‘It’s going to be too late for all of us’: Protesters at Pembroke oil refinery speak out
Protests at the Voliaro-owned refinery in Pembroke Dock have disrupted not only the flow of oil, as this site handles 220,000 barrels of crude oil per day, but also approximately 500 people who work on the site.
But the protestors, who have tied themselves to 100 kilos blocks of concrete in the middle of the road, say their tactics are justified.
Sven, one of the protesters, said, “I can fully understand why some of the people who’ve tried to come or go from work are frustrated. It is, it’s a real pain not being able to go about your life as you are.
“Unfortunately, there’s going to be an even bigger pain when we’ve got no clean air to breathe, shortages of food, shortages of clean water.”
Sven wanted to make it clear that the protests are not meant to focus on causing issues for everyday people.
“Most of us, myself included, are struggling at the moment. It’s not about making life harder or inconvenient,” said Sven.
“This action is about targeting the source of the problem, which is industry, state-sponsored industry, and the people who have huge vested interests in maintaining this incredibly destructive and honestly suicidal status quo.”
What is apparent is a general frustration by the protesters that nothing is seemingly being done.
“The government declared a climate emergency some time ago and nothing happened,” said one of the protesters, Dan, referring to the declaration from the UK government made in May which was highly praised at the time but has resulted in an apparent lack of action since.
“We need to stop the flow of oil as well, because fossil fuels have to have to be a thing of the past,” said Dan, who is currently blocking one of the back roads.
These protests often called direct action by extinction rebellion are meant to act as a precursor to the World Climate Strike that is planned for tomorrow (Friday, 20 September).
Inspired by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who is currently speaking to the American congress demanding that they do more and “listen to scientists”.
Climate change protests have been planned across the world including Cardiff, Swansea and London.
The protesters at Valrio want to point out that the UK is privileged in an environmental context.
“We’ve got this great and very mild climate. but every year the summer it gets a little bit hotter and that’s just the beginning,” Sven said.
“It’s going to spiral, it’s going to happen quicker, the world’s top scientists have been saying for a while now and have been largely being ignored that, you know, we’ve got 11 years now so drastically reduce our carbon output.
“You know, it’s not just too late for a few poor people in developing countries, it is gonna be too late for all of us.”
While Sven does say that their protests today are mainly targeted against the government who they view to be corruptly subsidising the oil industry to maintain the status quo in regards to fossil fuels
“We all need to think about what we’re doing. We all need to drive less. We all need to stop flying. You know, there’s got to be realistic. But we all need to think about our life. We only think about our life. Catch the bus or double up on transport,” said Dan.
With the support from their welfare teams and lack of police presence, the protesters at the refinery don’t seem like they will be moving anywhere anytime soon.
A member of the Volirio press team was unable to be reached for comment at this time.