Environmental group Extinction Rebellion (XR) doorstepped Sir David Attenborough this week after he blasted some of their advocacy methods.
Sir David recently spoke out about the group in an interview with the BBC. He said that while he understood its mission, its methods could put people off.
Sir David said: “In getting things changed you have to be careful that you don’t break the law – I think.
“And I also think that we have to treat our community with respect. Disturbing their lives to such an extent that people can’t get about their business is a serious thing to do. And it could disenchant an awful lot of people from the action that we’re talking about.
“It’s simply a question of what is a politic and sensible way of persuading other people to join you.”
Following his comments, members of XR went to his house. They delivered a letter and ‘starter pack on nonviolent civil disobedience’.
As he is 94, Sir David is currently shielding, and so was unable to speak to the XR members.
Instead, they left the letter outside his house. They also left an olive tree covered in pictures of ‘Earth defenders…who have been murdered in their essential actions’.
A letter for Sir David
The letter opened by wishing Sir David well. It then said XR has ‘enjoyed [his] films and TV programs’ for decades, and that it ‘shares [his] deep concern for the living planet and the need…to tackle the climate’.
The letter tried to persuade the broadcaster of the need for civil disobedience. It said: “Nonviolent civil disobedience has a long history of bringing about swift, transformational change.”
It added: “Breaking the law was integral to the achievements of the Suffragettes, Gandhi’s Salt Marchers, the Civil Rights movement and the Polish and East German democracy movement, to name only a few.
“All who stood were scorned by society during their time, the majority of them mischaracterized as extremists and aggressors (and worse!). But stand they did, and the world is better for their sacrifice. We owe our freedoms to the courage of those who broke the law and risked their lives and freedoms before us.”
Extinction Rebellion Criticism
As a result, Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns criticized the move by XR.
She said: “The shameful targeting of a national treasure like Sir David Attenborough from XR activists demonstrates how ideological, out of touch and extreme they are.”
But the XR advocates say they choose to go Sir David’s house, with the letter ‘so it was a bit personal…like a friend to a friend wanting to reach him where he lives’.