Newsletter #12 – Spring is Coming!

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Web version here

Welcome to the 12th Extinction Rebellion newsletter!

January, and with it the process of root-growth and foundation-laying, is coming to an end. As we move into February we’re getting ready to start an exciting new chapter for XR which will see a return to high-profile public actions in the build-up to our International Rebellion in April.

The meta-strategy review process is set to conclude in the next few days and will inform plans for national weeks of action set to take place in late February and late March. In the meantime, rebels won’t be short of things to do. Street parties, event-swarming, and much more are coming up in February (see Upcoming Activity below), not to mention the many regional and solidarity actions which we haven’t even had the time to keep up with!

If you’d like to get involved with making it all happen please see our newly refurbished volunteers page for available roles or get in touch with your nearest XR group.

Check out what’s on near you with our full list of upcoming events, available to view on our website, rebellion.earth/events. If you’re new, or have not already seen it, remember to check out our Campaign Overview Document.

If you’d like to look back through the newsletter archive, you can find it here.

Contents

  • Recent Activity
  • Upcoming Activity
  • International Highlights
  • Announcements
  • Extreme Weather
  • Latest News and Data
  • Recommended Content
  • Regenerative Culture/ Good News Stories

 

Recent Activity

 

Strategy and Structure

After many meetings, a weekend-long feedback session in Stroud, more meetings, a national feedback-session in London, and plenty of online feedback, the Strategy Team is now just a few days away from announcing the overall XR Spring Strategy. Major action in April is guaranteed, but the final strategy document will address questions of what, how, when, and where, along with finer points of tone and nuance.

For more details on the strategy process please see the latest internal newsletter.

If you’re struggling to keep up with internal developments in XR you might be pleased to see that the Mandates Team has drawn a beautiful map of the various Working Groups and sub-groups.

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Edinburgh Rebellion Day

XR Scotland kicked off the Rebellion with a creative action on January 25th, otherwise known as Burns Day. Forty Rebels posed as tourists taking a tour of Holyrood, the devolved Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, before occupying the debating Chamber for over an hour. Holding a symbolic Citizens Assembly in the Chamber, the group discussed the climate and ecological emergency and drew attention to the urgent need for a response from the Scottish Government which would be commensurate with the scale of the problem.

No arrests were made, instead the Rebels were peacefully escorted from the Chamber by police through a side entrance to the building where they were greeted by hundreds of supporters cheering and applauding the action.

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The Scottish Rebellion has now been organising for several weeks and the occupation of the chamber in Holyrood was an excellent kickoff to future peaceful and impactful action.

 

Earthstrike

On January 15th Extinction Rebellion joined fellow campaigners in Parliament Square for the launch of Earth Strike, a new movement aligned with XR’s motives and methods. Earth Strike is calling for a globally coordinated international general strike to protest against every national government’s criminal failure on climate action. This also happened to be the day that the Members of Parliament were voting on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, so the square was already crowded with Brexiters and pro-E.U. supporters.

Extinction Rebellion members led an impromptu march of civil disobedience around Parliament Square, marching past parliament and blocking traffic. They chanted the words: “No Brexit on a dead planet! No E.U. on a dead planet!”, underscoring the irrelevance of the media-consuming Brexit saga in the face of the global climate emergency.

Reactions ranged from the completely bewildered to the highly supportive and proceedings concluded with spontaneous singing and dancing in Parliament Square.

See here for footage.

 

NVDA Training of Trainers – Germany

Three XR UK NVDA Trainers recently instructed fourteen budding Rebels in Germany. Having only started at the end of November in the wake of the London actions, XR Germany already has an impressive twenty-one groups set up across the country.

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The three-day training, co-hosted by Skills4Action, an organization which has trained activists in direct action for over ten years, hosted attendees from cities across Germany. Actions are already taking place on the February 3rd with plans being made for April 15th – International Rebellion Day.

 

We’re looking forward to working increasingly with XR groups in Germany and across the world. Sharing skills and building communities is how we will win.

 

Korean Coal Protest

On January 24th XR joined Korean civil society groups alongside other UK activists outside the Korean embassy in a show of solidarity against an expanding coal industry in East Asia.

