Extinction Rebellion mothers and babies blockade Google HQ

Despite the Met Police’s city-wide ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London, activists are out in full force to demand action on the climate crisis. Today (16 October), a group of mothers and their babies have blockaded Google HQ, whilst a group of youth activists are calling on YouTube to no-platform videos that promote climate crisis denial.

An image of Extinction Rebellion mothers and babies protesting outside Google HQ
An image of Extinction Rebellion mothers and babies protesting outside Google HQ

Image: Extinction Rebellion

Imogen Benson

As Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Autumn Uprising’ continues in central London, around 100 mothers are protesting with their babies outside Google HQ today (16 October). 

Blockading the Google building, the mothers are staging a mass feed-in to demand that Google stops funding climate change deniers. Wearing white sashes featuring the words ‘their future’, the mothers sang the protest hymn ‘We are loving in the light of truth’ whilst a group of activists held a banner with Google’s company motto ‘do the right thing’. 

This follows a recent Guardian investigation which found that Google has been giving donations to organisations which have questioned the need for action on the climate crisis or actively campaigned against environmental legislation. 

Lorna Greenwood, a former Government Employment Lawyer and mother of two, said: “Google has been touting its green credentials to the public while at the same time giving money to climate change deniers. It’s a terrible betrayal of the children who have suffered all over the world because of the climate and ecological emergency.

“We’re asking Google to use its enormous power for good instead of evil. Its company motto is ‘do the right thing’. The right thing to do could not be more obvious: stop funding climate deniers. 

“This is also a rallying cry to mothers all over the world. If you can, go all together with your babies to the politicians and businesses destroying your children’s future and tell them to stop. Don’t bury your head in the sand or wait for someone else to do it. They won’t and they can’t. It has to be you.”

The protests took place despite a London-wide ban on Extinction Rebellion protests implemented by the Met Police late on Monday night (14 October). Police attempted to clear protestors from Trafalgar Square – which had previously been identified by the Met as the only legitimate site of protest – on Monday and Tuesday, but activists have remained in defiance of what they see as an anti-democratic crackdown on the right to protest freely.

Whilst the mass feed-ins take place, a group of Extinction Rebellion youth members are also demanding drastic change from the internet industry. Climbing on top of London’s YouTube Space, the youth activists dropped a banner reading ‘YouTube Stop Platforming Climate Denial’ before delivering a letter to YouTube’s employees calling for an end to video content that promotes climate change denial. 

21-year-old Hollie Andrews, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Youth, said: “The scale of the climate denial content on YoutTube is deeply troubling. We are facing climate and ecological breakdown – we cannot afford for people to be misled by false information on an issue as serious as this.

“For many young people YouTube is a key source of news and information. We have the right to scientifically accurate information about a crisis which threatens our futures and is already claiming the lives of young people in the global south. 

“It’s time to step up YouTube, because lives are on the line.”