'Extinction or rebellion' - Teen justifies crane-climbing protest
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
An 18-year-old has spoken out about why he camped out on top of a 100ft crane for two days.
Alex Sidney, of Yaxham Road, Dereham, was this week ordered to pay £145 by a judge at Norwich Magistrates' Court following the incident, which happened in Duke Street, Norwich, from November 7 last year.
He admitted to criminal damage in cutting a chain to break onto the building site.
He was ordered to pay £45 compensation and £100 towards prosecution costs and given an 18-month conditional discharge.
Mr Sidney, who works as a bicycle courier and is part of the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, said climbing the crane was an effective way of drawing attention to the climate crisis.
Mr Sidney said: "I chose a crane because that was one of the highest points in the city, and therefore would be the most visible for the message to be spread.
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"The science is clear. If we do not act on it, sea levels will continue to rise as ice melts, our ecosystems will ultimately collapse, and our forests, which allow us to breathe, will die. This will lead to our continued destruction in the form of a sixth mass extinction.
"The choice is simple: It's either extinction or rebellion."
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Mr Sidney said he would have preferred to have been at home indulging in his hobbies of bicycle touring, mechanics and music, but he felt the need to protest was greater.
He said: "This is not about blaming previous generations for killing our planet; this is about getting the current generation to do something about it."
Mr Sidney hit back at critics who said he should have held a public debate or written to his MP as a means of expressing his concerns.
He said: "I’ve done these things before, and large organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of The Earth have been practising these techniques for over 30 years, and achieved very little; whereas in under two years, Extinction Rebellion has become the biggest global influencer on climate change."
He said he was already planning his next action to raise awareness for climate change - a 6,000 ride around in Britain on a tall bike. Mr Sidney said he planned to leave in April if the pandemic restrictions allowed.