Aren’t your kayaks made of oil?

We get asked this a bit and it’s an excellent question even if it’s not always asked in good faith.

The answer is of course, yes. Does that make us hypocrites or less than perfect environmentalists? Of course it does.

The Orcas, like many other people, work hard to limit our use of fossil fuel products and many of us make all the green choices we can in our lives such as animal-free diets or not flying. We source and reuse second-hand equipment and kayaks and recycle as much as we can to reduce the use of plastic, for example in the way we reuse our banners.

We hate using plastic or oil and avoid it as much as possible. However, it’s never enough because it’s impossible to be 100% with this as we are normal people working, living and raising families in the real world where there is often no choice.

We don’t like it so this is exactly why we protest for system change, because we would quite like things to change.

This is why Extinction Rebellion’s eighth principle is so important, because no-one can be the perfect environmentalist, that person does not exist.

We avoid blaming and shaming

We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

And it’s this toxic system that the most people know needs to change. Of course, blaming the messenger or trying to expose XR activists as hypocrites is a red herring. It doesn’t escape the reality that the climate and ecological emergency is devastating our communities, our futures and health right now. In this emergency facing society, we need to act now, to sound the alarm, to rebel for the truth.

But Big Oil, greenwashing companies and divisive media outlets who can only get attention by dragging us into culture wars, want us shaming and blaming each other because it deflects attention away from their own appalling records in tackling the problem. Fossil fuel company BP created the carbon footprint to shift the blame onto the individual.

So, none of us are perfect, but we don’t know anyone in XR who isn’t trying to do better or hasn’t already made the individual changes they’re able to – within their financial and social means. Sadly, the society we live in forces impossible choices, which is why we need things to shift on a bigger scale. We can only do so much as individuals.

So guilty as charged. But we suggest with love that anyone who comes at us about this instead directs their anger at those who got us into this mess and are blocking us getting out of it.

Or better still, stand with us, join the environmental movement and get involved. No-one will judge you because we are all hypocrites which is why we all want better for planet, people and our future.