Growing up as a woman of colour in a white majority area, I never wanted to step out of line or give anyone another reason to restrict opportunities from me. I worked as hard as I could in school, and I did all the volunteering and extra-curricular activities I could fit in so that when I finally applied to medical school I could say with confidence that I had earned my place. I never would have thought that in the third year of my degree I would have deliberately put myself in a position vulnerable to arrest. I never would have thought that I would make myself so vulnerable to the police, or in any way compromise my future career. This was a sign of desperation: this was a last resort.
For the past five years I’ve been following the widely disseminated advice that to fight the climate crisis we just need to make individual change. I went vegan, zero waste and quit fast fashion. I changed to a green energy provider. I wrote email after email to my local MP, I signed every petition under the sun, I went to the climate marches. I did everything we’re told to do. Yet, the government were still investing in fossil fuels and called a net-zero carbon target for 2045 “radical”, when it only gives us a 50:50 chance of staying below 1.5 degrees of warming. I had exhausted all other options so I joined Extinction Rebellion Scotland in non-violent direct action.*