The South Korean Government is one of the top coal power financiers in the world. Financial institutions controlled by the Korean Government are funding huge new coal plants in Vietnam and Indonesia. Despite the Paris Agreement, the objections made by local communities, and President Moon Jae-In’s promises, coal is thriving in Korea.

The protest lasted several hours, and gained coverage from various Korean news networks.

 

Other Actions:

Stroud:

A community group, including members from XR Stroud, are taking Gloucestershire County Council to court over the award of a £600m incinerator contract.

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XR Rebels blocked access to the incinerator early in the morning on January 11th. They also recently spoke up in a Stroud District Council budget meeting.

Cambridge:

Extinction Rebellion Cambridge confronted Cambridge University stating that it is time the University stops investing in and working with fossil fuel companies as well as the banks that fund them.

XR Groups around the country are continuing to hold weekly meetings, climate cafés, and talks on such subjects as ‘Heading for Extinction and What To Do About It.’ Find your local group and see how you can get involved!

 

Upcoming Activity

 

First Saturday Street Party – London, February 9th

 

Saturday, February 9th 2019

Time 11: 30am – 2.30pm

Gather at Dalston Kingsland Station at 11:30am

Extinction Rebellion is throwing a street party in Hackney on Saturday, February 9th, and we would love any Londoners to join us. It will be the first in a series of Saturday Street Parties which will give a platform to local groups to discuss environmental causes that affect their area.

Extinction Rebellion exists to directly address the government’s inaction in the face of global climate and ecological collapse. The day will be centred around addressing local issues within this broader narrative.

The week after the action we will hold one of our ‘Heading for Extinction and What To Do About It’ talks (Monday February 11th, at SET, Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF, time TBD) and will discuss the realities of climate breakdown and the impending sixth mass extinction event.

The Street Party itself will serve as a community-building exercise. We want to bring people together in an act of lighthearted, low-level civil disobedience, with a variety of musical performances interspersed with brief discussion of environmental issues.

Building strong and sustainable community groups will be the basis of this movement. Reaching out to local London communities is the priority of the Street Party and we will emulate the positive change we want to see through our actions.

Come join us in Hackney and help inspire the area to stand up for the environment.

See event page for details.

 

Bristol Saturday Street Party – February 14th

 

The week after the first of these Saturday Street Parties is slated to get going in London, XR Bristol will be hosting their first event to reclaim the streets of Bristol in a family-friendly atmosphere. The event will take place on Saturday, February 14th, starting at 1pm, and will be part of a wider day of action.

See the event page for details.

These actions will help set the stage for our International Rebellion in April, where thousands will occupy the streets. We hope to see many more participants in the build-up to the big day!

 

Disrupting Fashion Week – February 17th

 

The fashion industry is one of the most culturally influential industries in the world. It is also one of the most polluting and is deeply reliant on agriculture and petrochemical products. It applauds our unsustainable lifestyles and the toxic pace of our waste culture; we should no longer be impressed or enthralled by this.

Is fashion out of fashion? This “business-as-usual” industry is stuck in a tired routine. Couldn’t it be done better, with something other than consumption at its heart?

All cultures need to collectively wrap their heads around the crisis we are in and end business-as-usual. It is time to use the public influence of the fashion industry to build momentum towards this movement of civil disobedience and our International Week of Rebellion in April.

With service and love in our hearts we will disrupt Fashion Week. We will swarm the streets, slow down those racing between shows, and spread the message of Extinction Rebellion. Join us.

 

Youth Strike for Climate – February 15th

 

Youth engagement with the climate and ecological emergency is taking off around the world. In the last week we’ve seen 30,000 students across Europe protest by skipping school following the lead set by Greta Thunberg. In Berlin alone, 35,000 took to the streets to demand agricultural revolution.

Children and parents from across the UK will be joining this wave of protest on the February 15th with fourteen locations listed so far and more still to come. This is not an official XR event but we encourage anyone who cares about the future of our children to participate.

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International Week of Rebellion – April 15th

 

You know it’s coming – but do you know if you are? The International Rebellion beginning on April 15th has the potential to be a pivotal moment in world history – we’ll need as many people as possible to be present on the streets and helping to organise. Book time off work – ideally the whole week from the 15th – and share the event on Facebook to make sure that we can bring as many people as possible to participate in what could be humanity’s last and best chance to avert catastrophic damage to the planet.

