Newsletter #16 – Beware the Ides of Earth March

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Welcome to the 16th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter!

This week saw an incredible turnout from the Youth Strike movement, with strikes in over 130 countries! In the UK, strikers received support from the newly-established XR Youth, who threw an afterparty on Westminster Bridge.

Speaking of celebration, this weekend also saw an amazing Spring Uprising event in Bristol.

And at the same time, Earth Marchers in Wales made their first steps on their journey to join in London’s International Rebellion.

Wherever you’re coming from, if you’re joining the International Rebellion you might want to read the new briefing/guide which contains all the latest details. And in case you missed it last week, check out our legal briefing (pdf) – a must-read for anyone considering risking arrest.

Before April 15, there’s plenty else to keep us busy. On the 30th of March we’ll be blockading Dover – there’s also a brand new briefing (pdf) for this action. Shortly after that, we’ll be painting the streets; due to a technical hitch we’ve had to make a new Facebook event where the old one had many hundreds of attendees – so please share this one far and wide to let people know it’s still happening!

And the rebellion will be global: this weekend will see large-scale declarations of rebellion in both France and Australia. We at XR UK wish our fellow rebels abroad the best of luck, and we can’t wait to come together with one voice on April the 15th!

Wherever you are in the world, if you’re looking to take action right now, then look no further: as part of a campaign to get the world of culture telling the truth about our emergency, XR is encouraging anyone to take part in the Letters to the Earth campaign (more details in Announcements).

On top of this, our BBC Campaign group is looking for as many people as possible to submit questions through this easily-accessible form – let’s show the BBC how much appetite there is for truthful climate coverage!

We’ll be bringing easily-accessible actions like the above to your attention every week – but we hope these are seen as part of a deeper, population-wide effort to save our children’s future. If you’d like to get more directly 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.

Check out what’s on near you with our full list of upcoming events, available to view on our website 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.


  • Recent Activity
  • Upcoming Activity
  • International Highlights
  • Announcements
  • Extreme Weather
  • Latest News and Data
  • Recommended Content
  • Good News Stories

Recent Activity

Second Worldwide Youth Strikes in over 2200 cities & towns

15 MAR

They did it again, and this time even bigger and better! Last Friday, over 1.6 million young people in 130 countries skipped school and created the biggest global climate march ever. In the UK, over 26,000 students walked out of their classrooms to demand action on climate change for their future. In London thousands of students marched from Parliament to Buckingham palace and occupied Westminster bridge. They are putting politicians globally on the spot with their numbers and creative messages. Feeling inspired? Join the XR Youth Network and check out our Facebook page.

Spring Uprising

16 – 17 MAR

Extinction Rebellion’s Spring Uprising was a storming success with talks and workshops throughout the weekend bookended by a jam packed musical line up including Dizraeli, Nick Mulvey, Sam Lee, and many more.

Thousands of Rebels came together from around the world to learn and grow together. Among the numerous events offered in five spaces, there was opportunity to nourish the mind, body and soul.

There was extended discussion of how to cement the movement in international solidarity, a diversity of action tactics practiced through clowning and flocking workshops, as well as Non-Violent Direct Action trainings done with hundreds of participants. Physical trainings were balanced with workshops on decolonising the movement, as well as developing emotional resilience in a world of uncertainty.

Reboot the Roots, Reclaim the Power, and Occupy all contributed to the array of workshops on offer, with local environmental groups and campaigns showcasing their work in the central “Solution Zone” throughout the weekend.

As each days’ bursting schedule came to an end, an array of musical talent was on offer in to the night to put the regenerative culture of the movement in to practice.

“It was only at the Spring Gathering that I realised how deep this movement goes in to people’s lives. The talks, skill shares and assemblies were amazingly effective but it was the conversations with people from all ages and backgrounds, that really blew me away.”


“Fabulously inspiring to see so many people connecting, thinking together, having fun and ready to act.”


It was a weekend not to be missed and we can’t wait for the next one!

Earth March

As the Cornwall marchers begin their crossing of Dartmoor, and the March gets going in Wales, rebels across the rest of the country are getting ready to join in the journey. The latest entry in the journal, written by Mary Roddick, reads:

Excellent and inspiring day with the XR Cornwall Earth March for Life. I joined them for the single leg to Lostwithiel at St Austell railway station where I was warmly greeted and quickly integrated into the smallish but sturdy group. The weather hadn’t been particularly kind to them and ill health taken a toll, maybe due to the huge amount of work that has gone into the organisation. Today, though windy enough to keep our banners dramatically fluttering, was mostly dry, occasionally brightish and cool enough to feel comfortable on the hills.

Highlights were an unexpected tea break on a farm, spectacular views back down to St Blazey and the sea and a couple of unsolicited donations from a passing motorist and some pedestrians in Lostwithiel. The time and miles passed quickly with easy camaraderie and interesting conversation.

I learnt about and tasted 3 varieties of foraged wild greens as well as getting advice on how to collect and include seaweed in my diet.

I thoroughly recommend joining them for as long as you can manage even if it’s just for a day.

If you’d like to join any part of a march, read our guide and check out the Facebook group to find a route near you. If you’re more into cycling, take a look at the Rebel Riders; and if you’re an intrepid runner, you might be interested in Sue Cooper’s heroic plan to run across England.

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 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

XR Critical Mass – Bring your bikes

21 MAR | 13:15 – 14:15 | Parker’s Piece, Cambridge
29 MAR | 18:30 – 21:00 | Waterloo Bridge, London
29 MAR | 18:45 – 20:15 | The Forum, Norwich

Following the lead of the Critical Mass movement – whose 25th Birthday is this month – XR groups are taking over the streets by bicycle. XR Cambridge is gearing up for their 3rd bike ride this week, while XR London and Norwich are joining the monthly cycles in their respective cities for the first time.  

Call for more local groups – XR Groups across the country are encouraged to replicate this action in their Towns and Cities. Come together, take over the road, and promote Extinction Rebellion in the build up to No Food on a Dead Planet: Dover Blockade and International Rebellion. Local Groups interested in doing this can email with any questions.

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 do. We’re not blocking traffic. We ARE traffic. We’ll go as slow or fast as we want, and won’t leave anyone behind.

XR Cambridge will meet at 13:15 at the Reality Checkpoint in the middle of Parker’s Piece for a briefing, aiming to set off at 13:30.

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

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.

