A protest has been organised to call on the new Dorset Council to declare a ‘climate emergency’ to recognise the state of the planet.

The protest is being organised by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion and will take place tomorrow.

Protesters will gather in Dorchester’s Borough Gardens at 8.30am before walking to South Walks House, where they gather and hope councillors will listen to them.

The group says it was disappointed to see that the council hasn’t included anything on its agenda about declaring a climate emergency.

The group argues that humanity and life on Earth faces a ‘direct existential threat’ and action must be taken now to tackle global warming.

Members of the national group were involved in mass demonstrations in London over Easter.

A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion’s Weymouth and Dorchester group said: “We’re going to be meeting in the Borough Gardens before heading to the Dorset Council offices to impress upon them the need to declare a climate emergency.

“We believed that the declaration of a climate emergency is an important first step towards tackling the current ecological and climate crisis we face.

“We can then work towards the second and third demands. The event on Thursday is not planned to be disruptive and we’re not expecting anyone to put themselves in an arrestable situation. We’d just like the councillors to be aware of our presence on this occasion, but undoubtedly further actions will be planned.”

The three demands of Extinction Rebellion are; for the government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, for the government to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse emission to net zero by 2025, and for the government to create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

The protest comes after the group held a talk at the Corn Exchange last Wednesday.

The event was attended by more than 120 people.

The group’s spokesman added: “We had to turn quite a few people away as the room was over capacity. This event was called “Heading For Extinction And What To Do About It”. The talk focused on three things: to tell the truth about how bad the current climate and wider ecological emergency is, to explain a bit more about the ethos of Extinction Rebellion and to inspire people to take action towards achieving XRs three demands.”

Extinction Rebellion will next hold a meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday, May 29 at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester.

Its next Weymouth meeting will take place at the Weymouth Waterside Centre at 7pm on Monday, June 3.

The group will meet on Portland next Wednesday, June 5 at Portland Community Venue, time to be announced.

Council's response:

Jonathan Mair, Dorset Council’s Corporate Director said: “The 82 new Dorset Council councillors are holding their first meeting on 16 May. This is a public meeting.

“We welcome that the protest organised by the Extinction Rebellion group is not intended to be disruptive but that protesters do want councillors to understand their concerns and to be aware of their presence.

“The crucial need to take action to tackle climate change is something that we hope everyone can agree upon – councillors, the communities they represent and groups like Extinction Rebellion.

“Dorset Council meetings include an opportunity for public questions and statements. A representative of Extinction Rebellion will be making a statement and asking a question during the meeting and we hope that this will be the start of a positive dialogue."