A message from Recolight CEO, Nigel Harvey, explaining his principled stand for action on the climate emergency

I was arrested on Monday afternoon, for alleged wilful obstruction of the public highway in Trafalgar Square. The police warned me in advance that I was likely to be arrested, but I chose to remain where I was.

Compliance with the law is in my DNA:

  • I manage the Recolight WEEE compliance scheme
  • I have relentlessly exposed the problems of non-compliant product sold through online platforms. Those efforts have resulted in proposals to change UK law to close this loophole.
  • I have been chair of the UK WEEE compliance schemes trade association for 10 years

Although I was released without a police interview, caution, or charge, the process of being arrested was distressing, and a night in a police cell is not pleasant. So what on earth could drive someone committed to compliance, to take this action and put himself in harm’s way?

As David Attenborough put it “…the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”

This is not just about polar bears and penguins. This is about the collapse of our societies resulting from mass migration, food riots, flooding, fires and more. For the last decade, many of us have tried to reduce our carbon footprints and encouraged others to do likewise. And yet carbon emissions keep rising. All the usual ways of encouraging politicians to take really difficult decisions to address the issue have largely failed.

So we need to try something different. And the urgency means it needs to be radical. So drawing on the example of peaceful civil disobedience that drove change in the US civil rights movement, and many other similar movements, Extinction Rebellion (XR) are encouraging large scale peaceful protest to drive the issue up the agenda.

It has already started working. After the April protests, XR met with Government, and a climate emergency declaration followed. But little real action followed. More is needed. And that is why I was prepared to do what I did. It would be great to see more from the waste and resources industry involved in the protests, which will run until 19th October. I know already from the emails/texts/retweets I’ve already had, that there is real support out there.

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