Dover blockade

30 MAR | 10:00-15:00 | Dover, Kent

While politicians bury their heads in the sand and get on with business as usual, Extinction Rebellion is planning one of their most turbulent actions to date to highlight the extreme vulnerability of the British people to our food insecurity. On 30th March XR calls on rebels to join them in peacefully and non-violently blocking the roads 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.

We understand this action will be controversial, but don’t worry, this is a symbolic one-day action which will cause major disruption, but not stop medicines or food supplies getting through.

If you are interested in joining please sign up for the action.

We need as many people as possible to join us for this so please check out the Facebook page for more details and get involved! See here for a detailed briefing (pdf).

XR Paint the Streets Worldwide

30 MAR | Worldwide

Rebellion Week is less than a month away so we’re calling on rebels worldwide to join us for a week of non-violent direct action starting 30th March to cover the streets in XR messaging. We need help to spread our message with stickers, posters, banners, music, art and much more to alert people to the climate and ecological emergency we’re sleepwalking into.

The original event was deleted by accident, but we’ve put this one back up.

Every affinity group can take part in their location – stay tuned on the event for updates! Deadline for designs to submit on the GDrive (link in event description) is SUNDAY 24th MARCH at 12:00 noon GMT.

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.

International Rebellion

15 – 28 APR | Worldwide

That’s right, International Rebellion Week is almost upon us. We hope you’ve booked time off work to join us for this open-ended period of non-violent direct action where we’ll be shutting down our cities and calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse.

This is the moment we demand we are heard. Further details to come in due time – watch our Facebook page for further updates. You do not need to be arrested to take part. Please tell everyone you know about this event, invite all your friends, and spread the word. There is no greater cause on Earth than Earth itself, and the struggle for a true democracy to protect life on this planet, our only home.

International Highlights



Rebels interrupted question time at the Nova Scotia legislature on March 1, singing and chanting for three minutes before being escorted out waving Extinction Rebellion banners. This action follows on from XR Canada’s national week of rebellion in February, to put continued pressure on government to declare a climate emergency. Nova Scotia officials have not acknowledged the climate crisis, though Halifax, the capital of the province, has recently declared a climate emergency.

One determined rebel made the same demand when she entered the council chambers during the Charlottetown city council’s monthly public meeting. Other rebels sat in the public gallery but she refused to leave the chambers unless she was allowed to display a banner reading “Declare a climate emergency”. She was arrested and charged with causing a disturbance.

New Zealand

12 MAR

Extinction Rebellion Auckland funeral marched, complete with coffin and bagpipe player, into Auckland city council to deliver a message to the Environment and Communities group. They were pleased with the response, as they were invited to an upcoming Climate Summit. Afterwards, rebels gave heartfelt speeches outside the building, asking that we all “hold grief in one hand and hope in the other” and demand a better world.


16 MAR + 24 MAR

Extinction Rebellion France took part in the Marche du Siècle (March of the Century) in Paris, joining the crowd of 100,000 people demanding climate and social justice. Environmental, political and social groups, along with thousands of individuals, united to send a strong message: climate breakdown will affect everybody. Peace, joy and music propelled the marchers; the many musical groups included a full brass band. Similar marches took place in cities around France.

And this Sunday, thousands of French rebels will be gathering in Paris to declare open rebellion.


16 MAR

To protest logging policies in their country, Extinction Rebellion Finland interrupted the Forest Economy Seminar at the University of Helsinki. Seven rebels performed a hauntingly beautiful dance before being ushered out of the room, while others displayed an XR sign and handed out leaflets.

Declaration Day in Australia

22 MAR | Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide

On Friday Australian rebels in four major cities will simultaneously gather at government buildings, to demand that their government declare a climate emergency. More details, including meeting times and specific locations, are on their facebook page.


Letters to the Earth: Deadline for Submissions

Deadline: 29 MAR | Midnight

Submit your written letters of response to the climate and ecological emergency for presentation at theatres and arts venues across the country on 12th April, a day of joint action from the cultural sector. This can be a letter to or from the earth, past or future generations, those in power, other species. The idea is open to interpretation: it can come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation is open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis.

The pieces will be made rights free and available for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15th – 28th April as part of the Rebellion.

Deadline: Friday 29th March | Midnight

Email your submissions to – subject line ‘Letter’

Find out more:

Zero Hour – Getting to the Roots

We are happy to announce our support of Zero Hour’s new campaign #GettingtoTheRoots. Follow this link to join in their worldwide education campaign, become an ambassador and bring climate justice education to your community.

Affinity Group stories for XR Blog

Are you part of an affinity group that has participated in direct action?

We ask for your stories of courage, struggle, compassion and collaboration, of whatever you have experienced together. This is an offshoot of the #HumansofXR project, to show the world that this movement is their moment too. Creative writing and mixed media all considered. Please email with your A.G. name in the subject line.

XR Blog also 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

Extreme Weather

Torrential rain in Papua triggers landslides

At least 50 people have been killed by flash floods in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua. Flooding is not uncommon in the area — in January 70 people were killed by flooding and landslides in Sulawesi island.

‘Major humanitarian crisis’ after cyclone slams southern Africa

‘Cyclone winds and floods that swept across southeastern Africa have affected more than 2.6 million people and could rank as one of the worst weather-related disasters recorded in the southern hemisphere.’

Drought turns part of Iran into a new dust bowl

‘[T]he dust storm season has expanded, sometimes spanning half the year—and so, as a consequence, has the volume of respiratory problems’. In the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan agriculture is ‘now all but impossible and everyday life a struggle […] the region risks becoming uninhabitable’.

Latest News and Data

Overfishing and climate change blamed for 80% decline in sooty terns on Ascension Island

Climate change creates a new migration crisis for Bangladesh –‘Over the last decade, nearly 700,000 Bangladeshis were displaced on average each year by natural disasters’ – in-depth article for National Geographic

UK failing on 14 out of 19 global targets for the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity

Climate change denier invited to comment on school strikes for BBC Nine

Dahr Jamail: ‘We’re Living in the Warmest Decade Since Record-Keeping Began’

Some of the above stories and lots more in his latest ‘Climate Disruption Dispatch’

Recommended Content

A journalist spent time with Extinction Rebellion New Zealand, and wrote an in-depth piece describing recent XR activity, the bigger picture in NZ and globally, and, most poignantly, his own thoughts and emotions when facing the immensity of the crisis:

“I grieve for the loss of the world I so deeply wanted to share with my partner, growing old together into a sweet, carefree senility. We are both 29. The sort of world that would allow that course of life to unfold will not exist by the time we’re ready for it. I grieve for the birds and animals that will go extinct. I grieve for the trees that will wither and die. And most of all I grieve for the people who will never have the chance to live the sort of decent life that everyone deserves.”

