Unfortunately there is no shortage of examples of measures being taken with the stated intention of averting climate change or preserving (what's left of) biodiversity which have had disastrous effects on the climate and ecology. Here are a few battles which we have fought - and lost.

Carbon trading: carbon accounting being made on a national level has led to countries like the UK not including internationally spread emissions in their national tally. Thus, for example, air travel, shipping and imports and exports (that is 45% of total UK emissions) are left out of the equation.

Offset planting: trees planted to "offset" frivolous flights were actually IMPORTED as saplings, and were responsible for the introduction of the Ash Die-back plague.

Wood stoves: the fashion for wood stoves to fuel central heating is extremely deleterious as cash-strapped farmers fell and sell mature trees. Replacement plantings will not sequester enough carbon to replace them within decades.

Wood pellets: these are used in automatic feeds to stoves, so people don't even have to bother to notice what they are actually burning. Some of the "green" entrepreneurs who were eventually woken up to the damage of burning logs now trade in these which are frequently imported from deforestation elsewhere.

Biofuels: farmers are ploughing fields (bare earth emits carbon gases) and then planting maize for biofuel. This is transported in gas guzzling trucks to anaerobic digesters to produce fuel gas, or just burnt for energy for electric power generation.

Heritage lottery grants to AONBs: We know of two very bad examples where funding to "improve" landscapes (in order to encourage tourism) has resulted in extreme ecological damage. In one case resulting in a landscape less biodiverse than the average roadside verge, and in the other the complete destruction of a peat bog by aerial spraying with Asulox which killed all the sphagnum moss and led to severe flooding downstream as well as the loss of important flora, and critically replacing the carbon- trapping capacity of the bog with further emission as the peat dries out.

Unfortunate Publicity :Our local Extinction Rebellion newsletter displays a publicity photograph of our local MP planting a tree to support XR. This MP is actually chair of the Environmental Audit Committee which he says (in an email sent to us) the committee“stressed how critical it would be to align the post-crisis recovery stimulus with the UK’s goals on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development – given the short window of opportunity remaining to keep global temperature rises to a manageable level.” Sounds promising doesn’t it? The only problem is his name is Philip Dunne. Yes that's right! He was UK defence minister from 2012-2016 and pushed for the development of drones for the military. This July(2020) he took a 4,875 pound-an-hour directorship with Reaction Engines, developing space rockets with military capability funded by the British government as well as arms manufacturers BAE.

The purpose of this piece is not to try to make anyone feel guilty or silly. We all make mistakes and need to be ready to forgive each other and ourselves. But let’s think through the possible unintended consequences of our efforts and open up widespread discussion among ourselves before going ahead with stunts. Just imagine the consequence of genuine XR supporters thinking Dunne helped us - they might even vote for him!