Newsletter #17 – Paint the Streets

Welcome to the 17th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter!

As we approach the 1st of April, we’re deadly serious about the need for rebellion.

It’s with regret, therefore, that we must first announce a postponement of the planned Dover Blockade action: organisers have decided to focus their resources on the many other actions coming up.

Our main focus right now is International Rebellion. Those rebelling in London can use this new form to either request or offer accommodation (email xr.accommodation@gmail.com for queries), and coming to London just got a whole lot easier with the option of XR coaches. Unless you’d rather walk!

Before then, we’re asking rebels across the globe to join us in Painting the Streets. We’ve painted the town red in London and painted Glasgow blue. Next is covering the world in a green message. And with the Letters to the Earth campaign starting soon after (with the submissions deadline on March 29th), we’ll be spreading this message through airwaves and public spaces.

Elsewhere, XR has seen some exciting international developments. In  Belgium, XR and Greenpeace members have joined forces to pressure their government towards legislation on climate. Not far away, French rebels gathered in Paris for a phenomenal declaration of rébellion. There have been yet more actions in Spain, Australia and India. See below for details!

And before the International Rebellion gets going, we need training. See our Announcements for opportunities to get trained in First Aid and in speaking to the media, and check out our events page to find a Non-Violent Direct Action training near you.

If you’d like to get more involved with XR, 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.

You can check out local upcoming events on our website at 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.

Contents

  • Recent Activity
  • Upcoming Activity
  • Act now
  • International Highlights
  • Announcements
  • News & Recommended Content

Recent Activity

Earth March

ONGOING

Our rebellious Earth Marchers continue to make speedy ground as they make there way progress through the country to arrive in London for International Rebellion Week on 15th April. The Cornwall group recently reached Exeter in Devon, while the Cardiff rebels arrived in Cardiff on Monday. Others  are joining the march for different legs of the journey. The recent blog post from Jackie Dash tells us a bit more about how they’re getting on:

“We gradually found ourselves back in narrow winding lanes with sheep held in their enclosures, hedgerows and woodland defining our way. As we took another break, lolling on a roadside embankment next to a small holding, a woman in a pink top leaned from a bedroom window offering support in the form of a tray of tea, Jaffa Cakes and a most welcome ‘gardener’s toilet’…Wonderful. Of course, she was wholeheartedly supportive of our commitment to Rebellion and wished us well.

On towards Moretonhampstead, where some some local people had come out to meet us and guide us into town. At the Parish Hall we were greeted with more tea, before we were provided with an array of curries, cakes and cream teas!! What an amazing community!! Rachel, who has worked as liaison with me around Earth March had brought all of this together with many wonderful people in the town and from what I gather, this endeavour is now steadily progressing towards establishing a local XR Group here.

We were taken home by Kate and John, Quaker Friends, who lavished us with bottles of wine, cheese and biscuits and all the home comforts one needs at the end of a really good day. Thank you Moretonhampstead, One and All!!”

You can read the full post here. If you’re interested in joining the Earth March for part  of the journey, please look at their Facebook page and use their search function to find specific legs.

Sheffield XR block traffic

19 MAR

50 ordinary folk from Sheffield’s Extinction Rebellion blocked the inner ring road in this major city for 60 minutes in the morning rush hour. Sheffield station is one of the top 10 most polluted places in the UK. The Sheffield rebels “facilitated pedestrians getting past the cars” to the station – a  service to the community! School kids and rail travellers joined in. The Police were marvellous, supportive and protective.  

Traffic was backed up right round the ring road and miles out of the city towards the M1. The classic swarming technique worked perfectly. We had wide coverage on local radio, press and TV. On BBC Look North (9 mins 30 secs into clip), two out of three drivers interviewed were positive:

“….I don’t mind being late for work… Brilliant that people are trying to make a difference. So important!”

Our first road blocking action. We feel energised.

Scotland XR painting Glasgow blue

21 MAR

Rebels in Glasgow covered George Square in blue footprints, symbolising the threat of sea-level rise to the city’s streets and squares, and swarmed the streets. The action follows a week of peaceful lunch time sit-ins at the Glasgow Council City Chambers to call on the council to declare a climate emergency and take urgent action after 30 years of delays.

