Newsletter #15 – The British Isles Rebel!

Welcome to the 15th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter!

As we near the equinox and Ides of March, change is in the air.

This week saw significant actions in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin, while on Monday the first Earth March set off from Land’s End, ready to spread rebellion across the breadth of Britain. Further afield, actions have continued all over Europe, from Spain to Finland.

With so many actions happening and coming up, it’s perfect timing for the XR legal team to unveil their nigh-comprehensive guide to arrest. Even if you’re not personally planning to risk arrest, please read this and pass it on – the more people who know their rights the better!

XR’s next high-profile UK action will be a symbolic blockade of Dover – click here or read below to see how you can help. The online briefing is at 7pm on March 14th, so don’t delay!

In the meantime, don’t miss the chance to join a weekend of celebration and preparation at the XR Spring Uprising on the 16th-17th of March.

Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’ll be able to join or support the next Youth Strike 4 Climate on this Friday, the 15th of March, when the kids can once again show everyone else how it’s done!

And if you can’t wait until Friday to help in the fight against climate change, then please take four minutes to fill in our newsletter survey and help us inform you even(?) better than we already do!

We’re entering a pivotal moment in history, and we really need help if we’re to be as effective as the situation requires – if you’d like to get involved, please check out our volunteers page. 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.

 

Contents

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

Important Legal Briefing

The Legal Support team are thrilled to announce that we have completed a handy infographic/briefing combo for every single Rebel to read before hitting the streets. Equip yourself and your communities with this easy-to-read gateway into preparing for taking action from a legal perspective – learn about consequences and what the risk of arrest might mean for you.

How to use the briefing document:

  1. As stand-alone quick overview of the most important things to remember to prepare for an action.
  2. Click on page numbers to read the legal briefings that apply to you.
  3. Click on underlined links to reach external info online
  4. Go to links throughout the briefing to reference everything from common charges to documents on legal strategy used by XR defendants.

Recent Activity

Blood of our Children – 9th March

On Saturday 9th March, black-clad Extinction Rebellion activists, many with children,  amassed outside Downing Street with buckets of fake blood to carry out a dramatic act of civil disobedience. As the crowds gathered, Rebels emptied more than 200 litres of red liquid on the road to draw attention to the violent future today’s children face unless there is radical action to save the environment.

There were many moving speeches from speakers including an eight-year-old girl and a heavily pregnant woman who risked arrest by taking part in the action, which gained widespread publicity, and made the front page of the Sunday Times.

Edinburgh – 8th March

When the Scottish Oil Club, an exclusive body representing the international oil and gas industry, held its annual dinner on March 8th at the National Museum of Scotland, XR Edinburgh Rebels turned up in force and held a peaceful assembly inside the building, refusing to leave when the police arrived. An XR banner was hung from the Museum balcony and thirteen Rebels were arrested. More here.

Cardiff City Centre Protests – 9th March

On 9th March Extinction Rebellion activists in Cardiff blocked a major road in the city when over 300 marched from the City Hall to Cardiff Central Library where they staged a sit-down protest, closing St Mary Street to vehicles, before moving on to Castle Street and bringing traffic to a grinding halt.

They then moved on to target a branch of Barclays Bank, staging a sit-down outside to block the entrance. Sian from Brecon said they were protesting against Barclays because “they are investing in lots of planet-destroying activity like fracking and fossil fuels”.

Earth March begins – 11th March

Abridged account from Jackie Dash; read the full version – and future entries – here.

The weather was perfect; a wide, late winter-blue sky with scudding clouds overhead and the blue Atlantic stretching away to the West. Around seventy people turned out to give Earth March a strong and powerful send-off on our March to Westminster. Local radio and TV crews were there to interview and record this momentous gathering and the start of our pilgrimage across these Sacred Lands to the heart of government and the financial centre in the capital.

Two or three marchers asked if we could make a slight detour and walk down past one of the local primary schools, this lies midway between Land’s End and St Buryan. The headteacher had brought the entire school, all 25/30 children out to see us. We arrived to heartfelt cheers and then sang for them…something relatively cheery as XR songs go!! It was moving for us all, especially since it is their future and those who come after them that we are fighting.

In Penzance we were greeted with welcoming cheers, mugs of tea and chocolate, and good Cornish ale: we felt a deep appreciation of what we had already achieved and the hard work that lies ahead of us. An auspicious start to what promises to touch the hearts and minds of the nation.

