Welcome to the 14th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter!
In the global north, spring is almost here – but Extinction Rebellion is blooming in both hemispheres, bringing our ideas and energy to minds and streets around the world.
In time for the new season, we’ve publicly released our strategy for the coming months – you can read it here. Branching out from the main strategy is a specific actions overview, from which in turn has branched an actions how-to guide which will help empower people all over the world to organise their own rebellions against our criminally complacent systems.
And in case that isn’t enough preparation, the Spring Uprising festival, coming up on the 16th of March, will welcome rebels from across the UK (or even beyond!) to take part in a weekend of training, celebration and community. You can book tickets here.
But it’s not all preparation – in fact there’s been so much going on over the past few weeks that it’s been hard to keep up. Actions include XR launching in many new countries and cities, rebel teachers marching on the Department of Education in London, XR members blocking coal ports in Australia, and a week of rebellion across Canada.
More and more citizens across the globe are joining our movement and standing up to rebel for life; in celebration of this global solidarity, this week we’re giving special prominence to the actions of our fellow rebels all over the world.
We’re entering a pivotal moment in history – if you’d like to get involved, our volunteers page has just published an exciting new round of available roles which we’d really love to fill. To help out in your area, get in touch with your nearest XR group. If you can’t spare time, but can donate money instead, please see our fundraiser page.
Check out what’s on near you with our full list of upcoming events, available to view on our website rebellion.earth/events. Or create your own event by filling in our talks and trainings form. If you’re new, or haven’t 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.
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- International Highlights
- Recent UK Activity
- Upcoming Activity
- Extreme Weather
- Latest News and Data
- Recommended Content
- Regenerative Culture / Good News Stories
South Africa – February 7, March 15 and 23
Rebels used South Africa’s recent state-of-the-nation address to raise awareness of Extinction Rebellion’s demands, by holding a mock parliament and making their own address to the nation. There’s an ongoing, dynamic discussion about how XR can best tackle South Africa’s unique challenges, and help people affected by climate breakdown.
As well as participating in the upcoming international actions, Extinction Rebellion South Africa has two upcoming events:
March 15 Co-hosting the Cape Town Climate Strike, in solidarity with school students.
March 23 Funeral for the earth events in Cape Town, Jo’burg, Durban and more.
Italy – February 10
Rebels performed a die-in at a Mall in Milan. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon so the mall was busy, and the protest garnered a lot of attention. You can watch Extinction Rebellion Italy’s beautifully produced video here.
Canada – February 10-17
An Extinction Rebellion week in Canada saw a variety of creative actions across the country. As well as road-blocks and die-ins, XR attempted to deliver 4180 dumpster-dived candy canes to a politician to highlight the problem of food waste, and used the occasion of Valentine’s day to invite people to write love letters to trees.
Switzerland – February 12 and 23
Lausanne saw its first Extinction Rebellion action on February 12, when Rebels enacted a silent grieving in front of the city hall. This powerful demonstration asked arriving councillors to vote yes on a resolution that would declare a climate emergency, and prioritise measures to combat climate breakdown. The resolution was postponed but the Swiss rebels remain undeterred, declaring “the pressure on the government is only the beginning”.
Meanwhile, in Zurich, on February 23, Rebels performed a series of die-ins in the city’s main shopping area. More than 25 participants simultaneously dropped to the ground and remained motionless for five minutes, while others spoke to people in the crowd. Despite some negative (though comical) comments such as “you should be at home making babies!”, the response was generally positive.
Belgium – February 19
In a spectacular first action for their country, Rebels protested outside a high-level international climate conference in Brussels. Rebels challenged the attending world leaders to set more ambitious targets on the oceans and climate change; they also managed to infiltrate the conference and interrupt the opening speech by Prime Minister Charles Michel (you can see a video of that here and more coverage on their facebook page). Their protest received significant media coverage: see here, here, here, and here for a few examples (not in English).
Sweden – February 22
Teachers in Stockholm demonstrated in front of their Department of Education in solidarity with protesting UK teachers and pupils, demanding the declaration of a state of emergency and the prioritization of the climate crisis in education. Students must be taught the truth about the ongoing catastrophe, they insisted, and all student climate strikes must be permitted.
Ireland – February 10
Extinction Rebellion Ireland, in coalition with other groups, held a die-in in Dublin on February 10, to protest a proposed gas terminal. This was covered in the media, including on page two of the Irish Independent, a prominent newspaper (picture shown here).
