Sixteen Extinction Rebellion Activists Arrested in Asheville, NC On Valentine’s Day
Protesters Combine Holiday Message Of Love With Urgent Climate Action
Asheville, NC — Local climate activists in a North Carolina mountain town marked their Valentine holiday this year by risking arrest in front of a US government climate agency. With more than one hundred onlookers gathered in support, sixteen people were taken into custody just before 4pm for blocking a busy downtown street in front of the headquarters of the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI). NCEI, a branch of NOAA, archives and monitors global climate data for the nation.
The demonstration was organized by Extinction Rebellion WNC, one of several newly formed North Carolina chapters of an international climate movement now active in 56 countries. The local group used the Valentine’s theme to express love and support for NCEI scientists who regularly meet the first demand of Extinction Rebellion: to tell the truth about climate change.
One of those arrested, 24-year-old David Saulsbury of Woodfin, NC, said NCEI’s most recent report reveals the alarming extent to which the climate is changing. Saulsbury said, “According to NCEI, not only was the past month the warmest January globally in the entire 141-year-old climate record, but we have now experienced the 421st consecutive month with global temperatures above the 20th century average. And not only have I personally never lived even a single month in my whole life with a normal monthly global average temperature, there is no one alive under the age of 35 who ever has, either.”
Extinction Rebellion organizers say that it is realizations like Saulbury’s that are now driving people to take unprecedented disruptive action to overcome politicians’ complacency on climate change. Of the sixteen people who took a 22 ft. banner proclaiming a “Climate And Ecological Emergency” into the street in Asheville, most had never been arrested for an act of civil disobedience before.
Amanda Seta of Asheville was one of these. Seta says she took part in the street blockade in order to communicate the magnitude of the threat she believes that global warming and ecosystem collapse pose to the future health and safety of her eleven year old daughter. Seta said, “I’m taking action because the time for ‘wait and see’ is over.”