A former investment banker recounted how they joined Extinction Rebellion out of fear for the future of Britain’s younger generation.
Chidi Oti-Obihara joined protesters in central London on Tuesday (August 24) to deliver a speech criticizing the UK government’s funding of fossil fuels.
He said: “The young people at the protests risk being Britain’s lost generation. There is now an 89% chance that once a century, weather events will occur every year.
âWe are going to face billions and billions of dollars of constant devastating failures and it will affect the young people.
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âThey went through the absolute hell of the worst pandemic this country has seen in over 100 years, then came out to face a world where their prospects were massively restricted.
“There was no other generation that had to do this. It’s horrible.”
Extinction Rebellion (XR) began around 15 protests across town on August 23, calling on the government to end new investments in fossil fuels.
XR wants greenhouse gas emissions to reach net zero by 2025. The government currently plans to reach net zero by 2050.
Chidi believes 2050 is too late and has campaigned for the government to demand a vote on the ban on additional funding for fossil fuel contracts at the 26th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) this fall.
He continued, âYou are gripped by climate mourning and you have serious questions about how you can make a difference. This is the best I can do.
“I have never been arrested for XR, I have never yelled at anyone or chased a police officer and I never will. But I can use my voice.”
He has worked in the banking industry for over a decade with companies like Natwest and Morgan Stanley.
After the 2008 financial crisis, he was a consultant for 10 years, helping companies in debt.
He added: âAfter a while I was thinking really hard about ‘What is this?’ You need to figure out what your values ââare at the end of the day.
“Is life really about doing what you can to buy a Porsche and then die or do you want to be an influential human being?”
“If so, what impact do you want to have? “
Chidi jokes that he’s one of the few bankers to have joined XR. Many of the members would be teachers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, students and even retired grandparents.
He later added: âYou dyed in woolen communists, anarchists and people like me, I guess.
“We all come from different walks of life – we have XR doctors and lawyers, we have theater people, we have everything.”
Chidi was also a Green Party candidate for East Ham for Newham council.