Funeral processions in Brighton & Northampton

24 MAR

Human activity is the cause of the greatest extinction in history of a huge number of species. This week we held funeral processions  In Brighton and Northampton to mourn all the life that has been lost because of our inaction. Rebels held silent funeral marches complete with bagpipes, gravestones and flowers. Watch this video of the action in Brighton. Find out more about how global warming will lead to mass extinction of life on earth: read our blog.

Send in your stories

Decentralisation is a key element of XR’s ethos so while high-profile actions will often take place in the big cities, every week we’re eager to celebrate all the amazing actions across the country and the world. 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

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.

Dover Blockade

POSTPONED

It is with regret that we are postponing the Dover action until later in the year. In light of logistical concerns about our ability to definitely ensure participants’ safety, and within the context of concerns raised around the timing of the action, we are choosing to focus our energies on the International Rebellion beginning April 15.

Sincere apologies to all those who were looking forward to participating and particularly to anybody who had changed  personal plans in order to be there..

Culture Declares Emergency: Letters to the Earth

12 APR – 28 APR | Worldwide

Last week, a group of arts and culture organisations and individuals called ‘Culture Declares Emergency’ officially launched ‘Letters to the Earth’. The campaign is asking for people to write and submit letters in response to the climate and ecological emergency. Some of the UK’s leading art institutions – including the Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe – have joined in the callout and will be hosting a day of action on 12th April where the  letters will be read/performed in public.

The pieces will then be made rights free and available for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15th – 28th April, coinciding with the International Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate. These pieces  can be presented and performed globally when hundreds of thousands of people will be taking to the streets worldwide to demand that governments tell the truth about climate collapse and act accordingly.

Deadline for submissions is on 29th March. Please visit their website at www.letterstotheearth.com to find out more.

Critical Mass

29 MAR | 18:30 – 21:00 | Waterloo Bridge, London

29 MAR | 18:45 – 20:15 | The Forum, Norwich

XR groups are taking over the streets by bicycle. We’ll cycle together as a group, asserting our right to be on the road. This is not illegal. We have the same right to the road as cars. We’re not blocking traffic. We ARE traffic. We’ll go as slow or fast as we want, and won’t leave anyone behind.

29 MAR – XR London will gather at 18:30 on Waterloo Bridge, leaving around 19:00.

29 MAR – XR Norwich will meet at 18:45 in front of The Forum, leaving around 19:00.

This will be an opportunity to practice an action, build existing relationships, and make new ones.


XR Paint the Streets Worldwide

30 MAR | Worldwide

Starting in just a few days’ time, XR groups around the world will take part in Paint the Streets – a week of breaking laws and social norms by using creative artwork and street performance to tell the truth about  the environmental and the democratic crisis. It’s a wake-up for fellow citizens and a call to arms for the International Rebellion beginning on April 15th.

Is your affinity group clued up yet? To help groups with planning and preparing for the action, the London team have written an Advice and Guidelines document which we’ll continue to update throughout the week. We hope you’re inspired to get creative and go even further! Be sure to hashtag your social media posts with #ExtinctionRebellion and #PaintTheStreets. We’ll be looking out for your fine work.

In this action, anyone can join at any level of commitment, and everyone can play their part –

  • From handing out flyers on street corners,
  • To slapping a few stickers on your way into work every day,
  • To standing up on the bus and speaking the truth to fellow passengers,
  • To replacing the adverts on train carriages and bus stops,
  • To performing in high streets and squares
  • ….and so on!

Please see our Facebook event to find out more.

Sound the Alarm – XRyouth

28 MAR | 10:00 – 16:00 | Bristol, Leeds, Manchester & more

Following the inspiration of Ghanaian students who have been using whistles to disrupt classes during the school strike, students will be sounding the alarm everywhere. Set off alarms in institutions to alert everyone of government inaction on the sixth mass extinction.

Email xryouth.actions@gmail.com if you want to get involved:

Actions are already planned in Bristol, Leeds and Manchester.  See facebook page

In the spirit of open, disruptive action- we will be informing the emergency services beforehand.   

XR Street Party – Manchester

31 MAR | 11:00 | Oxford Road, Manchester

To celebrate our future and bring together those who are prepared to stand up in its defence, a street party is in order!! We are going to host a family friendly event to reclaim the streets of our city.

