Just Stop Oil: Is there a right & wrong way to approach Climate activism?

Jamie McIlhatton
9 min readApr 9, 2024

Who are ‘Just Stop Oil’, and what are their aims?

‘Just Stop Oil’ are a non-violent activist group, protesting for action on Climate Change; more specifically for the British government to stop granting licenses to fossil fuel companies.

I’m not ashamed to admit, at first, I just couldn’t understand their methods. I’ve been conflicted watching them over the past year; gluing themselves to roads, throwing soup around in galleries, stopping play at major sports events. It all feels a bit desperate, and a little chaotic; with all focus on attention, without much consideration for the downsides.

Many would respond to my comments there with “well, desperate times, call for desperate measures”, and I’d be inclined to agree. However, I wanted to research and consider the efficiency of this approach. Are we really achieving the increased pace of change, to merit such extreme demonstrations? Or could we actually be harming our efforts?

I want to preface this article by saying I wholeheartedly believe in environmental activism, and I hold a lot of respect for their efforts and often, sacrifice. This article is written with the intention to support activism, rather than to demonise.

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Jamie McIlhatton

Sustainability Consultant & Hospitality owner. Just trying to take my own advice...