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Rush! The Making of a Climate Activist

Henry Unwin

6th October, 2009

Tamsin Omond's personal account of her journey from carefree student to 'climate suffragette' explores the world of climate activism in a manner that can only inspire

We are living in a world that is already being radically affected by our indulgent lifestyles: the threat of irreversible climate changes looms ever larger.

However, there is a small window of opportunity in which individuals, companies, governments and nations can and must change their ways for the good of the planet. Is Tamsin Omond the red-blooded revolutionary we have been looking for to provoke this change?

Tamsin Omond has been described as a modern suffragette and is the leading lady behind Climate Rush, a front-line climate activist group. This unique and increasingly popular campaign group goes against the grain of traditional activism whilst drawing inspiration and values from the past.

Climate Rush uses humour and ingenuity to stage its protests, led mainly by women, ranging from an impromptu afternoon tea party in Heathrow's Terminal One to an 'Edwardian' rush on the Houses of Parliament in 2008.

In her book Rush! The Making of a Climate Activist, Omond demonstrates how easy and effective it can be to campaign against climate change. Recent press coverage of her antics in national papers shows that the message is being heard - although you have to trawl through headlines of police brutality and kettling tactics to unearth the messages behind the protests.

Deeds and words

In the book, Tamsin charts her route to climate activism from Cambridge University (where she gained a 1st class degree in English), working at a local market stall, through her role as a ‘Parish Administrator and Pastoral Assistant' in a North London Parish and her first arrest at Biggin Hill, a small private jet airport outside London.

Rush! is not crammed with overwhelming stats on the grim and unavoidable future of the global climate. However, numerous 'Time Bomb' sections of the book provide basic, comprehensible and important facts that are relevant to the author's message.

These snippets of information are not only informative but help drive through the underlying message throughout this book; all is not lost yet, but if we do not act now then terminal damage will result.

These words are not empty - they are backed up by a whole chapter devoted to encouraging people to get up on their feet and into the streets. 'A DIY Guide for the Climate Suffragette' takes the reader through the practical steps of climate activism from making banners to the legalities behind protests.

This book can do nothing but inspire. If read en masse, the feeling that Omond's book invokes would link millions of people together and the streets would be heaving with sash clad ladies in Edwardian dress, with messages for the shaping of a better world slung across their chests.

Overall, Rush! is about instigating positive action and is essential reading for anyone wanting to get involved, at any level, with climate activism. Even those who have not considered the idea may be launched into the world of activism after reading it.

Rush! The Making of a Climate Activist by Tamsin Omond (£7.99, Marion Boyars)

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In September Tamsin and 15 other climate suffragettes made their way across Southwest England accompanied by three horses and two caravans in a pilgrimage to preach the benefits, excitements and the know-how of a low carbon future. Find out more about what happened on their blog.

For information about future Climate Rush events click here

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