We are in open, peaceful rebellion against the UK Government and Manchester City Council must declare a climate emergency and follow this with concrete action.Manchester airport must not expand, doing so is a foolish and dangerous decision. We also demand a full review of the 2038 decarbonisation targets to bring them in line with IPCC and other independent bodies findings to avert the worst of climate breakdown.

This action is to help set the stage for our International Rebellion starting April where thousands will occupy the streets of London. Let us know you’re coming on our Facebook event page

Act Now

1. Ask your MP to sign Caroline Lucas’ climate emergency early day motion. https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/52682/ukwide-climate-emergency. After the failure of most MPs to attend the climate debate last month, will any more show they will take action in line with the science? Or will we hear  yet more excuses? Or a deadly silence? Currently the motion has collected only 37 signatures. Pathetic!

Contact your MP (https://www.writetothem.com/ or https://www.mpsontwitter.co.uk/list)

2. Contact your local XR branch and ask for a roll of stickers or a bunch of flyers.

Our Paint the Streets guide has some amazing, imaginative and ambitious ideas but there’s loads of room for simple involvement by individuals or  groups. On your commute, a few well placed stickers will help to build our message for International Rebellion.

3. Message 50 friends and invite  them to join the International Rebellion.

It could be the most important thing you ever do on social media. To be heard by those in power,  we need a multitude of people to join us in rebellion from April 15. We can probably offer accommodation to those who need it. Please fill in this form to request or offer accommodation in London and/or  email xr.accommodation@gmail.com for queries. We’ve booked coaches from all over the country. Every single one of you  counts.

International Highlights

India

15 MAR

Extinction Rebellion is gradually gaining traction in India with rebels using the international student strike as an opportunity to organise their first events. In two major cities, Delhi and Gurugram, XR helped students manage their protests. These events were a huge success, attracting attention from hundreds of enthusiastic students and local and international media. Indian rebels tell us that social and cultural factors, which vary regionally, make rebellion challengingut they are committed to the cause and will keep working. They hope to have their next action in April. We will keep you updated on their progress.

Spain

21 MAR

Rebels gathered in Barcelona, at the headquarters of Radio Catalonia, to hand-deliver an open letter to mainstream media. The letter requests coverage of the climate crisis be given the prominence and consistency it deserves. It  points out that this crisis is no longer an inconvenient truth but an unavoidable reality and that to respond appropriately, citizens need accurate information. The letter was signed by over 200 notable people including scientists, economists and representatives of social movements. You can read the full letter (in Spanish) here, and watch a video of the event here.

Australia

22 MAR

Australia’s Declaration of Emergency day saw rebels in four cities deliver their message to government officials in four buildings. In Melbourne, rebels with angel costumes, representing climate guardians, led the march to the Prime Minister’s office where they were  shut out and ignored by government officials. Their thoughtful words raised up en masse would undoubtedly have been heard though, and a security guard accepted their written declaration. All of this and some of the preceding action is in this extended video. Rebels in Adelaide sang songs of peace as they delivered their declaration to the State Administration Centre. Similar actions took place in Sydney and Brisbane. And the pressure it working; Adelaide council will vote this week on declaring a climate emergency!

Germany

22 + 23 MAR

In Berlin, rebels held a protest to disrupt a meeting of the of coalition leading party CDU’s Council of Economic Affairs. The following day they staged a die-in at Berlin’s Tegel airport to highlight the extreme climate damage caused by aeroplanes.

France

24 MAR

France declared their rebellion, marking the beginning of non-violent civil disobedience there. The  Paris event opened with a concert and included speeches from scientists, authors and activists, and offered creative workshops for all ages. There was extensive media coverage including (in French) here, here, and here. Simultaneously, rebels performed a die-in at the Natural History Museum, Paris. French rebels are now busy planning their next actions.

Belgium

24 – 26 MAR

Extinction Rebellion Belgium and Greenpeace Belgium jointly organised Occupy For Climate in Brussels. Joined by hundreds of people, many of them members of various other environmental groups, they occupied the area in front of the Parliament building in Brussels. After camping there on Sunday night, and after discussions with police, they moved to nearby Troonplein where they spent Monday night. They were pressuring legislators to make constitutional amendments that would allow a law to be passed binding the government to commitments already made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Their persistence paid off The Constitutional Review Committee voted on Tuesday to make the necessary amendment. Now it must be put to a plenary vote on Thursday. Most rebels have left, but a small hardcore team is camping out until then. You can follow their progress on their facebook page.

