#JongStemme: The problematic mindset of Just Stop Oil


By Jacques van der Merwe

From blocking the highways to vandalizing ancient works of art in art galleries, Just Stop Oil’s actions are making waves in the Western world. Is there logic behind the madness with this stuff? Or is it just another fake green movement that people have taken hold of?

According to their website, Just Stop Oil is a British environmental awareness group that seeks to end the licensing and production of fossil fuels. The group engages in non-violent protest action – this includes delaying traffic, disrupting sporting events and civil disobedience, to name just a few. Their motive is to draw attention to the climate crisis.

Pollution that leads to climate change is indeed something that should not be underestimated. The problem that arises, however, is how these activists approach the situation. In their efforts to emphasize climate change, they have become a major irritation in society. Even the government in the United Kingdom has had to promulgate new legislation to maintain law and order when it comes to protest action.

Here are some problems that the Just Stop Oil activists do not keep in mind.

Firstly, car industries around the world have started to move away from petrol and diesel powered cars towards a more electric future. Modern engines will be systematically replaced with rechargeable lithium batteries. It’s not that simple either – the extraction of the rare metal lithium is water-intensive and moreover, just like any other extraction process, harmful to the environment.

Secondly, man’s dependence on oil and fossil fuels is problematic. From the production of our clothes to the makeup on our faces, oil is present. A sudden strike in oil production will certainly have a severe impact on the world’s economy. It will plunge into darkness all the progress man has made so far in breaking away from non-renewable resources.

Thirdly, if the licensing and production of oil and fossil fuels is the problem, these “activists” should actually focus their attention on the oil producing and exporting countries (OPEC+). This cartel is responsible for about 38% of the production of crude oil production in the world. There is a moral cowardice in these activists because they only protest in the safe safety net of the Western world. Ironically, the West has a better reputation for reducing pollution than China and India, which produce the most pollution in the world.

Finally, there is a technological gap between the states of the global North and South. The states that can reduce their carbon footprints are losing the battle against climate change anyway because poorer states are still dependent on fossil fuels to keep their economy going.

If we want to bridge this crisis, it will require more coordination of states to promote technological breakthroughs and findings.

The better solution would be to insist that governments of the world focus on the production of solar panels, wind turbines and renewable energy sources such as electrofuel (efuels) focus. It would be ideal if the renewable sources mentioned earlier were made into large-scale production. Instead of immediately abolishing fossil fuels and oil production, we should use those resources to make renewable energy sources. Then man will move away from oil faster. So sticking your hands on tarmac doesn’t help the environment.

No matter how you look at the situation, humanity is still very dependent on fossil fuels and solving the climate problem is not going to be changed overnight. It is a systematic process that takes decades and requires the cooperation of all states.

  • Jacques van der Merwe is a student of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and has a great passion for history and politics.

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