Young woman in a hurry

24 November 2009

by Leigh Hatts>/b>

TAMSIN OMOND is only 23 years old, but Rush! The making of a climate activist (Marion Boyars, £7.99; 978-0-7145-3146-5) appears to be a first attempt at autobio­graphy, as well as a warning about the danger of ignoring climate change. She tells us about her family back­ground, including grandparents who ran the once well-known Chris­tian community at Post Green in Dorset.

Her return to the Church is by way of Cambridge, where she first comes into contact with two women priests, her tutor Jessica Martin, and her college chaplain, Alice Good­man. A high-flying career is rejected for a first job as administrator at St Mary’s, Primrose Hill. Soon, matins is missed, owing to an unannounced high-profile demonstration. Her Rush! campaign, inspired by the suffragettes she admires, is planned in the vestry.

There are accounts of her exper­iences at the Sipson camp at Heath­row, and at the sit-in on the roof of the Palace of Westminster. These are interspersed with boxes containing worrying statistics about climate change. Also of concern is the author’s description of her arrest, when she was denied lavatory facilities and held at Paddington Green high-security police station.

A third of the book is a DIY guide to organising protests, for readers who might join Tamsin’s campaign after the Copenhagen summit in Advent.

This paperback is written by some­one who wants to live a nor­mal life without worry, but who claims to have seen too much evid­ence to keep silent. Climate change, she believes, should be top of the agenda, because, if not solved, it will make other problems so much worse.

Leigh Hatts is editor of In SE1, a South Bank arts magazine.

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