 

International Highlights

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Without a doubt one of the biggest highlights from around the world this week was the beginning of the Rebellion in the United States.

On Saturday, January 26th, a large black banner emblazoned with the words ‘Climate Change = Mass Murder, Rebel for Life’ was draped over the famous golden statue of Prometheus at the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. As dozens of people held signs aloft the rink was taken over with several Rebels staging a die-in in the shape of the Extinction Rebellion symbol.

Police had followed hundreds of protesters as they marched from Columbus Circle in New York to Rockefeller Plaza where Fifth Avenue was shut down for a period of at least twenty minutes. Nine were arrested and released five hours later.

This was a critical day of civil disobedience for this movement held with the aim of changing United States government policy on climate change. Leah Francis, an XR organiser in Portland, Oregon, told Rolling Stone, “We are all going to die, and we need to shout it from the rooftops.”

The message was indeed shouted from the rooftops of many American cities on Saturday. A banner with the same message as that in Rockefeller Center was lowered from a bridge in Los Angeles and demonstrations also took place in Washington D.C., Seattle, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, the Twin Cities, Philadelphia, Austin, Kentucky, and Denver.

For further coverage of the action see the article in Rolling Stone Magazine.

See more photos of actions across the USA here.

 

Announcements

 

Fundraising

The fundraising team is thrilled to present our new crowdfunder for the International Week of Rebellion commencing April 15th.

We would also like to share this introduction to fundraising as a local group.

The fundraising team has ambitious targets to support the forthcoming rebellious events and activities. We need any helpers who can seek out and contact potential donors and can manage our ongoing relationships and partnerships. Please contact xr.fundraising@gmail.com if you can spare some time and tenacity!

 

How to show your support for XR defendants at their trials

Central to XR non-violent direct action campaigns is the willingness shown by some of those involved to face arrest, criminal charges, court hearings, fines, and possible imprisonment.

The legal process is therefore very much a part of XR’s campaigning and many of our defendants are willing to use their hearings in court as a way of publicising the reasons why they decided to act as they did. They may, for instance, issue a ‘defence statement’ for publication, give interviews, etc.

Other XR activists can get involved. Court hearings often start at 9:30 am but may continue for the entirety of a day. One way of demonstrating support for our defendants on the day of their trial is to be outside of the courthouse together between 9:00 and 9:30 am. It is also sometimes possible for supporters to attend the public gallery during the trial proceedings.

We will soon be publishing lists of those trial dates and the times during which the defendants have given their consent for this to happen.

At present we have, that we know of, defendants in Bristol, London, and Manchester. Any defendants with trial dates in other parts of the country, please get in touch. If you are a defendant and would like us to help organise support and publicity on the day of your trial, please contact: xr-legal@riseup.net

 

XR Blog

XR Blog is always looking for more content. We would love to hear from you, including, but not limited to, diaries from XR actions, science-based pieces on ecological breakdown, political pieces on citizens’ assemblies, or analyses of the toxic mainstream media. XR Blog is a democratic platform for all ‘voices of the rebellion’ – and that means you! We are happy to receive submissions from experienced and inexperienced writers alike.

Additionally we are excited to announce some regular features, new for 2019. Firstly, we have ‘Affinity Group Stories‘ – we would like to hear about the journeys of affinity groups, beginning with their formation, through training and action, all the way to arrest, detention, and trial. We would love accounts from people of diverse backgrounds within AG’s. Please write in with your AG Stories.

Secondly, there is the ‘Children of XR‘ feature – we are already in touch with some great young people who have spoken at XR events and have engaged in campaigns related to XR. This feature will be a regular bundle of news from young people around the world who are based in XR and related movements, particularly the Strike on Fridays movement associated with Greta Thunberg.

Our third feature is ‘The Rise of the Right‘, tracking the relationship between ecological breakdown and resource scarcity with the rise of right-wing populist governments around the world.

Fourth, we are thrilled to announce our ‘XR Write-A-Long‘ feature, which will be an ongoing fiction piece written by all of you! Details to follow soon.