The Irish Rebels have also been busy holding various meetings and community talks.
Germany – February 23
In Hamburg, Rebels held a ‘funeral’ march in memory of all of the species that have gone extinct due to human activity. It was the first action in Hamburg; Rebels found it to be a good chance to meet each other and plan for the future. This video gives good coverage of the event.
Czech Republic – February 26
Extinction Rebellion CZ had a high visibility action when they dropped a banner in Prague old town square, calling upon the City of Prague to declare a climate emergency. Bravo!
Recently, having blocked a coal terminal in Australia for several days, protesters were greeted by a row of police at the gates to Abbot point, Adani. One protester had suspended himself on a giant tripod above the railway line that feeds key Adani infrastructures.
Spain – March 1 and 5
Extinction Rebellion Spain University group, along with FridaysForFuture and Youth4Climate, held a sit-in at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid.
Now, Rebels are inviting climate and ecocide protesters to join them on the March 5th at 7.30pm in Madrid. They plan to hold a ‘jam’ in the city centre and are inviting everyone to share their creative skills. This could involve music, dance, circus skills and art on the streets. For more information click here.
France – March 24
French working groups are busy preparing for the “Jour de Declaration de Rebellion” (JDR) on 24 March, which will mark the start of Extinction Rebellion action there. It will take place at 2pm at the Place de la Bourse, in Paris, and will urge the government to meet Extinction Rebellion’s demands. A declaration statement will go out as a press release on March 20. The event page is here.
Planning is already underway for follow-up civil disobedience locally and nationally, and Rebels are conducting training in non-violent direct action and discussing how best to respond to the questions of the media and individuals.
On Wednesday 27th February, Extinction Rebels disrupted International Petroleum Week by blocking access to the hotel hosting an international gathering of fossil fuel companies, meeting to network and form new partnerships. Global finance’s cynical continuation of the status quo at the cost of life on this planet cannot continue unchecked, and we are supremely grateful to the brave Rebels who took action to disrupt the event and draw attention to the crimes of Big Oil. And despite the ideological clash, some delegates expressed support for Extinction Rebellion and took up the chanting inside.
Filmmaker Jack Harries was among nine arrested at the peaceful action, where activists glued themselves to the glass front doors of the hotel.
The Blue Wave, Glasgow
On March 2nd people flooded into Glasgow dressed in blue and green to draw attention to the rising sea-levels and flooding caused by the changing climate. They came together to demand that Glasgow City Council join local authorities across the country in making a Declaration of Climate Emergency.
XR Media Briefing
On 25th February, Extinction Rebellion held its first mass press briefing at its new London offices. Attended by media from across the world, the briefing shared Extinction Rebellion’s plans for the months ahead in order to ensure maximum coverage of our upcoming actions. Please keep an eye on our Upcoming Activity section and the press section of the website to keep up to date with these developments.
Teachers March on Department of Education
Friday 22nd of February teachers and students of all ages, supported by Extinction Rebellion, marched on the Department of Education in London to demand that climate and ecological emergency is made an educational priority. The protest came in the wake of a letter signed by more than 200 academics in support of the Youth Strike 4 Climate. As it stands a student can go through the state education system and only hear climate change mentioned up to 10 out of approximately 10,000 lessons.
After some inspiring speeches from activists of all ages, teacher and Extinction Rebellion member Tim Jones spray-painted “Tell the Truth” outside the door of the Department. The peaceful act of protest was followed by a children’s sit-in outside the building, where they sang protest songs.
Speakers at the event included Professor David Humphreys (Open University), Dr Anne Andrews (Cambridge University) and Dr Alison Green, who recently stepped down from her Pro Vice-Chancellor role to focus on full-time climate activism and who authored the academic letter published last week.
During the opening of London Fashion Week on Sunday 17th February, Extinction Rebellion began a day of disruption by swarming outside Victoria Beckham’s show at the Tate Britain.
Following the protest, Extinction Rebellion member, organiser and fashion designer, Clare Farrell was barred from entering London Fashion Week, even though she was a Product Developer for the event. A police officer approached Farrell in the queue for the show, addressing her by name and informing her that she would not be allowed to enter as they did not want anyone from Extinction Rebellion to attend.
Decentralisation is a key element of XR’s ethos. So while high-profile actions will often take place in the big cities, we’re eager to celebrate all the amazing actions across the country and the world every week. If you’re involved in your local XR scene, in whatever part of the world, and if you’ve got a story to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Story Contribution’ in the subject line. For major bonus points, it’d also be really helpful if you could write the story as you’d like it to appear in the newsletter!
