Welcome to the 19th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter!
It’s finally here: the International Rebellion is now just days away. For the details of what’s coming in London, we’ve released a comprehensive guide packed with useful information including a map, a timeline, and a legal overview. We’ll also be giving live briefings, including trainings in NVDA and regen, and a legal observer training over the weekend.
The buildup is already well underway: following an amazing action from XR Youth (see below), Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action will be shutting radically repurposing Oxford Circus this Friday. The following day, the Earth March will be arriving on the outskirts of London; Sunday will be the final stretch of their awe-inspiring journey – if you’re in London on the weekend, please join them to show your support!
Eagle-eyed rebels will have noticed that some of the above links lead to our wonderful new website, which went live earlier this week. As the pace of news accelerates next week, you’ll be able to find daily updates on the website, courtesy of the newsletter team.
And for those pondering the many exciting and nerve-wracking possibilities which next week may hold in store, now might be a good time to read an article written by one of our members, about about the first major action in November. We don’t know what exactly will happen on Monday – but we know it’ll be exhilarating, sincere, and rooted in a profound love for each other and the planet.
- Recent Activity
- Upcoming Activity
- Act now
- International Highlights
- News & Recommended Content
Culture Declares Emergency
Last Wednesday the group ‘Culture Declares Emergency’ held a symbolic, horse-lead procession through the streets of London to visit some of the 190+ cultural institutions and individuals who have joined them in declaring a climate and ecological emergency. The group blocked roads after setting off from Somerset House across Waterloo Bridge and along the Southbank, stopping to make announcements and hold short performances at the venues such as the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Walking with the procession were ‘Heralds’ wearing living grass coats grown by visual artists Ackroyd & Harvey and carrying banners with names of the declarers listed. A newly composed soundscape by Mira Calix featured in the ceremony of declarations of Planetary Emergency, as well as readings from selected ‘Letters To The Earth’, writings submitted by the general public for a nationwide cultural action – the first project of Culture Declares which will take place on Friday 12 April. To find out more about this event please visit their website.
XR Youth block London Fracking Conference
Our young rebels threw themselves into the mix last Thursday when 6 members of XR Youth ‘locked on’ outside the entrance to the London Fracking Conference at Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum. They planned to disrupt a seminar titled ‘Unconventional oil and gas market in the UK – planning changes, environmental regulation and tackling the scale-up challenges’.
The young rebels used bike locks to chain themselves together blocking entrances to the building and forcing attendees to step over them to the enter, while wearing t-shirts saying “Don’t step on our future”. The event promised to “assess the next steps for overcoming barriers to the commercialisation of domestic shale into the UK energy mix” and look at “questions around the economic viability of the sector and the implications for further investment and exploration for additional wells, taking into account oil price trends.”
No arrest were made. For some of the rebels it was their first action and we couldn’t be more chuffed and proud of them for their courage!
Earth March Update: More Groups Join Road to Rebellion
As more and more Earth Marchers join the long road to Rebellion Week, it was brilliant to see 5 more groups set off to join us here in London before activities kick off on the 15th.
Stroud Earth March gathered for a send-off supported by the Stroud Red Band, Stroud MP David Drew and Mayor Kevin Cranston. He said: “The most serious problem this country, and all nations on earth, face is Climate Change. We have only a very short time to turn things around, it is simply not good enough for governments to say it is a very important and then carry on as usual.”
Oxford march left on Tuesday 9th April, heading for Wallingford, with further planned stays in Henley, Slough and finally reaching Richmond by 13th April. The Oxford marchers are currently numbering around 50, with numbers reportedly increasing all the time!
Also setting off this week were Earth March Colchester and Ashdown Forest Earth March. One of the marchers, Ness writes:
‘And we’re off… All packed. Annual leave booked. Today I set off with a new friend, Theresa; to walk to London. We have stocked up on good food, warm gear and may even treat ourselves to a few evenings in the local pubs. Some of the route takes us through miles of farmland; something I’m really looking forward to.’
Finally, a group of about 50 people from Brighton group left the city’s Palace Pier at 2pm on Sunday for the 8-day trek, with the hope of reaching Peacehaven after day one. Before leaving, the group were read a letter of support from Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas. She said: “Your action could not be more urgent. We have all the tools we need to shift to a zero carbon economy – what we lack is the political will. Make your voices heard. Change the debate. This is an emergency. Let’s treat it like one.”