Finally, we have listened to many people in XR who would like to explore and strengthen the ten principles and values which have led us so well already. In response, we will soon be running a regular feature around the P&V, starting with Number One, which is: ‘We have a shared vision of change‘. Send all submissions and enquiries to xrblog@protonmail.com (mailto:xrblog@protonmail.com)

 

International support team – volunteers needed

The more localised the Rebellion is the more powerful it will become. In the International Support Team there is a focus on supporting national groups and their rebellious activities in order to be as effective as possible. At this stage of the Rebellion there is a lot of work to be done in assisting with the formation of new groups and supporting the national initiators as they recruit more group members and establish themselves as a viable national group. Please contact vejde@riseup.net if you think you can help.

 

XR Festivals


Thank you all so much for the enthusiastic response to our call for festival contacts. We requested these contacts to enable the XR Festivals Team to maximise our impact at festivals over the summer. We are still trying to open doors at a few key festivals and are again requesting your help. If any Rebel has contacts within the following festivals then we’d love to hear from you so that we can start the dialogue:

Wood, Love Saves the Day, Field Day, OceanFest,  BeatHerder, Blue Dot, WOMAD, Boardmasters, Beautiful Days & Vegan Camp-out

Please email us at XR Festivals at xrfestivals@gmail.com – many thanks in advance.

A little further down the line we will also be looking for Rebels to help us deliver our movement-building work at these and several other festivals. More information to come soon.

 

Local declarations of climate emergency

Across the globe Extinction Rebellion groups are persuading civic authorities to declare a State of Climate Emergency. Visit https://www.cedamia.org/global/ to find resources which will inspire you to get your local town or county council involved in this action. A critical mass of declared councils will put irresistible pressure on central governments.

 

Extreme Weather

Extreme weather hit 60 million people in 2018, no part of the world spared (UN News).

Melting Arctic ice is now pouring 14,000 tons of water per second into the ocean, scientists find

Heavy snow brings chaos and death to Austria and Germany

Greenland’s ice melting faster than scientists previously thought – study

Cuba: Three dead, 174 injured in Havana tornado

It could be warmer above the Arctic Circle than in Chicago by Wednesday this week. [And: How frigid polar vortex blasts are connected to global warming.]

‘Code Red’ – Australia is experiencing such high temperatures that bats are dropping from the trees.

Menindee fish kill: another mass death on Darling River ‘worse than last time’: Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young calls for a Royal Commission over water management in the Murray-Darling basin, as the mass fish kills pile up (twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahinthesen8/status/1090025384828055557). Hanson-Young claims that the mass deaths are the result of water mismanagement and global warming-induced drought.

2018 was ‘the 4th warmest year on record,’ according to the World Meteorological Office’s report, ‘State of the Global Climate in 2018’. Furthermore, ‘the past four years – 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 – are also the four warmest years in the series.’

 

Latest News and Data

 

Greenpeace and Amnesty International unite in push for greater civil disobedience. This is a landmark conference in which two of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations have joined together in the fight against climate and ecological collapse. Also significantly, Extinction Rebellion is cited as one of the motivators for these two organisations to call for an increase in civil disobedience to push for the systemic change we need.

Founders of plastic waste alliance ‘investing billions in new plants’

Nottingham aims to be first carbon neutral city in the UK

Scotland could be net-zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, according to a new report.

Gina Hanrahan, of WWF Scotland said, “It’s crucial MSPs, who are about to start debating the new Climate Change Bill, confront the challenge head on and join the growing number of progressive nations by setting an iconic net-zero target and speeding up the policy action needed to end our climate change emissions once and for all.”

California’s most famous butterfly nearing death spiral

The debate is over: The oceans are in hot, hot water – ‘the oceans are warming 40 percent faster than many scientists had previously estimated.’

Is this a farewell for the Indus dolphin? – ‘The Sindh government [in Pakistan] is planning a pre-feasibility study regarding straightening 180km of the Indus riverbed, falling between Guddu barrage downstream and Sukkur barrage upstream.’

Dahr Jamail’s latest Climate Disruption Dispatch: ‘We Are Destroying Our Life Support System’ – all of the latest horror stories plus an unexpectedly beautiful correspondence with Stan Rushworth near the bottom.

 

Recommended content

 

The Transformative Power of Climate Truth: Ecological Awakening in the Trump Age, by Margaret Klein Salamon, Founder and Director of The Climate Mobilization.

