by Neal Haddaway

In the last 150 years, humans have warmed the entire earth’s climate more than one degree. The exponential growth in industrialisation and the carbon released in the process is set to fundamentally alter the face of the planet within our lifetimes. Despite knowing this, western governments (those responsible for a disproportionate impact on the environment) still fail to take this existential threat seriously. Environmental protesters have been present in the public eye for decades, but they are increasingly visible and well-known as the climate crisis worsens and governments fail to act.

Despite largely being aware of the climate crisis, the public perception of climate protesters is often stereotyped - they are seen as unemployed, professional rioters wishing only to disrupt functioning society: “get a job” is frequently shouted from passers by. Many climate protesters are professionals, however, driven by a sense of moral and professional duty to act and push for societal change. The climate protest group Extinction Rebellion (XR) has many professional subgroups, including Doctors for XR, Scientists for XR, Lawyers for XR and XR Educators, for example. These groups aim to both foster a community for like-minded professionals driven to protest, and also to highlight the importance of the climate crisis to professionals with a standing in the community.

“Duty bound” highlights some of these professionals and their efforts to halt the terrifying advance of the climate crisis. These are people we respect and whose professional opinions we trust in everyday life: doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, vicars, scientists. These interviews and photographs aim to highlight the reasons they feel obligated to protest, and why they believe we should listen. The project hopes to professionalise and humanise these individuals whose knowledge and expertise combines with their morals to push them to peaceful protest and civil disobedience.

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