Derbyshire – 2nd March

Peak Extinction Rebellion in Derbyshire had a stall at the monthly Farmers’ Market on Saturday 2 March, celebrating the Wirksworth Town Council’s Declaration of Emergency the previous week, and discussing with shoppers what actions they can take to respond to the crisis. They were a bit surprised at a Monster arriving at the market and declaring “Your Planet is Dying. There is No Planet B. Act Now.” but were informed that an XR member was underneath.

There was lively debate on social media about whether the monster was too scary for children, or a fitting expression of the scary situation we all face. In the half hour the controversial Monster was at the market it provoked far more discussion than four hours on the stall – but the Rebels concluded that both had a valid part to play.

Solidarity at the Heathrow third runway hearing – 11th March

On Monday 11th March, rebels stood in solidarity with Friends of the Earth and Plan B Earth who are responsible for two of the four legal challenges to the Government’s plans to build another runway at Heathrow Airport. Aviation is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. An expansion at Heathrow would see seven hundred extra planes emitting millions of carbon emissions a day. These plans clearly don’t fit with our climate targets under the Climate Change Act, the Paris Agreement or any serious commitment to cut emissions.

Local contributions

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 xr-newsletter@protonmail.com 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!

 

Upcoming Activity

Second UK-Wide Youth Strike – 15th March

This Friday thousands of young people in over 40 countries across the world will take to the streets to demand climate action. Last month thousands of young people across the UK joined the global movement and blocked roads, occupied bridges and squares and danced the day away. Let’s make this strike even bigger and better: join your local strike next Friday! You can find out more here.

Spring Uprising – 16th/17th March

Our Spring Uprising Event is THIS WEEKEND!

In Bristol on 16/17 March Extinction Rebellion launches the Spring Uprising, its first ever festival of rebellion, activism, music and art. Over the weekend, up to 1,000 people at a time will be trained in peaceful non-violent civil disobedience at Bristol’s Motion venue (74-78 Avon Street, Bristol, BS2 0PX).

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 more than a dozen musical acts have been confirmed.

Bringing together an unprecedented gathering of people from different backgrounds, the Spring Uprising is part of Extinction Rebellion’s build-up to the launch of International Rebellion on April 15th. April’s global uprising promises to be one of the largest non-violent civil disobedience actions in decades.

Don’t miss it!

See the website for details – and bookings!

Facebook event-page here

No Food on a Dead Planet: Dover Blockade – 30th March

On 30th March, Extinction Rebellion is calling for hundreds of brave people, regardless of age or background, to do their duty: for our children, for our communities and for this great nation. Together we will peacefully and non-violently block the motorway out of Dover.

As much as 50% of the UK’s food is imported through ports like Dover – this food is crucial to feed our nation. While newspapers resound with predictions of empty supermarket shelves as a result of Brexit, this is nothing compared to the misery of climate crisis induced famine and hunger. The Dover road block will highlight the extreme vulnerability of the British people to food insecurity and underline the need for the Government to take emergency action on the climate and ecological crisis.

There is no doubt that this will be a controversial action but rest assured, the Dover Blockade will NOT stop medicine and food supplies getting through. This is a symbolic one-day blockage. It will cause major delays, but nothing critical. Its purpose is to tell to the British public and the Government to WAKE UP; very soon we could have food supply collapse and medicine scarcity because of climate breakdown.

There will be no food on a dead planet, only dead people.

We need as many people as possible to participate in this action. Calling all legal observers, arrestee support, welfare and first aiders – we need you! We’ll also need musicians, other creatives, speakers and mass participants to help with road blocking, crowd building and crowd entertaining.

If you are interested in joining please:

1. Read the full background here, then attend our online briefing meeting at 7pm on 14th March: https://zoom.us/j/337115789

2. Sign up for the action here: https://goo.gl/DJj7vR

XR: The Silence Ends – A chorus of voices – 15th April

Add your voice to the call for climate action!

In protest against the resounding silence of the government on the climate emergency, The Silence Ends event in London on 15th April plans to create the biggest chorus of voices ever heard. XR has prepared a dramatic spoken-word chorus with music, which Rebels will perform in central London as part of International Rebellion. The action lasts about eight minutes. Lend your voice to help this gigantic chorus of protest and affirmation attract planetary attention!

Check out the Facebook event here.

 

Petition for Parliament to declare Climate Emergency

More and more communities across the country are pushing their councils to declare a climate emergency.