This article suggests that solar power in schools could provide economic, educational, and social benefits in Jamaica, as well as the obvious environmental ones. It describes the systemic problems which need to be addressed in Jamaica:

‘Countries like Jamaica will always struggle when parliamentarians and the traditional press remain eager bedfellows– there are more chickens with teeth than investigative journalists. The poor get their news with their ears and the viability of renewables and solar school stories are not reported over the airwaves. The people are kept ignorant.’

The author tells me that people there frequently protest about issues that affect them. He hopes that XR can harness that spirit to get a foothold in Jamaica, by highlighting the links to socio-economic issues.

How to revive our fantastic mini-beasts– an interesting mixture of information about the catastrophic decline in insect populations around the world and useful tips about how all of us can take small steps to help our insect friends. The article refers to recent scientific studies, carried out in Germany and Britain and explains how the collapse of the insect populations impacts on bird life. But my favourite part comes at the end, where there is a list of easy things we can all do in our garden to help.

‘On Contact: Civil Disobedience to Stop Ecocide’ – Chris Hedges interviews XR co-founder Roger Hallam

Rebecca Solnit makes an impassioned argument in The Guardian to reject the broken politics that enables both climate change deniers and violent extremists like the attack in New Zealand and come together for our collective future.

Regenerative Culture / Good News Stories

Antonio Guterres organises climate action summit

The international student strikes last Friday caused many people to take note, and question how they could do more. Luckily, one of those people was António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations. In this opinion piece, he acknowledges that the response to the climate crisis so far has been insufficient. In response, he has organised a climate action summit in New York in September. He is asking world leaders from governments and the private sector to arrive with ambitious, concrete plans in key areas: emissions reductions, renewable energy, withstanding climate impacts, investing in the green economy, sustainable infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and management of forestry and oceans.

‘While climate action is essential to combat an existential threat, it also comes with costs. So action plans must not create winners and losers or add to economic inequality: they must be fair and create new opportunities for those negatively impacted, in the context of a just transition.’

Emissions reductions policies can work

A recent study has suggested that policies to reduce carbon emissions in 18 countries with developed economies may be starting to work. The countries, including the UK, France, Germany and the US, saw emissions decline significantly between 2005 and 2015. The changes were mostly due to replacing fossil fuels with renewables and an overall decrease in energy use.

‘”New scientific research on climate change tends to ring the alarm bells ever more loudly,” said co-author Charlie Wilson . . . “Our findings add a thin sliver of hope.”’

Geothermal power could become more accessible

Geothermal power is very low emission, like wind and solar, but more flexible as it can provide energy whenever needed. Until now it’s application has been limited to regions with very hot water caused by volcanic activity. However, a Swedish company has developed technology to harness power from low temperature heat, and a recent boost in funding means they are about to scale up their work.

Thank you

Thank you for reading this, our 16th 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

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

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

For queries contact Dave Nicks (

The economics of extinction: a reason for rebellion

Published by:

Professor Jem Bendell and Rabbi Jeffrey Newman

What would a sane society do, knowing that one of its luxury food supplies was being exhausted? Consume less perhaps? Or grow more? Japan, knowing that the Bluefin tuna is going extinct, does neither. Bluefish tuna make the most profit for fishermen the nearer they are to extinction, as their rarity endows all the more status on their consumers.

Some might think that is a quirky Japanese behaviour or an anomaly of economics, but actually the free-market system in which individuals compete for profit is resplendent with such stupidities. How else could the investment in fracking or tar sands be explained? Or the way Brazil is consuming the lungs of the Earth to pay back its debts. Or the way industry externalises the cost of processing much of its waste, poisoning the Earth and its future consumers?

The logic that leads to these flaws has long been understood, and there have been waves of visceral protest as the ideology of markets became more entrenched. It is two decades since we were shutting down city centres hosting WTO and World Bank conferences; and almost a decade since Occupy camps squatted in the sacred places of decadent high finance. This time our issue is more than economic justice – it is the way governments are standing by as the global house we live in is burning down. We now see clearer than ever how a stupid financial system is driving an environmental breakdown and mass extinction which will undermine our very civilisation.

But for all the dissent about this situation, there’s little agreement or clarity on where within the financial system the real problem resides – or what could be done about it. Explanations from the marching crowds often invoke privatisation, corruption, greed, the power of banks, or the shrinking state. Deeper analyses point to something that many are unaware of, even economists. It is how private banks, not the government or central banks, create our money supply when they issue loans. It is this practice of issuing money as debt that over time creates a scarcity of money which encourages perpetual economic growth whether a society needs it or not. That means more junk, monotonous work, energy burned, natural environments ripped up, more waste, more money locked up in tax havens, and more unpayable debts. Lifting the veil on the monetary system reveals the interconnection between our social and environmental suffering. Through complex chains of profit-taking, the extortionate financial rewards taken by banks leads to people relying upon food banks while we trash the foundational bank that is a healthy planet.

Therefore, after decades of work on reforming corporations to be more sustainable, we both came to understand that we can’t change the way business does business unless we change the way money makes money. Given our perilous situation with the unfolding environmental breakdown, this change is more urgent than ever. As it oscillates along the knife-edge of debt maximisation and debt default, the current system is simply not fit for a future of climate-induced disruption.

But understanding the driving role of the financial system doesn’t give us a course of action and it certainly doesn’t help us to curtail it. For starters, we exist within the confines of this system. Many of us have little capacity to take radical action because we are working off our debts, or earning wages suppressed by employers servicing their own. That is hardly surprising in an economy with more debt than money.

So what might we do? We can move our money to building societies. But that won’t reform the big banks. We can work together to build alternatives at the local level, such as credit unions and mutual credit currencies. Yet in the UK this has proven difficult, as they are less available and less-funded than their competitors. So we might buy into crypto-currencies, yet many of them are run by speculators who make bankers look saintly!

So the only possible way to put the financial system into a reverse thrust is through government who, after all, unleashed the financial beast over thirty years ago.

It would seem though, that the present UK government imagines a different mandate for itself. In his 2018 party conference speech Chancellor Hammond claimed already to have ‘rebuilt the financial system’ since 2008.He said nothing about energy security, food security, climate change, the global migration crisis or indeed any future concerns except a future Labour government. One can’t imagine the sixth Mass Extinction keeping him awake at night. Rather than existential threats he focused instead on linguistic ones, repeating the term ‘21st century capitalism’ as if the next 80 years of economics were already written.