Announcements

Travelling to the Rebellion

14 APR ONWARDS

International Rebellion is coming. We have Earth Marchers and Rebel Riders coming from across the country to arrive in London in time for the 15th. For those of you unable to join these inspiring pilgrimages, we have organised coaches from multiple cities across the UK.

These will be arriving in London from the 14th April, and throughout the week to accommodate the various needs of Rebels across the UK wanting to join the Rebellion

Please follow this link to see the coach tickets we have available.

After arriving in London, you’ll find  a range of accommodation options for the days following April 15th. We recommend requesting a space in good time to ensure that you are placed with a host. Please follow this link to book a place, or offer a space for fellow Rebels.

First Aid Training in London

13 APR | 09:15 – 16:30 First Aid Training   | Kings Cross, London

14 APR | 09:30 – 16:30 First Aid Revision  | Kings Cross, London

We are pleased to announce our First Aid training session. Everyone partaking will receive a certificate from First Aid for Life. We have limited space available but we are eager to get people trained up with a decent FA provider like First Aid for Life (approved by the HSE).

XR is funding this training, but would appreciate  a donation towards this properly accredited certificate, as well as a small commitment to help out during our weeks of International Rebellion starting on the 15th April.

Please bring an ID, some comfy clothes and arrive 15 minutes early.

We will need to confirm the FULL cohort by March 30th by the latest, so please don’t delay!

First Aid Revision will be taught by Jill Bartlett and is happening on the 14th April. There is no certificate for this event but r it may be useful for existing practitioners, or  those who have existing training and would like a refresher. If you have a general interest in FA and wish to come, then you are welcome, but those with prior experience or wish to revise their skills will take priority for spaces.

Jill was previously an ambulance IHCD and  a trainer for the British Red Cross. She is passionate about empowering people to support  one other in emergency situations. The Regen Team are grateful for her valued input.

If either event is something that interests you, then please get in touch!

EMAIL: tomashbylennard@gmail.com

VENUE: 184 – 192 Drummond Street, 4th Floor, Kings Cross, London

Spokespeople Callout

Could you be a spokesperson for the rebellion? Media interest will be high around April 15th and we’re looking for people from all walks of life who are ready to have a voice and make a difference. Everybody welcome – no need to be a climate scientist or a super smooth talker. Ordinary, informed folk are very welcome.. You’ll be representing yourself, not XR as an organisation, and we’re extra keen to hear from people who are trying activism for the first time. Contact Nuala Gathercole Lam at nmgathercolelam@gmail.com, and inckude some details about yourself. Training available on and off-line.

Faith and Extinction: holding the world in our hearts

We live in a secular society where, for the last few hundred years, affairs of the heart and spirit have been firmly kept separate from the “worldly” affairs of power and politics. And yet many are longing for a deeper connection to one another and enlisting in actions of civil disobedience. This demonstrates that the craft of civil disobedience as a powerful force for societal transformation when held from the heart and with the intention of non-violence (see in particular Mark & Paul Engel’s book “This is an Uprising”).

Creating “sacred space” may be no more than just telling people to put a hand on one another’s shoulder as we gather together, a remembrance of touch and togetherness uncommon in our atomised culture, the “sacredness” coming through an alignment of intentions through an action that, in its own small way, opens the heart.

We now have an online “intention field” Facebook group, “Holding the World in our Hearts”, which we invite you to join. Together we hold the intention to move through our planetary crisis with “love in action” and “love in stillness”. We lean into the riches of our imagination and curiosity and through our hearts into leadership. Please join us and dedicate your sacred practices to this vision. We are planning regular ‘virtual meetups’ where we can contribute our love, our intentions and our spiritual and heart-led capacities for creating a more beautiful world. Please join us!

Internal newsletter

Want to get the inside track on developments in XR UK? If you’d like to be added to the internal newsletter, please email xr-newsletter@protonmail.com with ‘Internal subscribe’ in the subject line.

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

News & Recommended Content

1. Good News | David Attenborough to Present New BBC Film on Climate Change

BBC presenter David Attenborough is to host a one-off documentary about climate change, which last year he called “humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years”. Attenborough says that conditions have changed far faster than he could have imagined only a few decades ago, and the BBC says that the film will offer “an unflinching explanation of what dangerous levels of climate change could mean for human populations”.

