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Stretches in prison
About Emma Smart
Emma gave the following statement on the day of her sentencing:
I am asking that you consider my sentence today in that my actions are proportionate to the crisis we are facing.
A British crisis where 8,500 people die every year from cold and hunger in their own homes. Home. A place where we should be safe.
A global crisis, where rising emissions are putting us on course for the collapse of society in our lifetimes.
We have been told by Sir David King that what we do in the next 3-4 years will determine the fate of humanity.
I am doing everything I can to protect the most vulnerable in society – globally and right here in this country.
We are all vulnerable in a climate crisis: you, me, everyone in this courtroom. No one is immune, no one is safe.
When I see injustice I cannot stand by and watch harm to life.
If I saw an elderly person drowning, I could not stand by and watch – I would swim to them.
If I saw a child trapped in a burning house, I could not stand by and watch – I would run to them.
If I saw a baby falling from a window, I could not stand by and watch – I would catch them.
If I saw a bird trapped in netting, I could not stand by and watch – I would free them.
Well, right now every one of us is drowning, burning, falling, and trapped.
I have spent my entire adult life working to protect those that don’t have a voice, or are unable to stand up for themselves.
I have worked for almost 20 years in wildlife conservation; I am a Scientist, and a prison sentence will take me away from valuable environmental work that I am involved in.
I used to believe that my place in fighting this battle, and it is a battle, was in a university, in a research lab, in the field, and at my desk. I now know that where I stand right now, and where I’m likely to go, is the place where I must be to fight.
I am an auntie to two brilliant nieces: Ivy, 7, and Daisy, 5. I play a huge role in their lives, and education and a prison sentence for me is one for them too.
Young people alive today will experience unimaginable suffering because of our government’s inaction on climate breakdown. They are knowingly destroying the next generation. It is my responsibility and my right to act now to protect the future of my young nieces.
Our government is betraying us – betraying our vulnerable people, and betraying our children’s future.
I believe that my intentions are morally right, even if my actions are deemed legally wrong.
This court may see me as being on the wrong side of the law, but in my heart I know I am on the right side of history.
I will not be a bystander. While our government fails and betrays its people, I will continue to do what is necessary.