Earth Marchers will be arriving in London on the 14th, the day before Rebellion Week kicks off, for a welcoming ceremony in Hyde Park. And we can’t wait to join them!
For photos, videos, accounts of the marches, and details of the remaining legs of the Earth marches, please see the Earth March Facebook page and individual march pages.
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!
15 APR | 11:00 | GLOBAL
That’s right, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is almost upon us. In less than a week’s time the International Rebellion will begin and thousands of us will be descending on our cities to shut down the streets and demand our governments take immediate action to address the climate catastrophe we all face.
Starting at 11am on Monday 15th April, we will meet at Parliament Square in London before holding five of London’s busiest, municipal areas and bringing the city to a standstill. We will hold a full-scale festival of collective action and creative resistance with people’s assemblies, art actions, stage performances, talks, workshops, food and family spaces.
There is so much going on and we want to make sure you’re all prepared for the week(s) ahead. So check out our comprehensive guide packed with useful information including a map, a timeline, and a legal overview.
Earth March: Marchers Arrival Celebration
14 APR | 17:00 – 18:00 | Hyde Park, London
Earth Marchers are walking from as far away as Land’s End in Cornwall to join the Rebellion. They’ve braved hard weather and hard roads to join us. For those who live in London already, or those who couldn’t join the marchers earlier: let’s give them the welcome they deserve by joining the last leg of the journey, and coming together in Hyde Park for a celebration on the eve of our Rebellion.
The final day’s march will begin on the morning of the 14th at locations around the perimeter of London; if you’d like to join the marchers, please see the Facebook event to find your nearest route.
The reception at Hyde Park will include speeches, music (details to come), training, dancing and food. Marchers and Rebels are encouraged to set up tents to stay in Hyde Park overnight.
The South Central Rebel Ride
12-15 APR | Southampton to London
Join the Rebel Riders who are cycling from Southampton to London to join the International Rebellion! You can either ride the whole way or join for short or long sections of the route through Hampshire and Surrey from 12th to 15th April. The South Central Rebel Ride is one of many marches and rides heading for London for April 15th.
Route: between Southampton, Eastleigh, Petersfield, Hankley Common, Guildford, Woking, Kingston-upon-Thames and London.
Find out more on how to join the route and times here.
12 APR | 6.30pm | Oxford Circus, London
London’s Oxford Circus – the epicentre of fast-fashion – is getting taken over. The iconic zebra crossing will be transformed into a catwalk as Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action teams up with performers, musicians, and sustainable designers to throw light on the environmental cost of the fashion industry.
The theme “Fashion Circus: Dress to Excess” speaks to a throwaway culture of overconsumption and waste which pervades the entire economy, not just the clothing sector.
If you can’t join the party in person, the event will be broadcast live via mainstream and social media ( #xrfashioncircus).
For creative actions and to join the preparation for the rebellion, please see our full list of upcoming XR Arts events!
15 APR | 18:00-18:20 | Parliament Square, London
A comic take on a medieval mystery play in the age of climate change.
15 APR | TBC | Parliament Square, London
Join the circus! We need – performers / supporters / theatre and dance people!
Red Brigade is a slow motion Buto meets Venice Carnival style procession aiming to create beautiful disruption using the architecture of the streets to create powerful and arresting imagery, moving in flocking style in en masse improvisation. dress fully in red (shoes, gloves, headgear a must – skin is sin!) with white face red lips and black eyebrows, extra fabric and face paint will be provided.
Mermaid Queens and crustation nation is a more lively and interactive musical procession with Plastik Paradisco aiming to draw attention to ocean pollution, come as your favourite sea creature or Mermaid queen and join the parade.
Street Circus Cabaret: we will also be supporting and participating in Circus processions putting performances on a mobile cabaret stage to bedazzle stranded commuter and bewildered tourists showing humans are capable of beautiful and impossible things! – this is hoping to use the Swarming idea but taken to the next level so we need supporters to surround and protect this action whilst holding up the traffic.
Upcoming: The Regeneration Game
The XRPD (Extinction Rebellion Performing Arts Department) proudly and humbly invite you to join a spontaneously generated, collectively created, fully immersive, symbolic, rebellious rite of renewal: THE REGENERATION GAME.
Keep an eye on The XR Regeneration Game Facebook page for playing times and locations.
XR Mass MP Letter Writing Campaign
Until 19 APR
It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Now it is time to wield that particular weapon.
