Weekly Digest #119
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In this digest-
1. Article- Should Just Stop Oil- Just Stop?
2. Happiness Quotient From Around The World
3. Did You Know?
4. Entertainment Quotient
Should ‘Just Stop Oil’ Just Stop?
By: Agastya Rao
The Ashes* were marred by a truly spectacular controversy this year, a highly unusual one that involved a player carrying a pitch invader off the pitch. The player was English Cricket Star Jonny Bairstow who carried a ‘Just Stop Oil’ protester off the field.
You may recognise ‘Just Stop Oil’ from its disruptive protests at major sporting events all over the world (Premier League matches, Wimbledon…) , covering a precious Van Gogh painting at a museum in tomato soup and disrupting a wedding! They are recognizable with the orange powder and confetti they throw in the air when they protest.
The world is divided in 2 halves over Just Stop Oil, with major athletes like Lewis Hamilton welcoming their protests, while others are against the disruption of sporting events for the sake of the protest. Who are “Just Stop Oil”, what do they want? Should they stop disrupting sporting events? Are their protests even legal?
What is Just Stop Oil?
It is an environmental organisation that protests to end fossil fuels, their licensing and production. They use civil resistance and vandalism as forms of protests. They are a fairly new organisation and were formed in February 2022, and began protesting around English Oil Terminals, but have now expanded to protesting at some of the world’s most prominent sporting events such as Wimbledon and the Ashes.
What do they want?
They want the British government to stop providing licences for exploration of oil and other fossils in the United Kingdom. They receive their funding from the Climate Emergency Fund ( a fund set up to fund climate activism) which is partly funded by Aileen Getty, a US philanthropist whose grandfather was petroleum tycoon J Paul Getty.
Arrests in the protests-
The legality of their disruptions is a bit of a grey area. While their road obstructions and blocking of highways are illegal and can lead to the accused facing up to 51 weeks in prison. As for the throwing tomato soup on a painting, the two women accused have been charged with ‘criminal damage’. When they protested at the London Pride Parade, the protesters who blocked the road were charged with public nuisance. Last of all, the protesters who disrupted Wimbledon were charged with aggravated trespass, while others were charged with suspicion of trespass among other charges.
Are the protests working? Are they right?
If there is one thing that the protests have succeeded in doing is getting a ton of media attention; and proving the old saying, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” However, even though their intentions are good, the fact that they are disrupting some of the most important days in an athlete’s career cannot be overlooked. Even when it comes to protesting, there is a line that must be drawn, and while the protests are generating publicity, can they expect a change to truly be brought about when even the British Home Secretary is pushing back against the protesters, and coming up with ways to prevent these disruptions from happening?
At this point, I'm surprised that they didn’t disrupt the King’s coronation this year. However, they are still within their rights to protest (Again, with reasonable restrictions) and they should go ahead and protest, but taking the limelight away from the sporting event is not fair on the athletes, the organisers, the spectators, and others who worked hard for the event.
Sporting events are usually the most popular places to protest, and are also the place where most protests start (usually started by the athlete participating too) (Colin Kaepernik, Jesse Owens, and even Ukrainian Tennis Players refusing to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian Tennis Players) - but perhaps that arena is best used for protests by the athletes themselves.
While I do agree that protests are necessary in order to stop/end fossil fuels, and that the right to protest should never be taken away; disrupting sporting events may not be the best way to go about it.
While yes, they do offer the limelight and the most media attention, they also take away from the athletes and the sport that they are playing. This is a time when we have to make a difficult decision and weigh the two sides out. Do organisations continue to disrupt sporting events and ruin them just for the sake of stopping fossil fuels, or do they maybe get lesser media attention (or find another way/place to get the same amount of attention) and not disrupt events?
By: Abhimanyu Rao
By: Mihir Rao
Entertainment quotient for the week:
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