Extinction Rebellion stands by Donald Bell and all veterans who suffer from PTSD. We call on the Government to act now to prevent climate wars - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion stands by Donald Bell and all veterans who suffer from PTSD. We call on the Government to act now to prevent climate wars

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We will pay for this one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions today, and we’ll take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll. There is no way out of this that doesn’t have real costs attached to it.

Gen. Anthony Zinni (Ret.) Former Commander in Chief U.S. Central Command

STATEMENT on today’s Daily Mail article about Donald Bell.

Donald Bell left the army with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at a time when the illness was still not fully recognised. Much like today, the Government at the time did little to take care of veterans after combat, and many struggled to readjust to normal life when returning home.[1] Donald was one of those people who, like so many, made mistakes and then worked hard to turn his life around. 

Extinction Rebellion stands by him and his right to speak out about the Government’s complicity in knowingly taking us into future wars and a 4 degree world. [2] [3] [4]

Right now, what we’re seeing is papers like the Daily Mail, The Sun and The Express encouraging vitriol and abuse towards a veteran, a man who served his country, when PTSD, homelessness, addiction and alcoholism are the reality for thousands of people who have left the armed forces. A few key data points:

  • Some 50,000 veterans are coping with mental health conditions with 10,000 in prison [5]
  • Research carried out in October last year by Armed Forces charity Help For Heroes accused the government of “seriously failing” tens of thousands of military veterans who have been medically discharged from service. [1]
  • The report found that more than 60% of veterans felt they did not receive enough support while transitioning into civilian life and almost half of those surveyed said they were discharged without being given a diagnosis or treatment. 

How many feel about yesterday has been entirely determined by the framing of certain media outlets who have painted this as something it was not. Sections of the media are deliberately setting the scene here and they know it.

We challenge them to do something as brave as what Donald Bell and Anne White have just done and take the Government to task over the MoD report, rather than carrying out the character assassination of a man who served his country.

The Ministry of Defence has warned of the “growing recognition that climate change may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security” and to prepare for between 2.3 – 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100. The results of which would bring unimaginable suffering. And the Government chooses to carry on with business as usual – their own climate advisors reporting in June this year that they have reached only two of 31 milestones and are on track with only four of the 21 indicators on the path to zero emissions. Their inaction amounts to criminal negligence and young people today will pay the price. 

We call on the Government to honour the sacrifice of veterans by acting to prevent future wars. 

Notes to editors

[1] 70% OF WOUNDED VETERANS DESCRIBE THEIR MEDICAL DISCHARGE AS “NEGATIVE”: https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/news/70-of-wounded-veterans-describe-their-medical-discharge-as-negative/

[2] A changing climate: Exploring the implications of climate change for UK defence and security: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/930787/dcdc_report_changing_climate_gsp_RR-A487.pdf

[3] Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament:

[4] Find out more in our Emergency on Planet Earth guide: https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-truth/the-emergency/part-5/#What-will-our-world-look-like-by-the-end-of-the-century-if-we-reach-4%C2%B0C-of-heating

[5] Thousands of armed forces veterans homeless or in prison: https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/armed-forces-veterans-homeless-crime-prison-mental-health-196636


Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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