A few minutes into the second half of Thursday’s match between a dismal Everton and an only slightly more chipper Newcastle side, a young man ran onto the field and ziptied his neck, quite snugly, to the goalpost. It took officials several minutes to free the man, a 21-year-old climate activist with the organization Just Stop Oil, because a steward had to go grab a pair of bolt cutters.
In a video posted after the match by Just Stop Oil, the pitch invader explained the group’s protest and called on others to take part in mass climate actions this spring. He said:
Hi, my name is Louis McKechnie. I’m 21 years old, and I’m a mechanical engineering student. I’m about to disrupt football match, and I’m terrified.
But I believe as many people as possible need to know what a possible future holds. Billions of people not knowing if they should stay in their homes, or if they leave where they can go, as countries become too hot to live in. Mass starvation due to crop failure. It’s fighting for bread in the bakery aisle of Morrison’s. The cost of living crisis, COVID, and the war in Ukraine, are showcasing this future. I want my government to do all they can to stop this coming true. But they are expanding oil and gas, making things worse, increasing the risk.
We know this because the International Energy Agency told us no new oil and gas from 2021 if governments are serious about this action on climate. We are calling on ordinary people to join thousands in mass civil resistance this spring. Hundreds and hundreds of people of all ages have signed up to support the demands of no new oil and gas. Just stop oil. It’s a no-brainer first step to stop the harm. It starts in the following weeks, sign up below and find out more on what we’re doing, why it might just work, and how ordinary people like us can step up and not stand by. The choice is yours.
We can’t carry on as normal and have a safe future. Just stop oil.
After McKechnie was cut loose and carried off the pitch, Everton went on to win the match in the 99th minute of stoppage time (thanks for the extra time, lad). Alex Iwobi scored on an assist from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
There would be another frantic nine minutes of stoppage time but the 1-0 score held, giving Everton just a teeny bit more breathing room in their fight to avoid relegation. After the match, Everton manager Frank Lampard, who broke his hand celebrating Iwobi’s goal, was asked about the activist disrupting the match. He said, “I’d never sit here and deny anyone the right to protest.” That’s right, Frank.
If the goal is to cause maximum disruption and therefore maximum attention, ziptying your freaking neck to a goalpost is pretty good. Here are some other ideas for protests climate activists could possibly do at sporting events.
- Throw oil all over a basketball court making it too slippery to play on.
- Set a small fire or light a flare in the end zone at a football game.
- Carve messages about water shortages into the greens of pro golf courses.
- Group parachute into a stadium with banners about the dangers of poor air quality.
- Shoot flaming arrows onto the ice at hockey games.
- Team up with a radical groundskeeper who will sneak you into a baseball stadium and help you dig a big hole in the infield under one of the bases. Get the groundskeeper to bury you in a way that allows you to breathe and stay hidden under the base (maybe an air tube of some sort). Remain in the hole until the stadium starts filling up and it is time to start the game. Trigger a mechanism that would remove the base from your head. You have to be excavated before the game can begin.
Just brainstorming, here. Feel free to add your own in the comments.