At the City of London magistrates court today, Nigel Harvey pleaded not guilty to wilful obstruction of the highway.
On October 7th 2019, Nigel Harvey was arrested during the Extinction Rebellion protests in London. After spending a night in Wood Green police station, he was released, and subsequently charged with wilful obstruction of the highway.
Representing himself, and speaking in court via video link today, he defended his actions:
“For the last dozen or so years, like many others I know, I’ve done my best to reduce my carbon footprint. I run a recycling company. I’ve written to my MP. I’ve signed petitions. And yet, the emissions keep increasing.”
“Science tells us that within 30 years, the climate emergency will result in millions of deaths, every year. It will result in irreversible destruction of the natural world, and the gradual collapse of our societies arising from widespread famines, flooding, fires, and sea level rises.”
“Successive governments have failed to put policies in place that will prevent climate catastrophe. So what else could I do except find the most impactful way to blow the whistle on the inaction of our politicians? In which universe could it possibly be morally justifiable to ignore those facts? That is what made my actions necessary.”
“There is not a day goes by that I do not worry about the climate emergency. I think about the risks to my three adult children. I know the climate emergency means they may not reach old age. All three of them are resilient and adaptable. But that may not be enough.”
“Once I understood the Extinction Rebellion strategy of using non-violent civil disobedience as a way of pressuring politicians to act, I was completely committed. Exactly the same tactics were used by the independence movement in India and the civil rights movement in the US. Thousands of US civil rights activists, mainly African Americans, were arrested. They were brought before courts, and punished. Many were jailed. They are now regarded as brave crusaders for justice.”
Harvey was found guilty and given a 9 month suspended sentence, and ordered to pay costs of £331.