But last week’s dismally-attended debate on climate change in Parliament shows that hundreds of our MPs still don’t get it. Young people are showing more leadership than our politicians.

Will you tell Parliament that it’s time to declare a climate emergency? Sign the petition now.

We know we only have until 2030 to take positive action which limits climate catastrophe. Yet over the last ten years, we’ve seen the Government recklessly gamble with the future. Zero Carbon Homes targets scrapped. Onshore wind effectively banned. Solar power shafted. The Green Investment Bank flogged off. Fracking forced on local communities.

This simply isn’t good enough.

These are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures. We need nothing less than total economic transformation – starting with a Green New Deal for the UK.

It’s time for Parliament to declare a climate emergency.

Over the last few months we’ve seen an inspiring resurgence of climate activism, from the civil disobedience of Extinction Rebellion, to the incredible courage of school children striking for the climate.

We all know this is an emergency. Now it’s time to make our politicians wake up too.

Sign the petition now.

International Highlights

Denmark – February 24

The small Scandinavian country is among the world’s top polluters, according to the Living Planet Report list. In Copenhagen Rebels marched through the city centre and protested in front of parliament, with posters and chants demanding that politicians acknowledge the truth of climate breakdown. The action attracted wide media coverage; a few examples are here and here (in Danish).

On the same day there was a similar action in Århus, at the City Council, with banners and singing. Rebels then proceeded to the oil depot at the harbour to make their voices heard there, and draw media attention. Together, the protests ensured that XR Denmark launched in style and made its mark.

Ireland – March 3

Dublin and Galway held Funeral for Humanity marches, mourning the many species already lost and demanding change, an appropriate message on World Wildlife Day. They got a good turnout despite the freezing rain, heard inspiring speeches and music, and shared great energy. More information including the extensive media coverage is on their Facebook page.

Spain – March 5

Rebels took to the streets on the main avenue in Madrid, whistling, juggling and banging pots beneath an Extinction Rebellion banner to create an entertaining disruption. The action, to draw attention to the ecological crisis and demand action from regional and national governments, can be seen here.

Netherlands – March 5 and 10

On March 10, in Amsterdam, 40,000 people participated in the biggest climate march in Dutch history, demanding stronger action on climate change. Extinction Rebellion NL were there and dropped a banner reading ‘Rise Up’, to applause from the crowd.

The previous week, Extinction Rebellion NL performed die-ins in Utrecht and Groningen, where Rebels dressed in animal costumes to acknowledge World Wildlife Day and draw attention to the current mass extinction. The action in Groningen happened to coincide with a visit to the area by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who was campaigning in the upcoming elections. In a region where fracking has left homes vulnerable to earthquake damage, Rutte’s visit drew many protesting against the exploitation of gas. Rebels joined with them to demand climate justice, and performed spontaneous die-ins in front of the Prime Minister, who was forced to step over the bodies of some Rebels. When confronted about government policies, he expressed concern over anything that might threaten jobs and drive residents to seek work in neighbouring countries – thus confirming the status quo. The action in Utrecht had a more upbeat atmosphere, sparking lots of interaction from shoppers and conversations with children.

Finland – March 6

Rebels gathered on the steps of the parliament in Helsinki to demand that the climate emergency is given prominence in upcoming elections. As Finland will take over the EU presidency in June, now is an especially crucial time to hold its government to account. Around 250 protestors from several environmental groups including XR took part, and eight Greenpeace protestors were arrested for climbing the pillars of the parliament house.

Italy – March 6 and 13

A Rebel dressed as a scuba-diver rode the subway in Rome to highlight the future submersion of parts of the Italian coastline by 2100, including outlying areas of Rome. The threat, highlighted in a study two years ago, has been in the news again – not because of climate but due to concerns about tourism and commercial routes. The scuba-diver’s protest provided a striking reproach about priorities. More photos and a video of this action can be found on the XR Rome facebook page.

In other Italian news, the call to action, signed by notable figures and published internationally in December, will now also be published in Italy. Many Italian academics and notable people have added their signatures and the letter will be released in simultaneous press releases in Rome and Milan, on Wednesday March 13 at noon.

Announcements

Regen – Growing Resilience Workshop, March 23/24

UK and London Regen Present: Growing Resilience for the Rebellion

At this time of existential crisis it is urgent and essential to get out on the streets to make our voices heard.