“I’ve just read this essay and found it to be illuminating and inspirational in the face of so much depressing news. As a practising yogini I was interested to see that Salamon refers to Gandhi, who ‘pioneered the strategy called ‘Satyagraha’ or ‘truth force,’ which carries intimations of love and inner strength.’” – Marian

 

This Could Be The Biggest Scandal Of The Climate Change Era” (article)

In this opinion piece in the Huffington Post, Sandrine Dixson-Declève and Anders Wijkman point the finger of blame at politicians and economists – the former for their delays and constant wrangling, and the latter for failing to acknowledge the severity of climate change – for the situation we now find ourselves in.

 

Redacted Tonight interview: ‘Rebelling Against Human Extinction’ (video) with Rory Varrato – lots of great analysis and discussion of the XR movement and the potential for bringing it to the US.

 

In Facing Mass Extinction, We Must Allow Ourselves to Grieve (article/chapter)

An excerpt from Dahr Jamail’s recent book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. A powerful urge to bear witness to the destruction of the planet as if we were attending to the deep sickness of a loved one; another writer giving up on hope and looking instead to grief and the necessity of action, regardless of the likelihood of success.

 

Climate Catastrophe: The Case for Societal Transformation, The Case for Rebellion‘ (Live lecture, Norwich)

Those who were moved or intrigued by last week’s recommendation of Rupert’s, ‘This civilisation is finished, so what is to be done?’ may be interested in a live lecture, in which Read presents a vision beyond the limited hopes of the Paris Agreement, presenting practical responses and inciting courage in us all. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A.

 

Regenerative Culture/ Good News Stories

Bonding and bridging in London’s poorest borough – George Monbiot writes on how the foundation Every One Every Day has improved the social life for residents in Barking and Dagenham by opening shops on the high streets for people to use as social hubs and “maker spaces”. From working kitchens and sharing tools to creches and chicken schools these spaces give locals hope for future generations.

With the help of 200 volunteers St. Nick’s has been transformed from a landfill site into a nature reserve in the centre of York. The site is now used as a base from which projects and services are run to help the residents of York move towards a sustainable future. The project is now looking to recruit more volunteers.

A court in the Hague has upheld a historic ruling, ordering the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts. This ruling will “put the wind in the sails of a raft of similar cases being planned around the world.”

Above and below the Great Australian Bight – a photo essay

Stephen Moss writes in The Guardian about the organisation A Focus on Nature (AFoN), whose mission is: “to connect, support and inspire young people across the UK with an interest in nature and conservation, and provide a voice for the youth conservation movement.”

Investors urge KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King to cut emissions

Germany is set to close all 84 coal-fired power plants and will rely primarily on renewable energy! Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity; over the next 19 years, Germany will be switching to renewable energy, which will provide between 65% and 80% of the country’s power by 2040.

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“Each of my 3 middle school years were the 3 hottest years ever recorded on our planet.” – Jeremy Clark

 

Thank you for reading this, our 12th newsletter. We’re super excited about the coming months and what they might hold. We’re also excited to welcome a whole host of new members into the newsletter team. We’re looking forward to our new writers bringing with them some fresh changes in style, tone and format – keep an eye out for changes and improvements in the coming issues!

That said, the team is still far from full-capacity – if you’d like to get involved in helping put together future editions, join the newsletter hivemind by emailing xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

Get in touch with the same address if you have any questions or queries.

 

This newsletter was written collaboratively by a hivemind of 9 rebels.

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As our eagle-eyed readers will have noticed in Announcements, we’re now raising funds with a brand new Fundrazr. The mechanism may be new but the facts remains the same; if we’re going to achieve our aims in April, we’ll need money to pay for arrestee support, transport and accommodation for protests, art materials, banners, fliers, personal expenses, etc. The scale of the Rebellion could be limited by the amount of money available.

If you would like to support the Rebellion though other channels, a regular standing order would be perfect (as would one off donations). Standing orders or money transfers should be made to our Triodos Bank Account (Sort code: 16-58-10 Account No: 20737912) in the name of Compassionate Revolution Ltd (the holding company for Rising Up!).

Alternatively, if you’re a PayPal user (or more comfortable with PayPal), PayPal payments can be made to info@risingup.org.uk.

Any queries contact Dave Nicks (dave.nicks@btinternet.com).

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