Script for Die In outside Barclays Bank

During the recent protest outside Barclays Bank in Newcastle, several people commented on how good the script was that was read out as the health professionals examined the bodies on the ground and pronounced them dead.

We thought it would be good to share the script here for any other XR groups around the country who might find it helpful.

Corpse’s action narrative and speaking order: HP = Health Professional, XR = XR spokesperson

HP: You may wonder why we are here today, but as health professionals we believe that we have a duty to raise awareness of the risks to health and wellbeing that we face due to the climate crisis. Our reliance on fossil fuels is leading to significant harms to people here in the UK and around the world. We are already witnessing the deaths of individuals and we know that there will be many more.

XR: We are here outside Barclays Bank today because despite the science, Barclays continues to fund new fossil fuel extraction. In fact, Barclays is the worst bank in Europe for funding the climate crisis.

For the sake of a liveable planet, we’re asking Barclays to stop funding fossil fuel projects now.

Patient 1 (Air pollution)

HP: Our first patient is a child who has died of asthma.  His condition was worsened by Air Pollution from fossil fuel particulates.

Burning of fossil fuels is a major cause of air pollution.  Many other diseases are worsened by air pollution, like lung disease, cancer, heart disease & dementia. Thousands of deaths every year in the UK can be attributed to air pollution.  Those living in the poorest areas, such as inner cities, experience the highest levels of air pollution and so are at a greater risk of chronic disease and premature death.

The burning of fossil fuels is also causing our warming climate which increases the severity of air pollution.

XR: Fossil fuels kill. Here in the UK. Barclays Bank ranks #1 in Europe for fossil fuel financing. That’s why we’ve gathered in this particular place today. If you bank with Barclays, your money is being invested in fossil fuel projects across the world. We believe you deserve to know that.

Patient 2 (Forest fires)

HP: Our next patient died in a forest fire – his extended family have lost their home and all of their possessions.

Forest fires have affected countries across the world, including Hawaii, Canada and Australia. This year, more than 100 people died in fires in Hawaii and more than 2000 people lost their homes. In Australia in 2020, more than 4000 people were admitted to hospital with symptoms due to fire and smoke.

The climate crisis will make these life-threatening weather threats more common and even worse. Floods, drought, storms and extreme temperatures will also further disrupt and, over time, shrink the global food supply.

XR: In June this year, António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, stated that “The fossil fuel industry is at the heart of the climate crisis. The problem is not simply fossil fuel emissions. It’s fossil fuels—period.”

Between 2016 and 2021, Barclays Bank pumped US$ 166.74 billion into environmentally destructive fossil fuels. That’s why we’re here today.

Patient 3 (Extreme heat)

HP: Our third patient is an older woman who died of kidney failure, due to prolonged exposure over several days, to extreme heat.  She was not able to drink enough, felt dizzy then fell and then could not get up.  By the time she was found by her neighbours and taken to hospital she was in acute kidney failure, which failed to respond to treatment and she died.

The increasingly frequent heatwaves cause can be deadly particularly in the young and old, and those with other illness.  Millions of people die globally each year due to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

XR: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that emissions from fossil fuels are the dominant cause of global warming.

And yet, despite shareholder disruption at the Barclays AGM in May, Barclays Bank stands firm on oil and gas financing. In her statement, one investor said: “Despite taking some important steps forward in the past year, such as cutting oil sands financing, Barclays has failed to fully match its oil and gas policy to its own net-zero goal. As a major international bank, Barclays’ financing decisions will have a significant impact on the world’s chances for reaching net zero by 2050 and averting the worst effects of the climate crisis, such as extreme weather events and flooding.”

Patient 4 (Food shortages)

HP: Our fourth patient is a child who died of malnutrition

Food supplies have shrunk over the years due to the loss of pollinating insects, depletion of fish stocks, soil infertility, flooding and drought. The United Nations have warned that Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply.

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates” .  This is putting pressure on the ability of humans to feed ourselves.  A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil loss is accelerating. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population are undernourished.

XR: Barclays Bank continues to fund fossil fuel extraction and production, despite warnings from scientists about the direct link to global warming and climate change.

“Fossil fuel companies are the ones dousing the planet in oil, gas, and coal, but big banks hold the matches,” comments April Merleaux, co-author and Research and Policy Manager at Rainforest Action Network. “Without financing, fossil fuels won’t burn.”

For the sake of a liveable planet, Barclays needs to stop investing in fossil fuel projects now.

Patient 5 (Infectious disease)

HP: This 16 year old girl is  one of many who died of severe bowel infection due to drinking water contaminated following severe flooding. Her poor nutrition, as a result of food shortages, contributed to her death.

Climate change, along with biodiversity loss and intensive farming methods, are combining to cause unpredictable and unstable conditions; ones that are perfect for new diseases and pandemics to emerge. 

Existing diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are now spreading north into Europe and are likely to arrive in UK

XR: The fossil fuel industry is at the heart of the climate crisis. Barclays Bank is using your money to fund the fossil fuel industry.

Are you OK with that?

HP: We have heard how climate change has hastened, or even directly caused, the death of these people.

We acknowledge and grieve that deaths and suffering from the impacts of climate change have occurred, are occurring and will continue to occur, in the UK and across the world. That unjustly this death and suffering is coming first to those communities who have contributed least to the causes of climate change. 

Every victim is from a community and has a family. Every loss is mourned by loved ones.

Today we, health professionals, scientists and citizens, bear witness to the tragedy of climate change. A tragedy caused by human actions, a tragedy which threatens to get far worse because our governments have not listened or acted with sufficient speed.

And so what is to be done? We are asking you for your help…. the world needs urgent action…

XR: In the last half hour, we’ve heard from health professionals about the damage caused by fossil fuels here in the UK and around the world today. Let me remind you once more, Barclays is the number one financer of fossil fuel projects in Europe.

As well as Barclays’ approach to climate change, Ethical Consumer highlights many more ethical issues with Barclays, including habitats and resources, animal rights, human rights, workers’ rights, arms and military supply, political activities, anti-social finance, tax conduct, and being the target of a boycott call.

Breaking up with Barclays and switching to a more ethical bank will be the best decision you will make today.