Borderers join fellow Extinction Rebellion rebels at protest in Edinburgh

A group of activists from Berwickshire joined fellow Extinction Rebellion rebels in Edinburgh last week to target the Scottish investment company Baillie Gifford.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 8:11 am

It was part of a two week campaign across Scotland against the fossil fuel industry, and in particular Shell, one of the top ten fossil fuel companies who are responsible for 35 per cent of all carbon emissions worldwide.

Pauline Stewart from Longformacus and Kate Duncan from Paxton locked themselves together to block the entrance to Baillie Gifford offices, chosen because it manages MSPs pension funds and has just increased their investment in Shell, by 19 per cent

Pauline said: “We fail to see how MSPs can properly regulate the oil and gas industry when their pension money helps fund it.”

Sign up to our daily Berwickshire News Today newsletter

Once in place, the two were joined by around 70 rebels who sat in solidarity on the pavement, or stood with banners, handing out leaflets, singing and engaging with passers by.

Kate Duncan said: “Bailie Gifford and MSPs say they care deeply about the impact of climate change - and they may do but they need some joined up thinking.

“We say they must stop funding the industry that is the root cause of the problem.

“People pay into pensions to provide for their futures, but investing in the oil industry funds the destruction of the planet, all our futures, our children’s, my grandchildren’s futures.”

Out on the chilly street, Dr Shelagh King from XR Scottish Borders, was engaging with the public.

She reported: “A few raised eyebrows but most said they shared our anxiety, our terror, about the climate crisis and supported our actions.

“They’ve seen fires ripping across Australia, they’ve seen the melting glaciers in the Arctic, Greenland and the Antartic.

“The suddenness and severity of it has shocked so many of us, despite our acute awareness of the dangers.”

The peaceful and good-natured action, attended by a heavy police presence, lasted eleven hours, from dawn till dusk, eventually ending when the Police and Extinction Rebellion negotiated the unlocking with no arrests and no charges.

This year COP 26, The United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Glasgow.

Politicians will be under increasing pressure to take action if we are to counter the worst effects of global warming.