Extinction Rebellion campaigners held a mock funeral parade through Canterbury to raise awareness about climate change. At the end of the procession, the traffic was blocked near Westgate Towers, drawing praise as well as anger from drivers.
XR Shrewsbury organised a climate march through the town centre on February the 16th, and it was so much better attended than we were expecting. It was a fabulous day!
Rebels in Marlborough have been spreading the message of emergency with leaflets, letters in bottles, and a banner right outside the town hall.
The Blood of our Children: an Act of Civil Disobedience, March 9th
Join our bloody but non-violent civil disobedience at a central London government location. The science is done. We are in a climate and ecological emergency. We’re sending our children into a future likely to involve mental breakdown, starvation, war and early death. There are no words to describe the horrors we risk if we do not make governments act immediately. So we all have a responsibility and duty to take action. Even if that means breaking the law.
So whatever your age, beliefs, or background, Extinction Rebellion is calling for you to come and pour (artificial) blood on the ground outside a key government location. We’ll make the gravity of the crisis viscerally clear and show that we’re prepared to make the sacrifice of our own freedom by being arrested. This is now what’s required. We also wish to apologise to the next generation for our complicity in bequeathing them the toxic legacy of climate and ecological breakdown.
The event page is here. Say you are “going” or “interested” on this page and we will message you with a full briefing. Please share and spread the word. If you have any questions, email us at email@example.com.
Wales Rising Up: Carnival of Animals, March 9th
Extinction Rebellion Wales will be taking over some central streets in Cardiff with a colourful eclectic carnival of insects, animals, and plant life. People across Wales will come together to openly declare rebellion and to call on the Welsh Government to declare a Climate Emergency. There will be music, costumes, performance and more. Check out their Facebook page for more info.
XR Rig Rebellion – Edinburgh, March 8th
On Friday 8th of March, the Scottish Oil Club, an exclusive body representing the international oil and gas industry, will hold their annual celebratory dinner at the National Museum of Scotland.
A major driver of the climate emergency, the fossil fuel industry should not be celebrated, and definitely not on International Women’s Day! Women across the globe are on the front line of facing climate chaos, while rarely being the drivers of it.
Extinction Rebellion Scotland will protest this event through a dance-demonstration, driven by love, music and compassion. We’ll be dancing, singing, speaking and sharing – bring music, instruments, and your dancing feet!
Facebook event here.
Second UK-Wide Youth Strike – March 15th
Last month saw 10,000 young people across the UK rising up and demanding change, as part of the Global Youth Strike. Their voices caught national media and political attention. Unfortunately, the Government hasn’t received the message yet, as No.10 tweeted that it was a “waste of lesson time”. Together, we can show that that the inaction of political leaders for the past 30 years is much worse, as Greta rightfully pointed out. Join your local strike next Friday, found out more here.
Spring Uprising – Festival – March 16th
WINTER IS OVER, WAKE UP – THERE’S A REBELLION ON
LET’S GET TOGETHER, CELEBRATE XR, GET TRAINED, GET ORGANISED
AND HAVE A DAMN GOOD TIME DOING IT
The weekend of 16/17 March in Bristol, Extinction Rebellion will put on its first ever festival of rebellion, activism and music – dubbed ‘Spring Uprising’ – at which up to 1,000 people at a time will be trained in peaceful non-violent civil disobedience.
Bringing together an unprecedented gathering of people from different backgrounds for nonviolent direct action workshops, music and art, the festival to be held in Bristol’s Motion venue (74-78 Avon Street, Bristol, BS2 0PX) is part of Extinction Rebellion’s planning for what is expected to be one of the largest non-violent civil disobedience acts in decades – International Rebellion beginning 15 April 2019.
The event is supported by music industry and festival organisers such as Boomtown Festival, Buddhafield, Ninja Tune Records, Alfresco Disco, The Green Gathering, Woman Fest and Burn Punk, and over a dozen musical acts have so far been confirmed.
Don’t miss it!
See the website for details – and bookings!
Facebook event-page here.
Legal – Arrest Watch
Extinction Rebels are getting arrested all over the country at a speed that makes it impossible to train up new legal observers fast enough. So what to do?
The XR Legal working group has designed a training to skill up a new team for your local group: The Arrest Watch! Those who do an arrest watch training are not fully trained legal observers. Instead, they know of the whole arrestee support system, from pre-action day preparation to solidarity at the court, and make sure that no arrest goes unwatched.