Hammond is out of touch with a public increasingly alarmed by climate predictions. After 30 years of warnings but no meaningful action, the current (very conservative) estimate is that dramatic changes are needed within the next twelve years, just for a chance of avoiding ‘run away’ climate change. Less optimistic readings of the data indicate that rapid and uncontrollable climate change has already begun. That will mean failed harvests and with it, exploding price rises and, understandably, social unrest. A new paradigm of Deep Adaptation  to environmental breakdown is needed to reduce harm and risk in a very uncertain future. As friends and neighbours we might stockpile food, nurture our gardens and install solar power, but government is needed to build the sea defences, mobilise emergency food production and distribution, rebuild transport systems and integrate large numbers of people fleeing droughts, floods and related conflict.

Governments around the world need to develop climate-smart monetary and investment policies. Such bold policies must involve a scaling down of our non-reserve banking system and an increase in government’s issuance of electronic money instead of bonds. All central banks must be instructed to stop buying bonds from companies with large carbon footprints and instead only buy bonds of firms providing low-carbon solutions for a climate-disrupted future. Governments should also ensure there are networks of local banks with a requirement to lend to enterprises that are focused on cutting emissions or drawing down carbon, as well as developing resilience to disruptive weather. Making that the RBS mandate in the UK is a ‘no brainer’. Government should also look at enabling local governments to issue their own interoperable currencies, as a way of helping local communities become more self reliant in preparation for future disturbances. Treasury officials could begin their education on these ideas by talking to the folks at Positive Money. Meanwhile our diplomats could get cracking on negotiating a global carbon tax, embedded into trade law at the WTO, with government commitments to invest revenues for carbon cuts, drawdown, adaptation and reducing impacts on the poor.

Given how bad things are with the environment we don’t know if such dramatic changes will be too little too late. But it is worth a try. And we are convinced that without an attempt to transform the monetary system then we aren’t really trying.

Let’s for a moment imagine what such changes could support. We can imagine what thriving ecosystems look like, so we let’s imagine a thriving economy. Waste would be minimised, and toxic waste eliminated. Most of what we needed would be produced nearby. There would be no unemployment and no shortage of money to pay for valuable work. Housing would be affordable as it was in the 1970s. Children would see more of their parents. Enterprises and population centres would be governed and managed less as pawns of London, Brussels, Berne, or Frankfurt and more by the people who have a stake in them and their continuance.

There must come a time when when it becomes necessary to flout the law to bring down an immoral or incompetent government. Philosophers call it the ‘right of rebellion’. Naturally they differ on the details, but generally a rebellion these days must use non-violent methods, and it must be against a government which is grossly incompetent, malignant, or treacherous. In upholding a financial system determined to burn all the fossil fuels while not protecting the people from the catastrophic consequences, governments are surely being grossly incompetent, malignant and treacherous.

On April 15th international rebellion week will create all manner of creative, exciting and loving peaceful civil disobedience to show the UK government and its financial masters that we can no longer support interlocking economic and political systems that threaten to curtail the life of our children. It is time to tell the truth, act in accordance with it, and set up Citizens Assemblies with mandates that include both financial reform and Deep Adaptation.

If international rebellion doesn’t startle our politicians into making the climate crisis their central agenda, then we must stretch the rebellion into our everyday lives. How many coordinated withdrawals and loan defaults might bring down a targeted bank? How many local councils issuing inter-operable currencies could create an alternative to the Bank of England? How many people joining networks with their own currencies, like Fair Coop, Credit Commons and Holochain, could make these viable alternatives? If government does not heed peaceful calls to change our economic system so that climate sanity is an economic norm, we may well find out.

We realise that initially our suggestions may be dismissed by some office holders in our current system. Religious texts remind us that privileged people “who detest the one who tells the truth” (Prophet Amos 5:10) are neither new or unusual. But the joy of generations coming together in a new spirit of fearless love, reminds us of the divine invitation to “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Prophet Amos 5:24). We therefore invite more leaders in our current system to join this sacred flow of a peaceful rebellion for life on Earth.

Professor Jem Bendell is founder of the Deep Adaptation Forum and teaches leadership at the University of Cumbria.

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman is Emeritus Rabbi of Finchley Reform Synagogue and leads Shema (Jewish Action on Climate Change).

Further reading on monetary issues:

Currencies of Transition: Transforming money to unleash sustainability. Bendell, Greco (2013)

Re-imagining Money to Broaden the Future of Development Finance Bendell, Ruddick, Slater (2015) UNRISD

The future of sharing: it’s all about freedom, Open Democracy

Thwarting an Uber future for complementary currencies. Bendell & Slater 2017

The science of global warming

Published by:

By Zeeshan Hasan
Unfortunately, many people still doubt the dangers of global warming and climate change. In particular, elected politicians intent on avoiding unpopular carbon taxes and higher fuel prices continue to assert that the relevant scientific issues are doubtful. The fact is that the non-scientist public has been deceived by a large number of books and newspaper articles by ‘skeptics’ of climate change who themselves often have no understanding of the science involved. Fortunately, a glimpse into the real world of climate science is available through Global Warming: Understanding The Forecastby David Archer, an ocean chemistry professor at the University of Chicago. Archer’s book is an introductory climate science text which aims to make the basics of climate science comprehensible to any one with a high school background in science.
The basic science of how carbon dioxide emissions raise global temperatures is outlined by Archer. On the one hand, the earth is constantly being heated by sunlight. On the other hand, the Earth is also cooled by loss of heat into space as infrared radiation. These two continuous mechanisms of heat gain and heat loss by the Earth result in a thermal equilibrium at the average global temperatures which we experience.
Heat gain from the sun is relatively constant, varying only slowly over time; however, heat loss into space has been reduced significantly by humans over the last century. Atmospheric ‘greenhouse gases’ such as carbon dioxide have the property of absorbing the infrared radiation which carries heat from the earth into space, and thus reduce the cooling of the earth. This effect of carbon dioxide is called the Greenhouse effect; it was discovered over a century ago and is undisputed. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been continuously burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, and thus adding huge amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This has resulted in an increase of the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere from 320 parts per million in 1960 to about 400 parts per million today, or about 20%. This additional carbon dioxide functions like a blanket or greenhouse around the planet, slowing down loss of heat into space. If the same amount of solar heat comes into the Earth, while simultaneously heat loss from the Earth to space is reduced by additional carbon dioxide, then the Earth has to get warmer. At a higher temperature the Earth’s heat loss by radiation into space increases, because hotter objects lose more heat through infrared radiation than cooler ones; and the planet once more reaches a stable temperature.
A good analogy to the above is a pot of food simmering on an oven above a low flame; putting the lid on the pot does not change heat gain from the oven, but reduces heat loss through evaporation from the open pot and thus makes the food cook at a higher temperature. Our carbon dioxide emissions are effectively putting a lid on the earth, making heat from the sun ‘cook’ the planet at a higher temperature.
The question is whether a hotter stable temperature of the globe would be one capable of sustaining human life as we know it. Climate scientists have evidence from ancient ocean sediments that increasing the level of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere can cause temperatures to rise. Such an event took place 55 million years ago, when thousands of billions of tons of greenhouses gases were released into the atmosphere (probably because of a peak in volcanic activity). This event is known as the Permian Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). During the PETM, global average temperature rose by about 5 degrees C and 90% of life on the planet perished. Such an increase in global average temperature today would have terrible consequences, rendering much of tropical and sub-tropical Asia, Africa, central America and southern Europe too hot and dry for agriculture. The consequences would be famine on a scale never seen before, and billions of deaths.
Dangerous global heating events like the PETM may seem distant and irrelevant. But as a comparison, burning all world’s known reserves of coal would release about 5000 billion tons of carbon dioxide, comparable to the surge in greenhouse gases which caused the PETM. Our current course is to exploit not only existing coal reserves but also oil and gas. So it is entirely within our power to destroy our planet.
Continuing our current policies of exploiting all fossil fuels available will literally ensure the end of the Earth as we know it. The only way to stop it is to keep fossil fuels in the ground and switch to solar, wind or nuclear power, none of which emit carbon dioxide. This will require worldwide imposition of carbon taxes to raise fuel prices and make investment in alternative energy feasible. The leaders of all countries need to make some hard decisions, which they have failed to do in 20 years of climate negotiations. They will only do so now if the public demands it of them. The public now needs to make their voices heard loudly and persistently to force politicians to reduce fossil fuel use.

11 Years Left

Published by:

by Claudia Fisher

Fisher is a married business woman and artist. She has five children
aged 32 to 13 and is studying part-time for an MA in Creative Writing at
The University of Brighton. For the next couple of months, she will be
writing a weekly blog on the BPEC website about environmental issues,
particularly focussing on climate change and biodiversity loss. Claudia
does a lot of work with the newly formed civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion. In this blog she will share her journey with you, in the hope that you will join her. Thank you for reading.

I have a question for you.

prompts a middle-aged woman who has never participated in any form of
activism before to throw herself wholeheartedly into civil disobedience
and more? The answer is simple.

‘Our house is on fire.’[

These are the words of a 16-year-old student, Greta Thunberg.
What does Greta mean? Our house is on fire? Let’s start with that
image. What would you or I if we knew our house was on fire? Make a cup
of tea and wait to see if the flames caught hold? Let the children sleep
upstairs for fear of frightening them unnecessarily? Walk off and leave
it, hoping it would put itself out? No of course not. That would be

I am
pretty confident that the first thing every one of us would do is wake
the children and get them out as quickly as possible. We’d pick up the
phone and dial 999. We’d shout ‘HURRY!’. We’d put the hose on and fill
buckets with water. We’d form a chain gang with our neighbours. In
short, we’d do anything we could to dampen those flames.

go back to Greta, whose one-woman school strike for climate has captured
the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of young people across the
For months Greta skipped school every Friday, preferring to sit outside
the Swedish Parliament on her own, rather than be with her friends in
class. She explained that the world was facing such a dire and urgent
climate emergency, she saw no point in studying for a future she would
never have.

explains that we, the human race, are facing climate breakdown with
wildfires, flooding, droughts, rising sea levels and heatwaves. The
planet is entering the world’s sixth mass extinction with around 200 species estimated to go extinct each and every day.[iii]
And what are we doing? Pretty much nothing. We all carry on as before
and think people like me are extremist, alarmist, totally off their
rockers. Or we notice it’s a bit hotter than usual, but that’s nice
isn’t it, in a country where traditionally the weather is a bit rubbish?
We can start producing wine now. So, it’s not all bad. And anyway, what
can we do about it? We all have to live, don’t we? We have to eat and
get about and have fun? We don’t want to stop all of that, because isn’t
the kind of easy living we are used to what it’s all about? Well, the
answer is, we have to stop. We have to think. To assess. To evaluate.
Then we have to act. We have to. Because this is not sustainable. It
cannot last.

Every day nearly 100 million barrels of oil are extracted from the ground.[iv]
That is energy made billions of years ago. Yet we dig it up, harness
its energy and release its by-products. Like Pandora’s Box, we let it
out and can’t put it back. I tell my children that their actions have
consequences. Yet I have been guilty, and still am guilty, of taking
actions and making decisions that will have consequences, not
necessarily for me, but for generations to come.

Ask any
ecologist and they will confirm that this beautiful blue planet of ours
has a finely balanced eco-system that has evolved over a very, very
long time. I think understanding just how long really helps with getting
a handle on how serious this situation is.

As part
of my MA in Creative Writing, last year I wrote a piece about a
three-hour period where, as a result of severe sleep deprivation and
stress at my son’s serious illness, the balance of my mind was briefly
overturned. In order to reconcile the significance of those three hours
with the greater scheme of things I started researching. Trying to
understand time. For me those three hours felt like an eternity. But
what does eternity really mean? This is what I found out, and be warned, you could find it quite mind-blowing.

the Earth formed at midnight and the present moment is the next
midnight, 24 hours later, modern humans have been around since
11:59:59pm—that’s 1 second.’[v]

And in
all that time, in the 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds of all
existence, the world’s ecosystems could get along with their business of
generating, living, evolving, dying and starting over again
uninterrupted. Then we humans came along.

‘And if human history itself spans 24 hours from one midnight to the next, 14 minutes represents the time since Christ.’[vi]

But for
23 hours 58 minutes 36 seconds of that one second of the previous
24-hour clock, humans were part of the ecosystem. Spending every second
surviving. Living amongst all other life. It is really only in the last
two hundred years, since the beginning of the industrial age that we
have had any kind of impact on our environment. This is equivalent in my
illustration to 1 minute and 24 seconds of a 24-hour period that has
been expanded out of one second of another 24-hour period.

about it. That kind of time span, a mere 200 years, in comparison to
life on earth is equivalent to a fraction of a blink. And the scientists
tell us we have only 11 years left to change our ways, before global temperatures breach the 1.5ºC guard rail.[vii] Beyond that we will have an unstoppable increase. Temperatures of 2-5ºC will cause famine, mass migration, wars and societal break down. Life will at best be miserable, at worst unsustainable.[viii]

Just 11
years. To stop carbon emissions. To clean up our act. Going back to my
illustration, 11 years equates to a mere 4.62 seconds of a second in 24
hours. Which is why waiting till climate change hits home, waiting for
governments to do something, waiting for the changes to be unstoppable
just isn’t an option. The UK government have pledged an 80% reduction in
carbon emissions by 2050. If this target wasn’t so tragic it would be
laughable. It’s like pouring a thimbleful of lukewarm water onto that
house fire and expecting that drop to make a difference.

