‘For health’s sake- Just Stop Oil!’- Health professionals paint dinosaur, demanding an end to new oil and gas

Two medical professionals have painted a dinosaur at the National History Museum in London. They are demanding the government halt all new oil and gas projects in the UK and are calling on health professionals and the public to march in London from the 30th October to make this happen. [1]

At approximately 1:50 pm this afternoon, Dr Will Stableforth, a consultant gastroenterologist and Steve Fay, a senior physiotherapist, used a children’s powder-paint fountain to cover a reproduction Titanosaur skeleton in orange cornstarch. The two then displayed a banner which read ‘For health’s sake- Just Stop Oil.’ The two then sat and waited for police to arrive. Fifteen officers have attended the scene and arrested both men.

Speaking before the action, Dr Will Stableforth from Truro, in Cornwall, said:

“As an NHS medical consultant I’ve spent many years looking after patients with diseases which, at their root, are caused by fossil fuels. I have done everything legal I can to get our message across. Most of that has been ineffective; so it’s time to break the law. I cannot see another way at this time.”

“The climate crisis is a healthcare emergency for every single one of us. We demand an end to any new fossil fuels and immediate climate action prioritising public health rather than big business.”

This morning, over 200 health journals from around the world, have urged the World Health Organization to declare the deadly climate and nature crises as a global health emergency. The journals have come together to simultaneously publish an editorial calling on world leaders and health professionals to treat the climate and and nature crises as one indivisible crisis that must be tackled together in order to preserve health and avoid catastrophe. [2]

Also taking action today, Steve Fay, from the Hebrides, said:

“Like this long extinct dinosaur, we are in grave danger of following in its footsteps. We know we are in a climate emergency with breakdowns in weather patterns and deaths of millions on the near horizon, yet our government pursues ever greater exploitation of oil and gas reserves.”

“If we don’t act now, the repercussions will grow ever larger. As a health professional I know this will cause great suffering and death for many millions of people. I have made the decision to take non-violent direct action because I have a moral obligation as a healthcare professional to do all that I can to prevent harm.”

Today’s action comes in the wake of the High Court rejecting a legal challenge on Friday, brought by Uplift and Greenpeace, to the Government’s decision to endorse new offshore oil and gas. The following day saw the UK’s most senior paediatrician, Dr. Camilla Kingdon, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, criticise the government for the ‘rolling back of net zero policies’, stating that the climate crisis poses an “existential risk to the health and wellbeing of all children.” She added, “Every child is at grave risk of the effects of our changing climate, but none more so than children in lower-income families.” A report published last year by UNICEF describes how already, over a billion children’s lives are at ‘extremely high risk’ from climate breakdown. [3][4]

Child safeguarding frameworks should ensure that the welfare of children is prioritised in all decisions made by local authorities and their partners, and yet health workers and parents in the UK are increasingly expected to tolerate the clear and increasing harms to children, which include physical harms from chemical and air pollution, heat stress and hunger, and emotional harms due to eco-anxiety and trauma.

Health professionals have a professional obligation to ‘take prompt action if patient safety is being compromised’, and to ‘be honest and act with integrity’. Health workers have a long and celebrated tradition of engaging in nonviolent disruptive protest, from John Snow, who was the grandfather of medical activism in 1854, through to the doctors arrested in the 1980’s for re-messaging cigarette advertising billboards. These actions have sought (and often succeeded) in protecting life and wellbeing. The action taken today continues in this spirit, and demands, for all our Health, Just Stop Oil.

In November, we are calling for daily marches in London until the government comes to its senses and ends new oil and gas. Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to join in civil resistance. Sign up for action here: https://juststopoil.org/take-action/


Press contact: 07762 987334
Press email: [email protected]
High quality images & video here: https://juststopoil.org/press-media
Website: https://juststopoil.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustStopOil/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/just.stopoil/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustStop_Oil
Youtube: https://juststopoil.org/youtube

Notes to editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] https://ukhealthalliance.org/news-item/time-to-treat-the-climate-and-nature-crisis-as-one-indivisible-global-health-emergency/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/oct/21/children-at-existential-risk-from-climate-crisis-uks-top-paediatrician-says?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

[4] https://www.unicef.org/turkiye/en/press-releases/one-billion-children-extremely-high-risk-impacts-climate-crisis-unicef