The Arrest Watch training is intended to prepare you to support fellow rebels by:
– watching and reporting arrests at the time of the action
– answering the arrest phone in a back office
– making sure that no rebel has to go to court on their own
– setting up a legal team in your local XR group
We want to enable every local XR group to set up their own Arrest Watch Team for their actions. So even if you can’t get hold of a legal observer, you still have a system in place to support your arrestees as best as you can.
Please send 1-2 representative(s) from your local XR group down to the arrest watch training on Saturday, 23rd March, from 10am-3pm.
NVDA trainings are steaming ahead and Affinity Groups are popping up all over. Our network is growing so fast! If there are any Affinity Groups out there, who haven’t had a call from a member of the Affinity Group Support Team, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Bringing Extinction Rebellion to Arts and Culture’ is a group that will mobilise the power of art and artists for International Rebellion
This group is calling together artists – music, theatre, dance, circus and every other imaginable art – to raise the Rebellion and engage people in a way that protest and actions alone cannot. Ideas are snowballing. Guerrilla arts events to generate a buzz in the weeks up to 15th April – musical flashmobs, poetry slams, and more. Here’s just some of the projects bursting into life…. if you are an artist/arts worker and would like to join this group, get in touch via email to email@example.com We meet on Thursday evenings in the XR London office.
The Silence Ends – an emotive mass spoken chorus with music taken up by multiple groups.
Street Explosion – an explosion of pop-up and street theatre across London featuring new works by famous writers.
Sound the rebellion!!! – Flashmobs gather to make a lot of noise and fill the air with sound and fury in the days running up to the 15th.
Sounding Twelve Years – Groups of hand-bell ringers and metal clangers sound the warning knell in locations all over London, ringing out the 12 years we have left.
Moments of power and beauty. Poets and musicians drift into numerous place and engage people with their own personal brief moments of power and beauty to remind people what a precious world we may lose.
And there’s plenty more… Come and join us and help us make the Rebellion a creative force!
The idea of the Earth March is spreading fast, with over 700 people already involved in planning marches from all over the UK. To make things easier, we’ve written a guide which we’ll be progressively filling with tips and advice – organisation, logistics, press, and plenty more. The first march leaves from Land’s End on the 11th of March – once this has started, we’ll be able to write up the lessons we learn onto this guide.
If you’d like to get involved in Earth March but don’t know if it’s feasible, don’t worry! For those already in living in London, and for those a long way a way, we’ll be encouraging all XR UK members to join the last leg of the March as Earth Marchers enter London in time for the International Rebellion. Stay tuned for details on when and where as we get closer to April and London.
If you’re outside the UK and are interested in setting up an Earth March in your own country, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
Flyposting in London
If you’re not in London but would like advice on starting up your own fly-posting scene, please contact the same address.
Zero Hour – Young People’s Brief
Zero Hour is a US-based movement aiming to give greater prominence to young voices in the conversation on climate change; we’re filing an Amicus Brief for the Juliana v. United States Lawsuit and we are hoping to get 100,000 young people to sign their names onto it showing their support.
In 2015, 21 young people became plaintiffs in a case against the U.S. government. They filed the Constitutional climate lawsuit called Juliana v. United States. These 21 young men and women sued the government demanding action against climate change.
The Juliana Plaintiffs want to hold the US government accountable. The young people believe that the government’s affirmative action has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, while also failing to protect essential public trust resources.
We are launching a planetwide drive to get thousands of young people to add their names to a Young People’s Brief in support of the Juliana Plaintiffs. Over 25,000 people have signed their name so far.
Add your name to the brief here to be a part of history!
A new group has been launched for XR seniors – for more information, please contact email@example.com.
XR Blog seeks submissions on an ongoing basis, from rebels from all walks of life. Minimal writing experience is required. If you’re stuck for content we can provide a variety of writing briefs. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
According to a new report commissioned by Care International, the majority of humanitarian crises in the last year were caused by extreme weather. During 2018, as a result of extreme weather conditions, worldwide 5000 lives were lost and 29 million people were left in need of humanitarian aid and emergency assistance.
Areas of the UK experienced the hottest February day. The Met Office recorded temperatures of 20.8°C at Porthmadog in Wales, 21.2°C at Kew Gardens in England and 18.3°C at Aboyne in Scotland. The new figures are the warmest on record for the UK at this time of year.