2. Good News | US Judge Blocks Hundreds of Drilling Projects on Public Land

In a decision hailed by campaigners as a “triumph for our climate,” a US federal judge has ruled that the Bureau of Land Management must take greenhouse gas emissions into account when making decisions about leasing public lands. As a result, drilling for oil and gas has been halted on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming with lawsuits to follow in other states.

“With the science mounting that we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases, this ruling is monumental,” said Kyle Tisdel, attorney and energy and communities program director for the Western Environmental Law Center. “Every acre of our public land sold to the oil and gas industry is another blow to the climate, making this ruling a powerful reality check on the Trump administration and a potent tool for reining in climate pollution.”

3. Latest News |  Global Honours for Two South African Climate Scientists

Two South Africans have been recognised for their behind-the-scenes work mitigating climate change. Dr. Debra Roberts was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people on climate policy by the public servants’ networking group Apolitical, and Dr. Jackie King was awarded the prestigious 2019 Stockholm Water Prize for her research on rivers which “has helped decision-makers understand that healthy river ecosystems are not a luxury, but the basis for sustainable development”.

4. Latest News |  Uganda’s Young Climate Activists Go on Strike

As a developing nation, Uganda experiences some of the worst effects of climate change while contributing little to its causes. But Ugandan students are fighting back. One of their leaders is Vanessa Nakate who decided to act after learning about Uganda’s changing rainfall and temperature patterns. Nakate couldn’t find a local group of activists to join, so she started striking as an individual, sharing her story on social media and inspiring other students around the country.

5. Latest News| Top oil firms spending millions lobbying to block climate change policies, says report

A new report details how top fossil fuel firms are paying lip service to low carbon projects while at the same time spending vast sums on lobbying to block climate legislation.

6. Extreme weather | 90% of Mozambican city of Beira destroyed by Cyclone Idai

‘The city was cut off from due to the effect of strong winds and rains that continued across the week according to reports. Most communities were submerged with all communication lines cut off. Deaths have been reported along with massive human displacement and destruction of buildings in Beira.’ This Grist article provides extra context.

7. Extreme weather | Flooding in America’s Midwest and Twin cyclones batter Australia

Farmers in America’s Midwest face decades of recovery from the recent catastrophic flooding. Towns, farms and infrastructure are still under flood water which will take months to fully drain away. The task of restoring the soil imay take decades. And the risk of flooding is still present, with areas along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers facing major flooding through May. Meanwhile, Cyclones Trevor and Veronica hit Northern and Western Australia in quick succession.

8. Recommended Content | Podcast & Video

The XR Podcast Team have released their second episode, XR Podcast Episode 2 – Nonviolent Rebellion looking at one of the Rebellion’s core values and strategies: nonviolence. Featuring interviews with XR members. Be inspired by spoken word poet, Magero’s, beautiful new video about our personal responsibility to fight climate change. Climate Change Need Not Become the Legacy We Leave

9. Recommended content | A view from the Isle of Wight

I loved this compilation of photos and words by photographer, Lucy Boyton. They show a relatively small XR event on the Isle of Wight but  the sentiments of not blaming each other, and tackling climate change as an act of love, is particularly moving.

10. Recommended content | Electric cars, vegan food & recycled trolls

Looking back to the dieselgate scandal and forward to electric cars, this long read piece in The Guardian is a sweeping look at the failures of many governments across Europe regarding diesel regulations and a possible future with electric cars with the ominous banner of fossil fuel companies flying overhead.

Fancy trying a new vegan restaurant? This article in The Guardian reviews several restaurants across the UK specialising in vegan chow.

Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, has created over 40 giant troll sculptures across the world with more  planned. Thomas believes that these sculptures, all made from locally sourced discarded wood, will help teach people to recycle more of their rubbish and “to think of our trash as something beautiful instead of something disgusting.”

Thank you

Thank you for reading. 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 phase in human history, our Rebellion  needs money to make sure our message is heard. Any amount is much appreciated. Please visit our Fundrazr page.

Alternatively, standing orders or money transfers  can 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, PayPal payments can be made to info@risingup.org.uk.

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

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