Newsletter #18 – Never mind the bollocks, here’s the elephant in the room

Greetings Rebels!

Welcome to the 18th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter, another rip-roaring guide to events happening and events happened in the XR universe.

Highlights wise, let’s start with the bare essentials and the eleven brave rebels who got naked this week in the public gallery of the Houses of Parliament. Reminding everyone that yes, there is a climate crisis, and no, it cannot be ignored, this cheeky bit of action garnered a whole lot of media attention. Normally it’s the Mail and Murdoch press ogling the flesh, but this bevy of buttocks even made it onto the front page of The Guardian. Not too shabby.

Paint the streets meanwhile, XR’s DIY guerrilla marketing campaign, has got off to a fly(post)ing start – with XR posters and stickers sprouting up across the globe like little truth mushrooms. Special creative bonus points to the rebels who printed their own clothes pegs and clipped them onto commuters! More details below and more updates here.

Casting our collective gaze further afield we have updates on XR Ghana and how it is forging links across West Africa, details of a die-in by Dutch rebels in Amsterdam’s financial district, and a full blown funeral for the Earth in Cape Town.

But despite all this excellent hustle and bustle on behalf of our planet, the great day of International Rebellion must not be forgotten. Yes, April 15th looms larger and more lustrous than ever, so lets make sure our affinity groups are ready with all the latest details. A comprehensive guide to the event is available here.

And if you’re in London on the 14th, please consider coming to join our incredible Earth Marchers​ for the final day’s walking, as they converge on Hyde Park from all sides of London. Let’s give them the welcome they deserve!

If you’d like to get more involved with XR, and really why wouldn’t you, please check out our volunteers page. If you prefer to keep it close to home, why not get in touch with your nearest XR group. And if you’re time poor, but able to spare a few coins, maybe you could drop them into our fundraiser pot.

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. It’s basically the DNA of XR.


Contents

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





Recent Activity

Rebels strip off in House of Commons

1st April

We know you’re all sick and tired of hearing about Brexit and it’s monotonous carrying on with the same old indecisive nonsense week in, week out. Well, we hope this didn’t make you miss the debates on Monday evening where Extinction Rebellion stirred things up and switched the subject from Brexit to climate emergency!

11 rebels stripped off during debates and glued their hands to the glass in the public gallery. During the peaceful protest, rebels stood with their arses pointed at MPs and spoke frankly with onlookers about climate breakdown, before singing and dancing along to the nursery rhyme ‘Nelly the Elephant’ in reference to climate change being ‘the elephant in the room.’

Rebels had painted ‘SOS’ and ‘For Life’ on their chests, managing to hold their ground for 20 minutes before being removed. 12 people involved were willingly arrested.

While all eyes are on the UK due to the Brexit mess, this was a unique opportunity to shake things up and get the global media talking about the climate crisis. The support within the gallery was positive with MPs laughing and many people within the gallery cheering the rebels on, no doubt relieved to have a breather from Brexit, even if just for 20 minutes.

Earth March Update

As the International Week of Rebellion looms closer, Earth Marchers have continued their journey towards London, buoyed by the support of people along the way: the Bath and Bristol group reaching All Cannings, Devizes, while the Cornwall group reached Bruton, stopping by Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh’s office on the way. Meanwhile other groups are gearing up for their March beginning this week including: the Colchester March setting off on 9th April; the Brighton March on 7th April; the Ashdown forest March also setting off on the 7th April along the Greenwich Meridian, amongst others.

This week, Maddy Adams shares her experience from the Cardiff to Swansea XR March on the Earth March blog:

It was joyous to be walking in the glorious sunshine, through beautiful countryside with fabulous friends old and new.

Felt hugely grateful to the public, supporting and nourishing us along the way, and to the XR members who greeted us at our destination.

Felt thankful for the hundreds and hundreds of “honks” of support and thumbs up from drivers passing us on the roads.

Felt inspired by the teacher who listened to us sing to his schoolchildren at the school gates, as they left school for the day.

Total admiration for Laurie 87, still marching, still caring, still fighting for a better world.’

You can read the full post here https://rebellionearth.uk/reflections-experience-xr-earth-march-pilgrimage-planet-4-day-swansea-cardiff-legs/

If you’re interested in joining the Earth March for part of the journey, please look at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/XRMarchForLife/

Tower Hamlets Street Party

30th April

Saturday 30th April, XR London had there third Saturday Street Party, following Crouch End’s on the 24th March. It was another family friendly day, with local residents holding a communal space for creative discussion of how to deal with the climate and ecological crisis. Discussion centred around the key local issue of air pollution, with children in Tower Hamlets having “stunted lungs”, 5-10% smaller than they should be – according to a 2018, large scale study by King’s College London.