We need
to act like our house is on fire. Because it is. And this middle-aged
woman for one is not going to stop until that fire is out. Totally out. I
will risk my losing my comforts, my freedom and my life. It is too
important to stand by and do nothing. Because the fire is taking hold of
the ground floor. The flames are licking up the stairs and my children
are sleeping in that house. I need to get them to safety.

More next week about my entry into a different world of possibilities and hope.

Breaking News -Four Youth Strikers arrested in London for obstruction of highway

Published by:

Photo credits: Snowflake Foxtrot

Fourth arrest:

Policeman, picking him up: ‘Are you okay?’

Young man approx 14 years old: ‘The planet is not okay, and that’s what matters.’

Policeman: ‘This isn’t going to help the planet’.

Me, with at least 10 other cameras around filming: ‘His voice is being heard, that’s what matters’.

Words: Snowflake Foxtrot

Students, Sunrise and Rebels unite to defy extinction

Published by:

Originally posted here:

On 15 March students from around the world will join a global Youth Strike for Climate, leaving school and college to demand that their leaders urgently take climate action. In this guest blog Farhana Yamin, CEO at Track 0 and Extinction Rebellion Activist and Jake Woodier, an organiser of #YouthStrike4Climate explain why.

Politicians beware. Young people are demanding answers from governments to some tough questions.

  • Why have scientific warnings about the climate and ecological crisis been ignored for so long?
  • What emergency actions can now be put in place to stop the extinction of life on Earth?

Tired of the apathy and denialist campaigns funded by vested interests, young people are taking to the streets and joining new social movements that are demanding solutions be put in place in 10 years or less.

That timeframe more or less matches the 12 year deadline given by the United Nation’s chief scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In October 2018, the IPCC spelt out the consequences of what a hotter more disruptive climate would look like. Unless we cut global greenhouse gases emissions by 50% in the next 11 years, billions of people would be exposed to increased storms, wildfires, droughts, floods, acidified oceans and sea level rise which would result in water and food shortages and mass migration.

Students strike for climate in London in February 2019. (Photo: Socialist Appeal/Flickr)

Fearing for their future and acting out of solidarity with their fellow global citizens, this week hundreds of thousands of young people are expected to walk out of schools and colleges to join the school strike movement. They are inspired by 16 year old Greta Thunberg, who in August 2018 stopped going to school on Fridays to sit outside the Swedish Parliament and demand climate action. Since then, thousands of young people around the world have joined the Youth Strike 4 Climate movement with campaigns now active in around 71 countries. In Belgium, around 50,000 children and young people take to the streets every Friday. The UK’s student movement is gathering momentum. The first national strike resulted in 15,000 students and young people ditching classrooms to demonstrate a need for radical and urgent action to achieve climate justice for current and future generations. 

Anna Taylor, 17, co-founder or the UK Student Climate Network which is coordinating the mobilizations explains:

“The burden of holding powerful actors to account over their climate records has unfortunately fallen on the young. We’ve been betrayed by the climate inaction of previous generations. We’re having to rise up and fight for those around the world already suffering the devastating effects of climate change, and for our very futures.”

The youth led Sunrise Movement rally in San Francisco in December 2018. (Photo: Peg Hunter/Flickr)

Long held attitudes of moderation are now woefully insufficient given the global climate emergency we all face. From the “Green New Deal’s 10 year plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero in ways that generate clean jobs, supported by the youth-led Sunrise movement and championed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to the Extinction Rebellion’s campaign of mass civil disobedience to dismantle the toxic systems that are putting all life on Earth at risk, it is clear that the desire to build a more inclusive society based on respecting nature’s boundaries is beginning to reshape politics.

No-one knows what will happen and no-one can say for sure whether or not fundamental ecological tipping points have already been breached. The good news is that there are millions of people – old and young – who are mobilising around the world to stop humanity from falling off a cliff.   

Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus, London in November 2018 (Photo: David Holt / Flickr)

We can and must succeed in catalysing a peaceful revolution to end the era of fossil fuels and economic systems based on the extraction and extinction of nature. Life on Earth literally depends on it.

That is why we will be supporting students on strike and all those working to defend life on Earth. As citizens around the world join together to courageously speak truth to power, we hope you will give your full support to strikers and rebels where ever you are.

Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Elders or The Elders Foundation.

A Salute to the School Strikers

Published by:

By Robert Alcock

an Extinction Rebellion activist and father

have noticed that there’s never any shortage of grown-ups who are
eager to tell you their opinions about whatever you happen to be
doing. That’s especially true when tens of thousands of you—including
my daughter, I’m proud to say—skip school to protest about the
state your elders are leaving the planet in.

(School strikers at the Scottish Parliament.)

a few “responsible” adults—as in “the ones who are
responsible for the mess we’re in”—have made it clear they
think the Climate Strike is really just an excuse to skip school.
Well, duh! Obviously it’s much more fun and educational to be out in
the streets changing the world than sitting in class being taught
about it. You’ve written slogans and designed placards, organised
with friends and debated with opponents, made appearances on TV and
in social media, made new friends and bumped into old ones you had no
idea were involved. Try fitting all that into a timetable and a
lesson plan.

Theresa May had this to say about the School Strike: “…Disruption
increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers
have carefully prepared for. That time is crucial for young people
precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers
and advocates that we need to help tackle this problem.”

Theresa, but I’ll have to give you an F for that answer. This is a
global ecological emergency! We need action NOW, not in 30 years’
time when a lucky few among today’s teenagers have managed to reach
positions of power and influence. Anyway the vast majority of schools
don’t give kids the kind of education they need to gain access to
those positions. And the wise young people who were on the streets on
Friday know full well that what’s needed today isn’t more technical
solutions, but the political will to put the solutions we already
have into practice, in a way that’s socially just and ecologically
sustainable. No amount of studying is going to achieve that.

educational journey

it comes to the cost and value of formal education, I know what I’m
talking about. I left school in 1988, the year the IPCC was founded;
I studied science at university, graduating in 1992, the year of the
Rio Earth Summit, went on to do a masters in ecology, then a PhD,
studying the effects of climate change on rocky shore organisms.

