Story: Sophie Mei
Burngreave resident, Anthony Mullen, spoke to the Messenger about being an environmental activist and how he got caught up in the national under-cover police controversy in Nottingham.
‘Rocky’, as he is know to everyone, has been involved in environmental activism for many years. At a young age, Rocky’s kitten was killed by a car and this ignited his passion to cut down on pollution and make the decision not to drive. He also gained inspiration from a Geography teacher at school.
At the age of 23, Rocky joined his first rally – ‘Reclaim the Streets’- held here in Sheffield. His life as an environmental activist was a natural progression as he assisted with the logistics behind many national environmental protests.
Now self-titled ‘retired activist’, Rocky has not given up his fight to help reduce the carbon footprint entirely. In April 2009, Rocky was one of 114 activists arrested in a school near Nottingham, the day before a planned break in to Ratcliffeon- Soar power station, in the hope of preventing the emission of 150,000 tonnes of CO2.
All charges were dropped against 88 of the activists. Another 20 were found guilty, but given lenient sentences as the judge said they had been acting with “the highest possible motives.”
In January 2011 Rocky and five other protestors, were due to stand trial accused of ‘conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.’ Some of the six were to argue that they ‘have not planned to break in’ to the power station but were supporting more active protestors.
Three days prior to their trial, it came to light that a policeman – Mark Kennedy, calling himself Mark Stone – had been working undercover for the past seven years within the heart of green activities. As an ‘agent provocateur’, it is claimed that Mark Kennedy not only spied on the activists but helped organize some protests, including ‘Ratcliffe-on-Soar.’
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now dropped charges against Rocky and his five friends ‘because new evidence has come to light which substantially undermines their case’. The CPS won't say what the evidence is, but its likely that it supported the defendants version of events.
“Unfortunately, the case has done little to promote eco-activities but what it does do is reveal how the police and government work with big businesses.”
Rocky is still idealistic, and hopes to live somewhere rural in the future, away from it all. He believes that if society continues the way it is, climate change will cause a ‘catastrophic collapse’.
“Injustice and bad things in the world have to be challenged if we want the world to be a better place, that's what protest and direct action is about.”
Rocky now works with ‘Pedal Ready’ Cycling Scheme and helps refurbish old bikes. He may have retired from ‘activism’ but he still gets involved with protests, and continues a sustainable life, one that is far from a 9-5 job: “I am happier than I would have been if I’d lived a ‘normal’ life.”
5 ways to get green
Food. Grow your own vegetables. Eat less meat. Collect wild fruit.
Get on your bike. Free ‘cycling in traffic’ lessons available from Pedal Ready. Reconditioned bikes sold by Recycle Bikes in Heeley.
Heat your house less (turn offradiators in rooms not in use) – turndown the thermostat. Insulate /draught-proof.
Don't fly. There are loads of amazingplaces to visit in Britain.Ireland,France and Spain can all be visited byboat.
Buy second hand from charity shops(like Rainbow's End on Spital Hill).On ebay search for ‘used’ items.