When 78 year-old grandmother, Margaret Clough, participated in a recent XR Honk for Climate action, a passing motorist yelled at her to “get a job!”. The retired school principal from Ainslie thought that was quite amusing - she’d spent her career teaching children to respect authority and now she was seen as a ‘rebel’.
“In fact, I’m strongly motivated by the future for my grandchildren. I feel a stab in my heart when I see a new-born baby brimming with innocent hope and anticipation and think about the state of the world we’re leaving them”, Margaret said.
Margaret had been involved in past action against the Government’s refugee and mining policies.
“But, when I thought about it, we’ll all be refugees unless we respond to the broad spectre of climate change – so I decided to put my efforts there,” she said.
“As humans, we all face risks and have inbuilt mechanisms to allow us to continue to function and survive and stop us becoming sick from fear. With the threats of climate change, we have put off action because what can you do as an individual when our leaders aren’t taking it seriously?”
“But the threats – highlighted by the recent devastating bushfires and groups like XR - are now imminent and serious.”
“People need to be challenged with the facts by educating them and raising their awareness in a non-confrontational way which is the basic principle of the XR movement.”
“And people need to see that climate change activism is not just about the young but that older, frequently more conservative people are just as concerned about the future of our planet and are prepared to do something about it”, she said.
Honk for Climate action rebels meet most Fridays at 4pm on the corner of Alinga Street and Northbourne Ave, Civic.
Margaret Clough (centre) at XR's Honk for Climate action, Northbourne Ave, November 2019 (Courtesy, Canberra Times)