November 2002, the very same weekend I completed my fieldwork, the
beautiful coast of northern Spain was devastated by the Prestige oil spill—the worst environmental disaster in Spain’s
history—which covered the whole shore in a thick layer of toxic
black fuel oil, poisoning the seaweed and shellfish I’d spent three
years studying.

(Futile attempts to clean up the Prestige oil spill.)

all that, I still couldn’t get a job changing the world, so I had to
do it on my own time, supporting myself as an writer, editor and
translator while also building a house for my family—all skills
that I learned mostly outside the formal education system.

in those 30 years since I left school, the global economy has emitted more CO2 than it did during the whole of human history up to that
point, and still shows no sign of slowing down, while ecosystems
worldwide are on the point of collapse. If anyone had told me back
then that we’d be in this predicament now, I think I would have done
less studying and more protesting.

(Global CO2 emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution.)

here we are.

Unlike George Monbiot, I don’t feel inclined to apologise to your
generation on behalf of my own for having fucked up the world. I’ve
been doing what I can. Let everyone look to their own conscience.

nor do I want to put the burden of the future entirely on your
shoulders. Greta Thunberg has something to say about that: “It’s sometimes annoying when
people say, ‘Oh you children, you young people are the hope. You
will save the world.’ I think it would be helpful if you could help
us just a little bit.”

you loud and clear, Greta. On behalf of the adults of Extinction Rebellion (XR)—and I think I’m safe in speaking for the whole
movement here—I want to say to the school strikers: we’ve got your
back. We’re here to help. We don’t want to take control of the
Climate Strike, profit from it, or use it as part of our nefarious
plot to take over the world (well, ok, maybe just a little bit ;-).
You’ve done a great job so far, and it has to continue to be driven
and organised by you, the young people. But we want to offer you our
whole-hearted support to help the Climate Strike grow bigger and
better every Friday, and make the next mass action, on Friday March
15th, absolutely impossible to ignore.

In a
very practical sense, XR has a lot of resources that you can draw on.
(Of course, we’re also aware of the safeguarding and legal issues
around adults working with children and other vulnerable groups.) We
can offer training and support in a load of different areas: media
and messaging, legal advice, how to plan and cary out NVDA
(non-violent direct action), how to facilitate meetings and
assemblies, prevent burnout, resolve conflicts, and make sure we are
all having a good time, how to make effective and beautiful graphics,
signs, puppets, music… Really, pretty much everything your movement
needs to grow and flourish, except your own passion, wisdom and
dedication—and you already have that in abundance.

about Monday morning?

great that you’re out on the streets protesting on Fridays. I hope
you keep it up and diversify what you do during the protests.
Marching, waving banners and shouting slogans gets a bit boring after
a while. How about holding (Young) People’s Assemblies to talk about
the ecological emergency and what we should be doing about it? Extend
the conversation you’ve started with your brilliant signs and

I think what matters just as much is what you’re going to be doing
Monday to Thursday. Many of you are about to go back to school after
the half-term break: going from schooling adults in how to change the
world, to having to ask to use the bathroom.

the excellent intentions and efforts of many teachers, the vast
majority of schools are simply not fit for purpose. They just aren’t
set up to empower and inform the young people who are going to create
a restorative future for Planet Earth. Rather, for the most part,
they foster a culture of domination, disempowerment, passivity, and
hopelessness: in fact, the culture at the root of the ecological
crisis. The system persists through our resignation and acceptance.
Systemic change is needed, starting where each of us is best placed
to act. For you, that’s likely to be in your school.

climate crisis is a great rallying point, though our predicament is a
whole lot bigger than just the climate. From oceans to insects,
forests to cities, health to justice, no aspect of life on Earth is
untouched. You can create a student-led assembly to demand your
school declare an climate emergency, and discuss what to do about it:
whether that means planting a school forest, tackling air pollution,
eliminating plastics, stopping the use of pesticides, sourcing
healthy local food for school lunches or growing your own… or
reaching out into your local communities. But at the same time,
you’ll likely find yourselves talking about, and coming up with
solutions for, a lot of other problems—from bullying to child
poverty to boring lessons—once you start to see how they are all

words to remember: NEVER. ASK.

don’t mean you should be rude or arrogant in your behaviour. Be
respectful at all times—especially to your opponents; but make it
clear that you’re going to do what you believe is right, whether
those in power grant permission or not. Most adults will be on your
side, even if they might be afraid to say so openly.

world is possible. See you there!

the Earth,

Robert Alcock, Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh

Newsletter #15 – The British Isles Rebel!

Published by:

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 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.



  • 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 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 websitefor 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:

2. Sign up for the action here:

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 ofInternational 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

ARebel 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.


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.


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:

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

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 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 (

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 and let us know how many drums you will be bringing. You can also donate to and share our crowdfunder to buy drums –

If you are interested in joining us for the drumming, please join 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


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

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

For queries contact Dave Nicks (

VICE: What Radical Climate Protesters XR Are Planning Next

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(From )

We went to the radical climate group’s offices to hear their plans for civil disobedience.

A coffin inside XR’s temporary headquarters. Photos: Jake Lewis

On Tuesday, as temperatures in London spiked at 21.2C – the warmest winter day on record – Extinction Rebellion (XR) gathered national media to lay out their next steps.

At the climate activism group’s temporary headquarters near Euston railway station, members spoke to the audience as brilliant February sunshine poured through the windows, as if to serve as a troubling reminder of why radical action is necessary. In XR’s case, that means mass civil disobedience as a way to force the government into actually doing something about our rapidly degrading environment – and if that ends in them being arrested, so be it.

XR co-founder Gail Bradbrook was fresh from an appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court. She and five others had been charged with criminal damage – Bradbrook allegedly spray-painted “frack off” on a government building – and all had pleaded not guilty. It had been an emotional day, not least because the judge was, coincidentally, sending them for trial on the 16th of April, a day after XR begin their full-scale international rebellion with coordinated actions on the 15th.

Gail Bradbrook

At times, Bradbrook appeared upset as she delivered an abridged version of XR’s frank and profound talk on the appalling state of the climate. We heard how when it comes to damage control, all we have done to date is “rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic”, and were repeatedly reminded of how “fucked” we all are. But Bradbrook offered nuggets of optimism too, and issued a call to arms to help restore our world.

