Our government would rather lock up peaceful protesters than put an end to new oil and gas - which will destroy everything we know and love.
The climate activist and journalist Jan Goodey will spend Christmas Day in a prison cell after being sentenced to six months for disrupting traffic on the M25 as part of a Just Stop Oil (JSO) protest.
Goodey, 57, from Brighton, has written news and analysis for The Ecologist and the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. He is expecting to serve half of his sentence - so may not be released until early March 2023.
The Kingston University journalism lecturer is the first person to be sentenced for a statutory offence enacted under the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC) 2022.
JSO campaigners, joined by supporters of Animal Rebellion, climbed gantries on multiple parts of the motorway during rush-hour - causing disruption.
Goodey’s arrest took place after he climbed a gantry on Junction 16 on Monday, 7 November this year. His hearing later took place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 29 November 2022 where he pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance.
The magistrate imposed a sentence of nine months, reduced to six months for pleading guilty. Goodey is one of around 30 Just Stop Oil activists who are currently serving or facing prison sentences for taking part in the wave of disruptive actions.
JSO reported that the magistrate spoke of wanting to use his sentencing as a deterrent against further disruption of ordinary people going about their ‘lawful business’.
A spokesperson for JSO said: “This shows that our government would rather lock up peaceful protesters than put an end to new oil and gas, which will destroy everything we know and love. We will continue to do everything non-violently possible to stop this horror. This is what Jan has done.”
JSO campaigners justify disruption as part of a citizens ‘legal right’ and ‘moral duty’ to act against great harm under the British law.
They said: “The UK Government’s policy to allow new North Sea oil and gas results, as the United Nations has pointed out, in there being ‘no credible path’ to remaining at or below 1.5C of heating.
“This will result in the collapse of ordered civil society, the loss of our rights and freedoms and the death of countless millions of people. We will not stand by and allow this mass murder to happen.”
Amy-Rose, 20, from Bromley, appearing at South Crown Court, said: “If you feel outraged by the actions of Just Stop Oil supporters, ask yourself how things have got to this point? Imagine how you would feel if it was your son or daughter locked away for doing what's right.”
Yasmin Dahnoun is assistant editor of The Ecologist. Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.