Extinction Rebellion: Retired Burnley doctor speaks up following her arrest for taking part in the protests

Dr Judith Mary Hanslip being arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests.
Dr Judith Mary Hanslip being arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests.

A Burnley-born retired doctor has reflected on being arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London in October, saying 'greatest threat humanity faces is that of the climate emergency.'

Former Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Judith Mary Hanslip, who was raised in Nelson and now lives in Lincolnshire, was inspired to take action by Extinction Rebellion's mass movement at Easter ealier this year and, following up with research into the climate crisis, set out to take part in the protests in Whitehall, London in October.

Snowy the dog, who comforted Dr Hanslip after her arrest.

Snowy the dog, who comforted Dr Hanslip after her arrest.

"I grew up in this small cotton mill town surrounded by beautiful countryside and as a child nature was all around me," said the mother-of-three. "I have always had a deep love of nature. There is no doubt that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for the devastation of nature with unprecedented weather events and relentless global temperature increases which threaten the future of life on Earth including the future of young adults and children alive today.

"I believe we must act now before it is too late," she added. "The greatest threat humanity faces is that of the climate emergency [and] as a doctor I was trained to put the lives of patients first: the climate crisis is a public health emergency, too."

Dr Hanslip, whose father for the local council and her mother was a primary school teacher in the area, was arrested alongside the Guardian journalist and environmental activist George Monbiot for her part in the Extinction Rebellion protests on October 16th but calls non-violent civil disobedience a measure of last resort carried out by people on conscience.

"Both my grandfathers fought in the Great War, both my parents were mobilised in World War Two," she said. "It is our turn now to face reality and mobilise as never before. Governments across the planet have repeatedly failed to address the climate crisis and instead continued business as usual. It’s Time for Change now.

"To me, Extinction Rebellion is a movement that represents one of our last hopes ever for avoiding catastrophic irreversible climate disintegration," she continued. "We are on course for 4°C warming by the end of the century and we are already witnessing unprecedented weather related disasters across the planet. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction and that it is man-made is so distressing. We need to wake up to reality and respond to this emergency now."

While her arrest was not planned, Judith says that the whole ordeal was highly emotional. After being arrested, Judith was sat on the kerb by the police and cried. She was comforted by Snowy, a dog who was there with his carers Ian and Jane, and video footage of her being taken away has been incorporated into a music video for a song called Time for Change by the Bolton-based band The Jade Assembly.

"We are part of nature and we need honesty, community, empathy and altruism so that we can urgently restore and salvage what we can of this beautiful fragile planet," Dr Hanslip said simply.