Blocking the main junction in Bethnal Green for twenty minutes, the group followed a samba led procession into a park, where a numbers of speakers and performers were heard, for an uplifting day of solutions focused discussion. This celebration of our collective power followed Tower Hamlets Council declaring a climate emergency on the 20th March. Over 40 Councils have declared a climate emergency since Extinction Rebellions Declaration day in October 2018.

Manchester Street Party

31st March

Sunday 31st March, Manchester rebels put on a fantastic street party in Stevenson Square. The sun was out, the shops opened their doors to join in, and the community came together in a beautiful fun filled day. Manchester DJs B L O O M performed, with a number of local bands supporting, to spread the love with amazing music – all pedal powered! The food was home-made or saved from going to landfill, with donations pouring in at the vintage market stall. The samba band held the day together and attracted people from across the city – with conga lines going for hours. It was a beautifully rebellious day for Manchester.

Paint the Streets

Paint the Streets officially kicked off on Sunday 31st March with rebels all over the globe plastering XR posters and stickers in public spaces. Rebels have been working hard to break the law and get the XR message out there in places ranging from London to Berlin to Austin. The London Underground might have been worst hit with the XR adornments stuck all over stations and billboards in as many awkward spots as possible, and there has been a makeshift ‘nature’s graveyard’ in Bethnal Green, with animals at risk of extinction named on the gravestones. One clever group of troublemakers have printed ‘Rebel for Life’ on clothes pegs and have been clipping them to coats of tourists and commuters. Bravo, you lot!

Regional groups have also been doing their bit, such as in Bristol where young rebels have been painting murals encouraging onlookers to join in the fun.

Harmonie, writing to us from Exeter, says:

We painted the streets of Exeter with chalks, posters, leaflets and stickers. We displayed the XR message on bus stops, doors, cashpoints and shop windows. We adorned the statues in the city with big banners and held a stall all day printing XR logos on anything we were offered. Our day ended with a die in on private land in a shopping centre where the police who had been lovely all day stepped back and let us protest in peace.

Please keep an eye out for updates by following the Facebook event here.

Critical Mass


Rebel riders swarmed the streets last Friday, handing out leaflets to passers by as they rode their bikes around Central London. Rebels set off from Waterloo Bridge at 6:30pm wearing high vis jackets and clad with leaflets containing information about International Rebellion Week starting on 15th April.

Story 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

Taunton Rebellion Day – Samba March

6 APR | 11:00 | Taunton High Street, Taunton

This week, Taunton XR organises its first event: a peaceful Samba March through Taunton to raise awareness of the sixth mass extinction, climate change and ecological breakdown. They are meeting on the High Street at 11am calling everyone to join them for a Day of Rebellion.

You can see details of the event on https://www.facebook.com/events/975998342788099/

Climb for the Earth, family-friendly parade and climb

7 APR | 15:00 | Llanberis, Wales

On Sunday 7th of April the world class climber James McHaffie will climb a new route in North Wales – and name it after Extinction Rebellion. He will raise an Extinction Rebellion banner to draw attention to the climate emergency and to mark the countdown to International Rebellion.

Join James and other climbers: XR Earth Climb and Parade, Llanberis, Wales

Ahead of this, and to mark the event, on the 7th of April there will be a family friendly parade in Llanberis from 3pm until 4pm. Starting at the Electric Mountain Visitor Centre (beside the lake), we’ll walk along the lakeside and finish at Pete’s Eats where James will give a talk. In addition to James’ talk local people will talk about their concerns about the changes to the landscape that they have seen over the years.

The dress code is ‘animal’ so come dressed up if you can. Enjoy the festivities and have fun with this unique and important event.

Look at the Facebook page for details of the event https://www.facebook.com/events/492319227968529/?active_tab=about

Local section of Earth March – Brighton to Peacehaven

7 APR | 13:30 | Palace Pier, Brighton

On Sunday 7th April, the Earth March from Brighton will set off, with a fully accessible and family-friendly walk along the undercliff path. Along the way, marchers will encounter: a Rebel Piano; a Fun Beach Cleaning opportunity; and of course, tea and cake! Other ideas are very welcome, including poems and readings, meditation by the sea or rockpooling.

Anyone wishing to join the March is invited to meet 1.30pm at the Palace Pier for a 2pm start.  At the end of the March, people can easily return to Brighton independently via public buses on the coastal route.

