Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion hyped large-scale protests in Melbourne to shut down streets in the name of science but failed to gather support fom city locals in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
The protesters, barely exceeding two dozen on Friday, were determined to dodge my questions. Cloaked behind masks, they advocated for climate change mitigation, completely oblivious to the irony that their disposable masks were contributing to the environmental crisis they so vehemently claimed to defend.
What struck me was the blatant disregard for the working class despite calling for empathy from others. Their protest was disrupting the everyday lives of people who are already struggling to make ends meet.
I posed a question to them: how do they expect to win over the working class by causing such disruptions during such an already challenging time?
These sentiments were shared by others watching the spectacle. One onlooker felt that protests like these just breed more frustration and drive people away from the cause.
Another pointed out the confusion in the protester's actions. Yet, my challenge and the concerns of others fell on deaf ears.
It was hard to ignore the striking similarity between this protest and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same scientists who have since been exposed for their alarmist handling of the Covid-19 pandemic are now at the forefront of leading the climate change fight.
So I asked the protesters why they were mindlessly regurgitating this narrative without any critical examination.
Despite the disruptive protest, it was clear to me that the residents of Melbourne were standing their ground. Many I spoke with were not swayed by the protest.
They saw the protesters as lost individuals, seeking something to believe in and a way to feel good about themselves, but choosing an ineffective method.
In an ironic twist, I noticed that the only thing seemingly going extinct was the number of supporters for the protest group. However, the protesters remained steadfast, continuing to disrupt the city, while largely being disregarded by its residents.