Hope at XR comes in the form of action. “We can’t just leave it to the COP, we can’t just leave it to the Climate Change Committee’s review of the UK’s long-term target to sort it out,” insisted Farhana Yamin, a climate change lawyer and XR activist. “Because the entire system is out of kilter, out of touch, and it is certainly not working fast enough.”

Farhana Yamin

XR is planning a relentless campaign of disruptive yet peaceful civil disobedience ahead of the dawn of the sustained rebellion in April, when it is expected that tens of thousands of people will shut down London indefinitely, until the government takes meaningful action over what XR call the “environment emergency”. Multiple actions over the coming weeks will serve as a means to “normalise” mass uprisings, but are also designed to educate and entertain. Some, however, will perhaps trigger shock and even alarm.

A torrent of symbolic, artificial blood will flood Downing Street to create “a sea of red” on the 9th of March, when hundreds of XR members say they are prepared to be arrested as part of The Blood of our Children protest. The idea is to make the gravity of the climate crisis viscerally clear.

Banners in the temporary XR headquarters

“There will be parents and children, as well as people taking on arrestable roles, like me, who want to make a point about intergenerational injustice,” said Paolo, an XR member. “The idea is to find that sweet spot where the police are obliged to arrest you, but it’s totally non-violent and peaceful. The people who’ve committed criminal damage will sit on the ground and wait to be arrested.”

Young people who have “inherited” the climate crisis are also mobilising among themselves. An XR youth faction was formed just days ago and now has eight members. Robin is 24 and a founding member of XR Youth. He joked that it’s his mum’s 60th birthday soon and that he might not be around for it if he’s arrested.

“We want to represent the youth voice,” he told me outside XR HQ, where he was about to lead a non-violent direct action training session for a group of young people. “If you were born in 1990 or later, you’ve never experienced a normal climate, so we’ve set that as our age range. We are the generation of fucked up climate, and we are the generation that’s going to take it forward.”

The temporary XR headquarters

Training people in peaceful rebellion is key to XR’s mission. Workshops are held most days of the week in local groups across the country, but next month will see the movement stage “mass rebellion training for thousands, with a festival atmosphere” at its Spring Uprising in Bristol.

More than a dozen music acts are confirmed, and there will be an art factory, a regenerative sanctuary and solution-focused talks. Alongside the training, this party element of the weekend event is key, said XR member and festival organiser Tiana Jacout, who was introduced to me as the “brains behind the bridges occupation”, i.e. the action in November of 2018 when thousands of XR members blockaded five bridges in central London.

The temporary XR headquarters

But perhaps the most effective way to seize people’s attention is by going after the very thing that is consuming the nation: Brexit. Although XR does not take a view on leaving the European Union, it is gathering hundreds of people to block the motorway out of Dover as part of its No Brexit on a Dead Planet event on the 30th of March. The action is designed to demonstrate that we could be looking at rioting on the streets if food supplies collapse, not because of Brexit, but climate change.

“It’s phenomenal that while your house is on fire, all the government can do is squabble about getting a slightly shittier trade deal with their closest allies,” said Jacout. “People are squabbling over how food will get to England and not looking at the larger picture of whether there is food available to come to here in the first place.”

How ‘Merchants of doubt’ fooled the public about climate change

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By Zeeshan Hasan

In 1988, Dr. James Hansen, senior climate scientist at NASA, testified to the US Senate that global warming caused by burning fossil fuels was a serious threat. Yet for 30 years the world did practically nothing, and both greenhouse gas emissions and global warming continued. Global inactivity was largely due to successive US governments pretending that the science of global warming was still uncertain and not worth the expense of reducing coal, oil and gas use. The intentional ignorance of climate science on the part of the American politicians was encouraged by a small group of right-wing scientists who were not specialists in climate change, but were rather driven by ideological opposition to the increased government regulation that would obviously be required to tackle issues such as global warming. Reluctance of US authorities to consider reducing fossil fuel use resulted in all other countries refusing to to act as well. How this happened is the subject of Merchants of Doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.
Oreskes, a professor of history of science at Harvard University, points out that a number of the prominent scientific advisors of the US government (recurring names are Fred Seitz, Fred Singer, Robert Jastrow and Bill Nierenberg) started their careers in nuclear weapons and missile research in the midst of Cold War conflicts with Russia. Thus these scientists were reflexively anti-Communist and inclined to oppose any scientific research that made a case for more government regulation; they saw such regulations as a sign of the socialism which they had opposed all their careers growing within the US. Hence this small but influential group of senior scientific advisors continuously opposed emerging scientific findings that tobacco caused cancer, that industrial pollution caused acid rain, and finally that dangerous climate change would be caused by burning coal, oil and gas. Unfortunately, these anti-regulation/pro-market scientists found support in the fossil fuel industry, various pro-market media and think tanks, and various US politicians whose political campaigns received money from coal/oil/gas companies. The result was that the science of global warming and climate change was perceived by the media, the government and the public as contested for decades after a scientific consensus on these issues was in fact established. Due to these manufactured doubts, government policy was slow to accept the scientific evidence on the danger of man-made global warming.
Of the various scientific issues discussed by Oreskes, climate change has by far the biggest impact on humanity as a whole and thus also created the most resistance amongst anti-regulation scientists, corporate lobby groups and politicians. Reading Oreskes’ book, one sees how naïve it is to expect that worldwide government policies regarding global warming would be simply be decided based on scientific evidence. The fact is that the political systems which have been established to govern democratic countries are not set up to make decisions based on science. Rather they are set up to encourage politicians to make decisions based on the likelihood of winning the next election. Multinational coal, oil and gas companies have more than enough money to make political donations big enough to legally “buy” political support for their industries in spite of dire scientific warnings. The public has largely been deceived by fake science produced by non-specialists in climate change presenting themselves as ‘experts’ and muddying up the waters with doubt. Oreskes’ book has also been made into an informative film.
The past 30 years has shown that voters around the world, and especially in the US, have not been sufficiently informed of the dangers of catastrophic global warming which could cause worldwide water shortage, crop failures and famines resulting in hundreds of millions of deaths if left unchecked. Fossil fuel companies and anti-regulation scientists and politicians have taken advantage of the lack of knowledge of climate science among the public to deceive and endanger us all. Hopefully this will change as the media and the public wake up to the threat of global warming. Only the tireless activism of all members of the public can change the cycle of misinformation and election of climate-skeptic politicians. Otherwise the world will continue getting hotter, and our children might grow up to inherit a climate running amok.