This column is written by Andy Williams, an electrical engineer studying for a masters degree in renewable energy technology and a member of Extinction Rebellion, who lives in Chalford.

EXTINCTION Rebellion. How did a movement started by a small group of Stroud people become so successful?

XR is less than a year old, and yet it has spread around the world with astonishing speed and after years of hardly mentioning it, the UK parliament has declared a Climate Emergency.

A lot of this success must be down to the Stroud-based founders of the movement. Clearly the potent mix of non-violent civil disobedience, a caring culture, deep respect, and a simple set of demands plays a large part.

But there is something else.

Many of us have been deeply worried about climate change for decades.

But MPs kept quiet because they were sure it was a vote loser and the media rarely covered it. So there was deadly silence in the face of this looming catastrophe.

In 2006 the Stern Review of Climate Change was launched.

In 2015 the Pope endorsed the work of the climate scientists, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2017.

People listened for a moment, but the news agenda moved swiftly on. The general feeling seemed to be “It can’t be that bad or someone would be doing something about it”.

But last year things started to change.

In the space of a few months a Swedish schoolgirl started a lonely climate strike, the IPCC published its urgent 1.5° report, and Extinction Rebellion was born.

The massive XR actions in April coincided with the Attenborourgh programme, and a European tour by Greta Thunberg.

But who were we rebelling against. We were given full use of a Waterloo church and the police seemed to be with us.

And then at the Climate Emergency debate nearly all MPs turned out to be fervent supporters of action on climate change.

XR Rebellion was a movement whose exact time had come. And suddenly it was OK – even cool – to talk about climate action.

But still half our electricity and most of our heating and transport relies on fossil fuels while a vast amount of renewable energy goes to waste.

We need to be zero carbon very soon, but right now the UK is pumping out a million tons of carbon dioxide every day. The work of XR is by no means over.