But how do we ensure that we are equipped for the task ahead?

How do we stay resilient, energised and connected as we engage in the vital work of activism? How do we avoid getting lost in despair, anger, numbness or burnout?

Informed by Joanna Macy’s powerful and influential ‘Work That Reconnects’ this workshop will be an opportunity to explore our responses to the climate crisis, and to experience how this can leave us strengthened and more alive. Speaker, activist and author of ‘Coming Back to Life’ and ‘Active Hope’, Joanna Macy’s ‘Work That Reconnects’ practices have made a pivotal contribution to inspiring and sustaining activists and to growing community over the years.

We will be learning how to build resilience, personally and in our groups, so that we can remain engaged and effective for the long term. The weekend is planned to be the first of a series of workshops on developing Regenerative Culture.

The workshop will be of help to all those involved in the environmental and climate justice movement including:

  • Action co-ordinators
  • Affinity group members
  • Regen/Well-being co-ordinators

You are welcome to attend one or both days: each day will cover similar ground from a different perspective.

PLEASE BOOK A FREE TICKET SO THE ORGANISERS KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE COMING!

The days are free to all, but donations to XR are very welcome. Please bring your own lunch, and food to share if you can.

We look forward to welcoming you to these days of connection and discovery.

Details: 10.30am to 4.30pm March 23 Saturday and 24 Sunday

Venue: go to Eventbrite page to find venue address in London

Considering Imprisonable Actions – Webinar

As a movement we can potentially gain a lot of media attention when people are sent to prison for non-violent civil disobedience and taking direct action. This can be helpful to escalate political drama, increasing the pressure on the system, and so helping us to achieve the XR demands and realise our visions.

However, risking imprisonment comes with its own complexities. Although some RisingUp activists went to prison-on-remand for one week in 2017 (by doing the same action day-after-day 4 times), no one was imprisoned around Rebellion Day 1 last Nov – despite the best efforts of many! Another possible pathway to prison could be to put yourself in contempt of court by talking over the judge about the threat to the planet and its ecosystems and the negligence of the government and legal system to respond adequately.

If you’re considering pushing the boundaries of activism in this way, you’ll likely have to come up with your own action plans and carry them out. Before you do, be sure to check out the XR webinar that explores the topic of imprisonable actions: https://youtu.be/krfsr3asbq8

Talks and Trainings

Have you ever asked yourself what the XR Talks & Trainings working group does all day? What are all the fabulous trainings that XR offers and where can you find them?

You’ll be happy to hear that you can find the answer to all your questions in this visually intriguing and yet informative slide show.

A lot of our projects are work in progress and so this is a living document and will be updated from time to time. Hopefully, this will help your local groups to flourish! If you have any questions about this beautiful piece of art, please email xr.talks.trainings@gmail.com.

Legal – briefing and training

Arrest Watch training has been postponed to the 24th March in order to enable rebels to attend the Put It To The People march if they wish to do so. Please make sure to send at least one representative of your local group to it and email luerkenfm@cardiff.ac.uk if you need help to find accommodation so you can attend this training.

And in case you missed it above, the legal team has released its master-guide to arrestibility – a must read for anyone planning to be out on the streets in April.

Drumming for the Rebellion

A group of XR Rebels are organising a huge samba drumming action as part of the International Rebellion in London from 15th April.  We are collectively known as Music for Rebellion (facebook.com/MusicForRebellion/).

Every day, we plan to alternate between teaching samba drumming and roaming the streets of London, disrupting traffic.

We currently have about 50 drums but we need lots more – can you help?

– Donate unwanted drums to Music for Rebellion

– Bring your own drums to the International Rebellion.

– Buy a drum kit for £50 – this will give you 5 drums (a bass, a floor tom, two rack toms and a snare).  We can show you how to rope these up so you can easily carry them around town

– Start your own samba band.  There is loads of demand for samba bands at XR actions – why not start your own?  Buy 2 drumkits, 2 cowbells, 2 agogo bells, a good whistle and some blue rope (all for about £150) and you have everything you need to start a 14-piece samba band!  We can teach you how to play and how to lead a samba band in London!

If you can help us by bringing drums, please get in touch with xrsouthsomerset@riseup.net and let us know how many drums you will be bringing. You can also donate to and share our crowdfunder to buy drums – www.gofundme.com/drums-for-international-rebellion.