We are calling for a massed letter writing campaign to flood MP’s with our concerns about the climate crisis.
Take up your pens and ask your MP to sign the Caroline Lucas led Early Day Motion #2177 to declare a climate emergency. Demand they accept the need to have the people take the lead on addressing the ecological crisis by supporting the widening call for a citizens’ assembly for the climate emergency.
Three Die-ins in Switzerland
18 + 20 MAR, 5 APR
Rebels in the city of Neuchâtel have performed three die-ins in recent weeks. While the first two aimed to highlight the overall message of Extinction Rebellion, the third one was specifically targeting telecommunications companies to protest the release of 5G. Rebels pointed out that faster connection speeds come with increased emissions, and that relentless progress and consumption is unsustainable and unacceptable.
Protest at Museum Opening in France
Rebels used the opening of the new Science and Nature Museum of Bordeaux to draw attention to the ecological crisis and the systemic problems causing it. Some rebels performed a die-in while others spoke to the assembled crowd.
Arty Rebels in Ireland
Showing that rebellion can occur in any way and at any scale, a family at a beach in Wexford, Ireland created the Extinction Rebellion symbol out of sand and seaweed. They said, “The most interesting thing was people who stopped to watch us and ask what we were doing it for – it was a great way to get the conversation started”.
Supportive Marathon Runners in Spain
Rebels hung a banner from a bridge across the route of the half marathon in Madrid, to remind runners and spectators that we are all running against the clock to halt the climate catastrophe. They were pleased to receive a lot of encouragement from runners passing below.
Last Chance – Legal Observer Training
13 APR | 12.00 – 17.00 | XR London Office, 184-192 Drummond St.
Don’t miss the last Legal Observer Training before the big event! More Legal Observers are needed for International Rebellion so please come along.
You’ll often see legal observers at demonstrations wearing bright orange bibs. Despite having no official status, theirs is an important role recognised by bodies like the Courts and the U.N.
This training session will cover key legal guidelines for protesters, how to take Legal Observer notes, how to monitor arrests, and the legalities around Stop & Search. This is important work so if you’re interested, please come along.
If you can’t make the full training, we’re also offering an online Arrest Watch training on Thursday, 11th April, 6-9.30pm – register here. Arrest Watch trainings are not the same as Legal Observer trainings and are not meant to replace them. They are much more about providing rebels with insight into the full arrestee support system (rather than just what’s going on at an action) and showing them how they can become part of it. You can find more information here.
We’re still in urgent need of more legal observers (LOs) and back office supporters for the rebellion! If you can help us out, even if only for one shift, please sign up on our rota. Only people who attended the full 5-hour GBC LO training should sign up for legal observing. Anyone can help out in the back office but it’s preferable that you attend an Arrest Watch training beforehand.
XR Legal Support – read these two guides.
With actions come consequences. And with XR actions come legal consequences.
The basic XR Legal Strategy is to tell the truth about the climate emergency and the urgent need for a radical change of course. If you’re arrested and prosecuted for your actions, the courts present an opportunity to do that.
The XR Legal Strategy Team has developed these documents to support you through the legal process, whether you have external legal representation or elect to represent yourself. They are designed to help you explain why your actions are a reasonable and proportionate response to the crisis and include a letter of support from the leading climate scientist and activist, Professor Jim Hansen.
XR Circle of Counsel: Questions & Reflections on the Rebellion
12 APR | 6.00 – 7.30pm | https://zoom.us/j/104408290
The first gathering of the XR Circle of Counsel will be a valuable opportunity to hear renowned rebels, authors, facilitators and mischief-makers discuss XR’s present and future.
Confirmed attendees include Micah White, Miki Kashtan, Anne-Marie Culhane, Dominic Barter, Toni Spencer, and Helen Meads.
Learning to hold the world in our heart: Holding an Intention Field for our rebellion actions
In the Vision Sensing group we are continuing to ‘build a loving field’ to support the rebellious acts that many are courageously undertaking.
There will be many opportunities during the Rebellion weeks in London to contribute to building a collective vision of the future we wish.
To help support those undertaking rebellious acts we 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 hold 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!
We will also be holding Intention Circles during the first week of Rebellion in London, and details of these will be advertised within the Holding the World in our Hearts Facebook group. So watch this space and join us.