The full path available here : https://www.komoot.com/tour/59089721/embed…

See also the Facebook page for the event on https://www.facebook.com/events/2373598602924147/

XR Fashion Action: Circus of Excess

12 APR | 18:30 – 19:30 | Oxford Circus

Join the Fashion Circus – dynamic sustainable fashion show in the street at Oxford Circus on 12th April then swarm to Buckingham Palace to demand a response from the queen (bee)! Rebels will be taking over London’s Oxford Circus, the epicentre of the fast-fashion shopping “experience”. The Tokyo-style zebra ‘X’ crossing is to be turned into a catwalk as XR Fashion Action teams up with students from art and fashion colleges and universities all over London to showcase their sustainable fashion and body-protest designs. The theme “Fashion: Circus of Excess” addresses issues of un-sustainability in fashion and how its practices impact other species.

The models will parade across the iconic crossing, accompanied by the XR choir and XR musicians. This will include opera singers and an amplified string quartet performing Beethoven’s ‘Ode An Die Freude’ (Ode to Joy) from his Symphony number 9, drums ensemble “EarthNicht”, and blues band Gabriel Byrd and the Ambitious Bastards.  Surrounding the performers in a circle will be XR cyclists, there to provide both protection and lighting.

Find out more on the Facebook event here.

Power Beyond Borders – Solidarity Event

26 – 30 JUL | South East England (Specific Timings & Location TBA)

Are you against new fossil fuel power stations and racist border policies in the UK? If so, this mass action camp might be just the event for you.

Power Beyond Borders is your chance to meet people from across Europe and beyond, have a great time protesting for climate and migrant justice, and take direct action over two urgent injustices: Drax Power’s plan to start building Britain’s biggest gas fired power station this autumn.

 And Theresa May’s ‘Hostile Environment’ policy, a scheme that inflicts raids, imprisonment, and violent deportation on those seeking refuge in the UK.

The camp is being hosted by Reclaim The Power (RTP) a national network fighting social and environmental and economic justice through direct action. Everyone is welcome this summer, and there are three things you can do right now to make the camp a success.




1) Fill in this short form to let RTP know you are coming and what skills you might bring. 

2) Spread the word on social media (Facebook Page #PowerBeyondBorders #ClimateJustice #MigrantJustice) 

3) Contact RTP to host a workshop or find out more (powerbeyondborders@protonmail.com)

When the location is announced, we’ll let you know.

Samba for Rebellion

APR 13 – 14 | Near Euston (TBD)

Two samba drumming groups are coming to London on 13 April to support protests, block roads and teach samba over the following weeks! On Sat 13th and Sun 14th of April we are organising two days of samba practice in preparation for the International Rebellion in London. All skill levels welcome!

If you would like to join the XR Samba Band, don’t hesitate! XR have invested in the drums and we need players. We are going to have at least two Samba bands and the workshops will likely be near Euston. Please sign up using the Facebook link here.


Act Now

1. Join our call for MPs to sign the Parliamentary motion to declare Climate Emergency.

We’re asking all XR members living in the UK to write to their MPs. This will be a concerted push of ‘soft pressure’ before we take to more disruptive measures on the 15th of April; we’re looking for hundreds of letters. Find out more about the motion here.

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

2. Make or sponsor a dead canary

From the 15th of April, thousands in the UK will be making our way to London to be involved in non violent direct action to pressure the government to change their planet wrecking policies. Many people want to have their voice heard but aren’t able to make it to London … so send a message – send an emissary to represent you, your group, your village. The Irish Prime Minister said ‘If we were miners we would be up to our knees in dead canaries’ … send a beautiful dead canary to represent you: make it yourself, in a group, at school and send it along to the International Rebellion with your local XR group.

If you can’t make a canary yourself, but still want to support the work of XR, you can sponsor a canary: we’ll make your canary and take it with us to the International Rebellion – and we’ll pile them high as a visual manifestation of our predicament. We’d like the whole of the UK to be represented! Start making your canaries now, about hand size is good, make them YELLOW with a string to hang them by, reuse, recycle, use what you have! We need diversity. We need to show the government the damage their policies are doing! Can’t wait to see your amazing Dead Canary Emissaries!

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

Collaboration in Ghana

27 FEB + 6 MAR

Extinction Rebellion Ghana has joined up with multiple grassroots organisations and informal groups in West Africa under an umbrella group working against humanitarian, social and environmental injustice. They held a meeting in Accra to give a statement to local chiefs and international media calling for a pan-African climate emergency. They want an end to ‘Maangamizi’: the genocide and ecocide inflicted on their continent. Instead they aim for the rise of ‘Ubuntunkonso’: a term used to describe international, progressive movement towards a just and equitable world where humanity and nature are protected.

