RECENTLY local media reported on the coronavirus poster in the window of The Beacon in Stroud. On behalf of Extinction Rebellion, I have to correct the misunderstanding in the headline.

XR has been benefited from the hospitality of the Beacon, which has offered us meeting space and distributed our material but we are not in any way involved in its management.

The poster was prepared and put up without any involvement from XR, and many in XR have expressed their dismay about it.

XR has followed the social distancing and lockdown measures put in place to protect health workers, care workers and other essential service staff, and to save lives in our communities.

All our public actions, meetings, gatherings and training sessions were cancelled as soon as the measures were announced, and many well before this as it was felt the Government were being slow and irresponsible in delaying it.

Many XR members have been active in supporting local community support initiatives, setting up neighbour support groups and WhatsApp links for self-isolating or vulnerable people, and behaving with care and compassion towards everyone in our community.

We have also noticed though how effective the emergency measures have been, achieving much that XR has been calling for in the face of the climate breakdown and ecological emergency.

The reductions in traffic, aviation, and manufacturing have given us all cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gases.

We’ve read how wildlife is responding to the reduced pollution, the quieter roads and cleaner seas.

It is no disrespect to say we are facing an even greater emergency than Covid-19 in the effects of climate breakdown, and the accelerating loss of animal and plant life on our planet.

We are facing temperature rises that will lead to food shortages and famines; to ever more wildfires, storms and floods and to rising sea-levels which will result in millions of people worldwide becoming homeless refugees - some in the UK.

Food production and even clean water are under threat not just faraway but here in the UK.

A year ago Parliament declared a Climate Emergency but there has been little government action since.

Now that we have seen a government respond to an emergency, and do ‘the impossible’ to save lives, the message must be No Going Back.

Indeed a recent MORI poll found that only 9% of people want a return to the way things were.

These six weeks have shown us just how strong a community we have, how generous and compassionate people really are - there is profound cause for hope.

We must seize this chance.

David Lambert