Want to get the inside track on developments in XR UK? If you’d like to be added to the internal newsletter, please email email@example.com with ‘Internal subscribe’ in the subject line.
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
News & Recommended Content
For a seemingly minor crime of building petrol stations without the proper environmental authorisations, but apparently the first successful private prosecution in SA on environmental grounds, which potentially ‘opens the door for a large number of similar prosecutions, perhaps on thousands of counts of historic environmental crimes never prosecuted by the state’.
Reproductive material was down 89% in 2018 after successive mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 according to a study in Nature. Here’s what we’re missing:
In related news this was the hottest March in Australian history – ‘Despite two severe tropical cyclones in the northern states, temperatures across Australia were 2.13C above the average.’
Ghawar, which is the largest conventional oil field in the world, can pump out a maximum of 3.8 million barrels of oil per day, not the 5.8 million claimed by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2017. No mention of climate change but surprisingly some discussion of peak oil in this Bloomberg article which finishes by noting revised estimates that Ghawar has ‘48.2 billion barrels of oil left, which would last another 34 years at the maximum rate of production’. Meanwhile, a panel of judges at the ‘Permanent People’s Tribunal’ has urged the United Nations to ban fracking, though regrettably this is again just an ‘advisory opinion’.
4. Promising new campaign: Natural Climate Solutions
Championing all the ways that restoration of ecological communities can contribute to carbon sequestration. Importantly they observe that this shouldn’t be used to enable ongoing CO2 emissions, and insist that projects ‘work with the guidance and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people and other local communities’. Here’s an introductory article by co-founder and usual suspect (!) George Monbiot with links to some remarkable new research.
5. Living Without Oil
This free online course through The Open University explores oil’s role in society and the economy and the danger of carrying on with the current status quo. Some of the topics covered include the debate surrounding peak oil, oil consumption in the UK, how greenhouse gasses and particulates are produced through reactions, and even a bit of basic chemistry notation. This is an eye opening course that clearly outlines some of the key reasons why action is needed now to combat climate change and protect the environment from the big oil companies
As CO2 levels continue to rise The Guardian has made the decision to publish current global CO2 levels in their daily weather forecast. As CO2 levels fluctuate naturally with the seasons they will be also publish the level for the same day on the previous year and the pre-industrial level.
Important critique of the renewable energy industry and moves towards a ‘green new deal’. The key point being that, without a challenge to ongoing economic growth and ballooning global energy consumption ‘the energy it produces has been in addition to, rather than instead of fuel-based energy sources’. She also mentions the environmental impacts of mining for the necessary component parts, especially rare earth metals – a catastrophe on land and lately being prospected under the sea (including ecologically invaluable hydrothermal vents). Apart from anything else these are all nonrenewable resources which, as with oil & gas, will hit a peak and become depleted within a short space of time, especially if there is a concerted effort to upscale their use to keep the unsustainable economic system going for as long as possible. ‘To change our energy model requires doubling the production of rare metals every 15 years, and will require extracting over the next 30 years more minerals than humanity has extracted over the last 70000 years’. This graphic illustrates the scale of the problem:
An engaging, long-form New Yorker piece investigating the impact of climate change and extreme weather on subsistence farmers in Guatemala’s western highlands. Many have been forced to emigrate, leaving villages as ghost towns. Others stayed, fighting back with new agricultural methods and meteorological technology, only for the Trump administration to defund the programs that were assisting them. “In most of the western highlands, the question is no longer whether someone will emigrate but when. ‘Extreme poverty may be the primary reason people leave,’ [said] Edwin Castellanos, a climate scientist at the Universidad del Valle… ‘But climate change is intensifying all the existing factors.’”
Recent research has demonstrated that preserving and replanting forests can have a profound effect on climate change, in addition to other ecological and economic benefits. As the piece reports, “natural climate solutions such as conservation and restoration of forests, along with improvements in land management, can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target of limiting warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
10. Inside the rebellion
Two long-term XR participants speak about their experiences of the movement and share their thoughts on how to take it forward: ‘Scenes From a Rebellion’, an in-depth piece by James Westcott from the bridge occupations to April 15th, and ‘Forging identities through collective action’, a podcast with XR strategist and lawyer Mothiur Rahman looking at issues around belonging and ‘vulnerable honesty’. Worth passing on to those unfamiliar with the movement.
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 email@example.com.
This newsletter was written collaboratively by a hivemind of 12 rebels.
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