XR Ghana already has an ongoing, inventive ‘whistling exercise’ to draw attention to the climate emergency. It began in schools as part of the international student strikes, and has proved to be an ear-catching way to make their point. On 6 March, Ghana’s Independence Day, they continued this theme with a ‘whistle blowing for climate emergency’ action at a main square in Accra.

Earth Funeral in South Africa

23 MAR

Four generations of South African rebels, including community and spiritual leaders, held a funeral for the earth in Cape Town. The somber procession, complete with coffin, moved through the community gardens and was followed by speeches, music . . . and bellydancing!

Dutch rebels disrupt financial district

27 MAR

Rebels staged a die-in in the financial district of Amsterdam during evening rush hour. They sought to call attention to the role these companies play in causing climate breakdown by supporting the fossil fuel industry.

Photo credit: Egbert Born

Rise For Climate Belgium

28 + 31 MAR

Continuing last week’s action in Brussels, rebels held a protest titled “Make Noise for an Ethical Choice” outside the parliament building. And make noise they did! They were pressuring politicians to pass a constitutional amendment improving climate legislation. Disappointingly, parliament did not pass the amendment.

A few days later a group of international rebels joined the Rise For Climate Belgium march, putting pressure on Belgian and European politicians to make the necessary changes to reverse climate breakdown. On their way to join the main march rebels were escorted by police, for their own safety as there had just been a violent incident (unrelated to XR). This live-stream video shows the police collaboration, some footage of the march, and interviews with rebels from several countries. This one shows rebels taking the stage and speaking after the march.

Letters from Catalonia

21 MAR

Last Thursday afternoon (21st of March 2019), XR Barcelona handed in an open letter in person to the director of Catalunya Ràdio (Catalan public radio channel), Mr. Saul Gordillo. This letter was addressed to the CCMA (Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals/ Audiovisual Media Catalan Corporation), and is intended for the attention of the rest of the media. It requires the media to assume its responsibility in the face of the climate emergency, and demands a coverage in accordance with the scale of the emergency situation.

The letter has been signed individually by relevant people from science, culture, Catalan unions, politics and social movements. People who are part of the main scientific and university institutions of Catalonia and many other sectors of civil society. We have gathered 230 signatures in total, but more and more people continue messaging us asking to join the petition.

You can find a copy of the letter here, and media coverage here.

The letter has also been sent to the deputies of the Catalan Parliament, and will be discussed at the next control session in April, and two deputies have confirmed to XR Barcelona that it will be discussed in an upcoming session.


Announcements

PIEL Environmental Law Conference 2019 – Solidarity Event

12 APR | 9.30 – 5.30pm | Cast Business School, London

A number of leading academics and legal specialists (including XR’s very own Farhana Yamin!) will be speaking next Friday about why environmental law is crucial to solving the climate crisis.

Run by students and hosted by Public Interest Environmental Law UK, this conference will explore the theme “12 years to mitigate, legislate and litigate: How can environmental law adapt in time?”

Whether you’re a legal eagle or just passionate about ending environmental injustice, the event promises to be an inspiring and insightful day of discussion.

Student and adult tickets are available here.

Arrestibles willing to be in the media

Are you new to activism and planning to get arrested for the first time during the International Rebellion? The XR media team is looking for people like you, from around the country, whose stories we can share with the mainstream press.  If you’ve recently been inspired to join the movement and to take non-violent direct action for the first time, we would love to hear from you.

Please email zoeblackler@gmail.com asap

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. US Judge Rules Against Trump’s Offshore Drilling Expansion

A coalition of indigenous Alaskans and environmental groups has won a victory against the Trump administration’s offshore drilling policy. In 2017 Trump signed an executive order overturning Obama’s ban on offshore drilling in 500,000 square acres of the continental shelf, including the Arctic and the Atlantic coast, but the court has ruled that only Congress has the authority to reintroduce drilling. Athan Manuel of the Sierra Club described the outcome as “great news for the Arctic Ocean, great news for the planet, great news for the fight against climate change”.

2. Most Americans Now Worry about Climate Change – And Want to Fix It

Two new surveys reveal that recent natural disasters and extreme weather have shifted US public opinion on the reality and seriousness of climate change. The percentage of Americans who say global warming is personally important has risen to 72%, while 60% agreed that it is caused by human activity, and nearly half would support carbon taxes.

