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Operation Noah Trustee Nicky Bull reviews Bodies on the Line: Christians, Civil Resistance and the Climate Crisis by Revd Sue Parfitt (Lab/ora Press).
The octogenarian author of the new book Bodies on the Line has been a committed activist for decades – a professional woman who became an Anglican priest and more recently a member of Christian Climate Action (CCA).
Their non-violent direct action, alongside Extinction Rebellion (XR), protesting against political and corporate inaction in the face of the climate and biodiversity crises, has resulted in her being arrested on multiple occasions.
Many of the actions undertaken by CCA and XR have received somewhat partial reporting by the mainstream media, who concentrate on the level of disruption caused, the anger of some who are inconvenienced and the number of arrests, rather than on the motivation of protesters and the issues raised. Parfitt’s book is a reasoned and extremely rational defence of these actions, taken by people who genuinely believe that they have absolutely no alternative; for many of them, such action is nevertheless painful, frightening and difficult – but a spiritual imperative.
Not everyone who feels as they do is willing or able to risk arrest and imprisonment and there is a wide range of opinion on the appropriateness and effectiveness of certain of the actions undertaken, often those that have received most media attention. But there can be no doubt at all, from this book, about the sincerity, care and selfless love of Parfitt and many like her.
They are protesting on behalf of us all, our children, our grandchildren and those around the world who are already suffering the impacts of climate breakdown.