presentation of a “Blue Plaque” award outside the MP’s office, for voting to continue dumping raw sewage in our rivers and seas for another 15 years, and SW Water were slated for their misinformation, and lack of investment, whilst their directors take home huge bonuses.
The event was organised by XRND and similar events took place all around the country as part of a national campaign by XR to work co-operatively with like-minded people from different organisations on issues that concern us all. In Barnstaple, this included swimmers, surfers, environmental groups, health workers, local councillors and political parties (all except the Conservatives).
In the spirit of collaboration, five members of XR then went on to join Plastic Free North Devon in their Rock Park litter pick.