3. Evidence for Climate Change Meets Physics’ Gold Standard

A new analysis shows that the evidence for climate changes passes the highest evidentiary bar in the field of physics, known as five sigma, putting “a nail in the coffin” of denier theories.

4. Antarctic Project to Drill for Oldest-Ever Ice Core

An international team of geoscientists funded by the European Commission is planning to sample a 1.5 million-year-old Antarctic ice core this June. Ice cores are a key form of evidence about the Earth’s past climate, but no ice older than 800,000 years has yet been retrieved. The team hopes that finding ice of this age will improve our understanding of the climate oscillations that regularly affected the Earth before the climate stabilised about one million years ago. “This iconic project will help us better understand climate change in the past and to come”, says principal investigator Carlo Brabante of the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

5. A Reading List on Women and Climate Change

Yale University’s Climate Connections blog has published a list of twelve must-read books on gender and climate change, writing that “the challenges posed by climate change cannot be met without also addressing gender issues. Because their lives are more vulnerable even under stable conditions, women face greater risks when climate-related impacts – droughts, floods, hurricanes – disrupt their communities. Conversely, giving women more power over their lives typically results in more resilient communities.”

6. China state investment giant drops coal

Not unqualified good news as investments have ‘merely been shifted to another state-run vehicle’ and there has been ‘a surge in new mines at local government level’ but significant because of the precedent it sets for investors shifting from coal to renewables. Meanwhile in Cumbria a 165m undersea coal mine has been ‘unanimously approved’ by conservative, labour and lib-dem councillors, claiming that an increase in jobs and local investment ‘outweighed concerns about climate change’

7. Widespread loss of pollinating insects in Britain

New study comparing samples from 1980 to ones taken in 2013. Typically framed to emphasise their role as providers of ‘ecosystem services’ in support of agriculture but at least they note that ‘Non-crop pollinators are also vital for a healthy countryside rich in biodiversity; not only because of their crucial role in pollinating wildflowers, but as a key food resource for other wildlife’.

8. The Middle East’s Authoritarians Have Come for Conservationists

‘Debilitating droughts, worsening pollution, and soaring temperatures have contributed to severe resource scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa in recent years. And as environment-related unrest has proliferated, with protests in at least a dozen regional countries, people who were previously viewed as largely harmless “tree huggers” have been reappraised as spy-gear-wielding, frontier-traipsing, data-sharing threats.’

9. Why Stopping Wars Is Essential for Stopping Climate Change

Interesting analysis connecting up anti-militarism with environmentalism. She argues that the strategic military goals of securing access to oil fields during the two world wars has carried on into the postwar period, only with more of the resources allocated for machinery in civilian life. Warfare still emits huge amounts of CO2 as well as wrecking ecosystems more directly: ‘It has been estimated that 20% of all environmental degradation around the world is due to military and related activities.’

10. Excellent video by Derrick Jensen ‘Running Into Solid Limits’

I think his point about national parks and nature reserves being a playground or retreat for the wealthy generalises to western countries in general: the horrors of civilisation (wars, famines, slavery, epidemic diseases, totalitarian dictatorships, environmental destruction etc.) have in effect been externalised to the global south while western populations can entertain progressive notions of relative equality, democracy and ecological health, living in a strange kind of ‘green zone’ of relative comfort and safety. What happens when the bubble bursts and all those chickens start coming home to roost? This is further complicated by the reliance on fossil fuels to do the majority of the labour formerly done by people and draught animals, making even more ‘liberation’ possible…


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.

  (source)


As we enter this crucial 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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One thought on “Newsletter #18 – Never mind the bollocks, here’s the elephant in the room

  1. “Capitalism, when it runs into its limits of what it can exploit…will do anything it can to maintain itself…For all of the propaganda over the decades of ‘sustainable development’ or some sort of ‘natural capitalism’ or ‘green capitalism’, that’s all just ways to keep us distracted as it continues to grind up the Earth…This is why I can’t get behind the whole Green New Deal because it’s not green at all. it’s just more industrialism.” (News & recommended content #10: Excellent video by Derrick Jensen ‘Running Into Solid Limits’).

    Derrick’s condemnation of the Green New Deal and his stinging indictment of those sections of the environmental movement that support it and similar subterfuges (e.g. the financialisation of nature), raises some critical questions for XR. Are we with Derrick on this, or are we against him? If we’re with him, as we should be, will there be an urgent re-consideration of XR’s misguided support for a GND?

    Like

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