Australia’s summer smashes seasonal heat records – ‘Australia has posted its hottest summer and the first season in which temperatures exceeded two degrees above the long-term averages, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’ (no mention of climate change by the Sydney Morning Herald)
Latest News and Data
The Government has recently refused Cuadrilla’s application to open a second fracking site in Lancashire. This follows the company’s admission that commercial fracking is impossible in the UK unless rules on minor earthquakes are relaxed. The government has shown no interest in changing the regulations previously agreed upon by the fracking industry. We are extremely grateful to all those on the frontline of anti-fracking campaigns all over the country that have banjaxed the possibility of active fracking in the UK.
‘We need more bullets’
Shocking losses to wildlife and livestock in Queensland, Australia after seven years of drought are interrupted by freezing winds and ‘three years worth of rain in 10 days’. News.com report with upsetting images and no mention of climate change here.
Survival International Director Stephen Corry: ‘This judgement is a death sentence for millions of tribal people in India, land theft on an epic scale, and a monumental injustice […] it will do nothing to save the forests which these tribespeople have protected for generations.’
‘Drax often makes the misleading claim that they save over 80 percent of carbon emissions compared to coal. This is far from the truth, because it is not counting the emissions from combustion, which are 3 percent higher than burning coal’
‘Scientists have long known that some beaked whales beach themselves and die in agony after exposure to naval sonar, and now they know why: the giant sea mammals suffer decompression sickness, just like scuba divers.’
Coul Links dunes, heath and wetlands on the Sutherland coast at risk from ‘high impact’ golf course development, compromising its ecological integrity.
Record-level earthquake in Newdigate, Surrey – calls for reopening of inquiry into links to oil industry
First debate about global warming in the houses of parliament for two years. Heartwarming to see how much our elected representatives care about our future and that of the living world! h/t Andrew Harmer
This is a really interesting graphic from the New York Times, showing what would happen to US CO2 emissions if they were to adopt seven ambitious climate change policies from around the world.
New research on clouds, indicating that atmospheric CO2 concentrations of around 1200ppm can cause them to break up and lead to a dramatic tipping point where they no longer provide a cooling effect by shading the surface and reflecting heat back into space, leading to excess warming of up to 8°C. This might explain why earlier periods of rapid warming such as during the Eocene were much hotter than models otherwise would suggest. Not a cause for immediate concern at the current 410ppm, but a nightmare possibility if the dominant culture were to ‘massively expand coal use and eschew any climate mitigation’ until 2100. Longer report here – Ian
Victory For The Chagos Islanders as the International Court of Justice rules that the UK is ‘under an obligation to bring an end to its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible’. The UK foreign office is regarding it as ‘an advisory opinion, not a judgment’, and brazenly insists that the US military base on Diego Garcia is necessary ‘to protect people here in Britain and around the world from terrorist threats, organised crime and piracy’ (have they looked in the mirror lately?) This continues its longstanding policy of seeking any means to deny justice to the Chagossians, from antiquated Royal Prerogatives to a marine reserve deliberately designed to ‘prevent the resettlement’ of ‘Man Fridays’ on the islands. This was a cynical move to play environmentalists off against human rights supporters, because ‘the UK environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates’ according to confidential cables published by Wikileaks in 2010. John Pilger (see opening link) and historian Mark Curtis are well worth checking out on this shameful story. Former diplomat Craig Murray will be commenting in depth on the ICJ judgement shortly but has this to say for now. Hopefully the Chagossians are now a step closer to establishing their right to return to the islands they were expelled from just over 50 years ago. – Ian
Regenerative Culture / Good News Stories
Following a speech by Greta Thunberg at the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged that a quarter of the EU’s budget will now go towards tackling Climate Change.
Wild Justice is a new organisation set up to take legal cases on behalf of wildlife against public bodies where they are failing to protect species and/or habitats. Wild Justice is working with legal teams in England and Scotland. Legal action will be funded by public donations and crowdfunding appeals. One of the founders, broadcaster and wildlife campaigner Chris Packham said ‘Wild. Justice. Because the wild needs justice more than ever before.’
Clothing firm Patagonia has made an additional $10 million in profits since President Trump slashed corporate tax rates in the US from 35% to 21% last year. But instead of ploughing these profits back into the business, the company has just announced it will be giving the money away to grassroots campaigns to fight against climate change.
Thank you for reading this, our 14th newsletter. There’s so much exciting stuff going on that we barely have time to write this sign-off. Keep up the good work! If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at email@example.com.
This newsletter was written collaboratively by a hivemind of 12 rebels.
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