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  • Writer's pictureFeng Wuon-Feng HO

UNITE TO SURVIVE: CUT Campaign joins 60,000 activists in London for #TheBigOne

In April, #CleanUpTheTropicalTimberTrade (CUT Campaign) joined together with hundreds of the UK's key environmental and social justice organisations, for #TheBigOne in Westminster.

  • We picketed outside the Department for Business and Trade and marched alongside tens of thousands of concerned citizens to demand immediate action on global biodiversity decline.

  • This incredible mass gathering, convened by #ExtinctionRebellion, was the UK’s biggest ever demonstration focussed on the Climate and Nature Emergencies, to date.

Friday 21st April 2023: OPENING CEREMONY Under the rain's gentle rhythm, compelling youth activist, Aoife-Mae kickstarted #TheBigOne with a potent message to the thousands assembled, explaining "Today I am missing school, because this is more important!" She voiced her frustration towards the UK Government's continuing support for fossil fuels, demanded a halt to global deforestation and urged everyone to listen to indigenous land-defenders, ending her speech with a quote from our friend at #SAVERiversNetwork in Sarawak, activist Celine Lim, saying:

"Listen to the Indigenous voices! What we do to the earth, we do to each other!"

Aoife-Mae's spirited words captured the energy of the gathering, embodying the concerns of a generation inheriting the climate and nature crisis fallout. Her call for immediate action resounded powerfully across Parliament Square - watch a snippet HERE!

Friday Pickets: FIGHTING DEFORESTATION Joining the People's Pickets alongside groups such as #GlobalJustice, #WarOnWant and #BusinessDeclaresEmergency, CUT picketed outside the Department of Business and Trade. Dr. Teo Hoon Seong read out a heartfelt letter to Secretary of State, Kemi Badenoch, regarding the UK's plans for palm-oil tariff removal: a crucial issue as the UK enters the Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Malaysia pushes hard to expand global markets for their palm oil.

Joined by #FriendsOfTheEarth,, the CUT Campaign voiced our concerns about the potential for grave harm to rainforests from this palm-oil tariff cut, especially to the last remaining primary forests in Sarawak.. Dr. Seong read a statement to Sec. of State Badenoch's counterpart in Malaysia, Fadillah Usof, stating:

"Forest cover is not the same as tree cover. Forest cover is not palm oil plantations. Forest cover is definitely not plantation forest planted over the remains of primary rainforest so that timber companies can continue to make money!... Rasuah di hulu, banjir di hilir! Corruption in the interior - floods downstream!"

Saturday 22nd April 2023: OUR PLANETARY HEALTH

It is now acknowledged that we have entered a new era of pandemics, with five zoonotic spillover events occurring every year. Speaking at XR's Planetary Health Hub, CUT's own resident doctor - Hoon Seong, focussed on how rainforest clearance is one of the key drivers of pandemic emergence.

Saturday: MARCH FOR BIODIVERSITY Saturday's "March for Biodiversity" was a hugely creative coming together of tens of thousands of people in support of Nature. CUT campaigners carried placards featuring endangered rainforest animals – Orangutans, Sun Bears, Pangolins, and the elusive Sumatran Rhino - and calls for solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, listing all 56 of Sarawak's tribal communities.

CUT's placards with images drawn by youth activists: Aiofe-Mae and Saoirse

We engaged with passersby, spreading awareness of our campaign and drumming up enthusiasm to #CleanUpTheTropicalTimberTrade. This incredibly vibrant march including a speech by #ChrisPackham and a mass die-in, complete with a bird-song soundtrack, re-ignited hope that change is both vital and achievable with such concerted and compassionate collaboration.

The Way Forward: UNITE TO SURVIVE!

The impact of #TheBigOne was way beyond a demonstration; it showcased the strength of collective action and the coming together of a diverse spread of civil society: our united voices created an atmosphere filled with fierce determination right on the doorstep of the UK Government..

Read a full analysis of The Big One in EuroNews.Green

The event rekindled hope that by joining forces and raising our voices, we can drive the change that is so urgently needed, to protect our planet for future generations, respecting the interconnection between all living things.


Letter read out and sent to Sec of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch MP:

2023 04 21 Badenoch
Download DOCX • 115KB

Companion statement to Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and Minister for Plantations and Commodities:

Address to Fadillah Yusof the big one
Download DOCX • 13KB

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