If you are interested in joining us for the drumming, please join www.facebook.com/MusicForRebellion/ and sign up for our International Rebellion Samba Drumming event – all skill levels welcome.  There is a Basecamp group “XR Drummers” for those who want to help us organise and spread the word.  See you in London!

XR Blog

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 xrblog@protonmail.com

 

Extreme Weather

More than eight million people need food aid in Ethiopia

‘The impacts of the climate change-induced droughts of 2016 and before have persisted. Moreover, violence in many parts of the country have added to the burden’ and ‘dry conditions are once again creeping into the country’s southern and southwestern regions, crippling crops and vegetation.’

Non-survivable humid heatwaves for over 500 million people

‘Researchers at MIT warn that if climate change remains unchecked […] over half a billion people will, from 2070 onwards, experience humid heat waves that will kill even healthy people in the shade within 6 hours.’

Ocean heatwaves devastate wildlife

‘The number of marine heatwave days has increased by more than 50 percent since the mid-20th century […] Just as atmospheric heatwaves can destroy crops, forests and animal populations, marine heatwaves can devastate ocean ecosystems’

 

Latest News and Data

How the Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Industries Fund Disinformation Campaigns Around the World

‘Fossil fuel companies have a long history of adopting public relations strategies straight from the tobacco industry’s playbook. But a new analysis shows the two industries’ relationship goes much deeper — right down to funding the same organisations to do their dirty work.’

Dearth of worms blamed for dramatic decline in UK songbird population

‘Britain’s first farmland worm survey reveals nearly half of English fields lack key types of earthworm and may help explain a 50 per cent fall in song thrush numbers’

Climate Change plays major role in top 10 underreported humanitarian crises of 2018

New report from CARE: ‘Climate change plays an increasing and often exacerbating role in humanitarian crises that have been neglected by the global public, such as in Madagascar, Ethiopia and Haiti.’

The US Air Force is gearing up for a bird massacre in the English countryside

‘The US Air Force, which has thousands of personnel at British Royal Air Force bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall, seeks to “reduce the attraction of wildlife to the airbase” and “deny the use of airspace to birds there.” ‘ Meanwhile Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have ‘given the go-ahead for Red-listed species such as Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Skylark and House Sparrow to be shot.’

WWF Knew locals opposed its flagship park – but hid this from funders

Rangers employed by the WWF have been brutally attacking the Baka people, who live in the Messok Dja rainforest in the Congo, to make way for a national park. Background report and petition.

 

Recommended Content

A group of seven-year-olds talk about their future birthdays’ – Made by an XR member and really quite good (facebook page here) – Douglas

Useful research on this twitter account, looking at mentions of climate change on the BBC website day by day. Spoiler: it’s pitiful / criminal

Excellent, wide-ranging interview with Indian scholar, physicist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now

There’s an interesting critique of the FAO’s estimate that livestock farming accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions by Simon Fairlie in the latest Land Magazine. It hinges on the difference between carbon dioxide and methane and how they behave in the atmosphere: methane has a ‘half life’ of around ten years whereas CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, leading to a cumulative, long-lasting effect. The FAO fails to take this into account, basing its calculations on the assumption that methane has a ‘Global Warming Potential’ 34 times stronger than CO2. (I should note that the 51% figure popularised by the film Cowspiracy has also been thoroughly debunked, partly for the same reasons.) Fairlie doesn’t view livestock agriculture as totally ‘guilt-free’, but he objects to the ‘calumny’ of disproportionate blame especially when this is directed towards small-scale or subsistence farmers who still provide at least 53% of the global food supply.

Regenerative Culture / Good News Stories

Wild carnivores stage a comeback in Britain

‘Once-endangered carnivorous mammals such as otters, polecats and pine martens have staged a remarkable comeback in Britain in recent decades. [W]ith the exception of wildcats the status of Britain’s native mammalian carnivores (badger, fox, otter, pine marten, polecat, stoat and weasel) has “markedly improved” since the 1960s. The species have largely “done it for themselves” – recovering once harmful human activities had been stopped or reduced’

Video from the Devon Wildlife Trust: beaver completing her lodge after seven hours’ work

In related good news beavers have been granted protected status by the government of Scotland.

Thank you

Thank you for reading this, our 15th 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 xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

This newsletter was written collaboratively by a hivemind of 12 rebels.

As we enter this crucial and potentially final phase in human history, our Rebellion will need money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated. Please visit our Fundrazr page.

Alternatively, 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.

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

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