Why We are Asking You to Consider Going to Jail

Click here for The Ecologist’s version.

How do you fancy being plunged into the grim abyss of the latest climate science and then getting politely asked if you are interested in being arrested or going to jail? Hundreds of people across the UK have recently had this experience, whilst attending talks about the Extinction Rebellion. Led by the group Rising Up, Extinction Rebellion is breaking the mould of traditional communications about the ecological crisis and taking this perspective: it is time to tell people the truth and ask them to act accordingly.

Scientists are increasingly breaking ranks to state in no uncertain terms the existential threat we are facing. Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber for twenty years the head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and a senior advisor to the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Francis, said this year “Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.” Schellnhuber says the issue now “is the very survival of our civilisation”.

The Extinction Rebellion is urging British Citizens to fully face the hellish reality we are entering, including the “biological annihilation” of this mass species extinction event. We acknowledge the grief and fear this can cause. Our experienced though, suggests that working through those painful feelings can lead to a new determination to do whatever it takes to make this a lesser catastrophe, to save what we can.

So what does it take? We don’t lack imagination or ideas, there are many policy solutions out there, what we lack is political will, in a democracy captured by the interests of profit. Fortunately we can turn to the social sciences for information on how to generate political will. The evidence is overwhelming  – change comes when people are willing to commit acts of peaceful civil disobedience. They must be disruptive and sacrificial and whilst a critical mass is needed, it is a relatively low number of people. 50 people in jail (for a short time, such as a week on remand) is likely to raise the ecological crisis into the public consciousness. Following up with just a few thousand arrests, in a short space of time could cause a political crisis. Between 1 to 3.4% of the population (around 2 million people) in active support of a rebellion (including many in support roles) would probably see an end to this destructive political system.

These are small numbers. Consider what this means to us as individuals, what power it gives us. We can choose to be one of a relatively small number of people, willing to stand up in a principled way and help decisively change the suicidal direction of humanity. Peaceful civil disobedience, as mastered by Gandhi, can be a dignified way to express your dissent. Actions could involve peacefully spray chalking buildings or blockading transport infrastructure, whilst being willing to face the consequences of being a Conscientious Protector.

The Extinction Rebellion talk is online. We are presenting evidence and a plan. We are asking you to please watch it and then ask yourself if you are willing and able to offer your service? Stepping forwards to live an honourable life, as all that we hold dear is threatened and dying.

Dr Kate Marvel from NASA’s Goddard Institute says

“To be a climate scientist is to be an active participant in a slow-motion horror story. As a climate scientist, I am often asked to talk about hope. … audiences want to be told that everything will be alright in the end. Climate change is bleak, Tell us a happy story. Give us hope. The problem is, I don’t have any. We need courage, not hope.”

I hope enough of us find our courage.

Dr. Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion

Further information:

Extinction Rebellion (XR) needs you! We are calling for a national mobilisation on the biggest scale ever.  We demand that carbon emissions be reduced to zero by 2025.

This aim is in line with The Climate Mobilisation (TCM) in the USA. We can do this, but we need your help.

Please ‘like’ our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/, follow @ExtinctionR on Twitter,  and message us to offer support.

As well as the civil disobedience on the frontline, we seek media specialists, writers, editors, public speakers, software designers, performers and artists of all kinds to help spread the XR campaign. Extinction Rebellion is also working to make links internationally, for future iterations planned next year.


So It Has Come To This?: Rebelling Against Toxic Climate Media

Here is the original article as published by The Ecologist.
Below is the same article copied and pasted, with The Ecologist’s mistakes noted as comments in bold.
Here is the original article that was sent to The Ecologist.
We do not wish this to be an attack on the editor of The Ecologist personally, but have no qualms in holding this incident up as an example of how the liberal climate in the environmentalist media refuses to allow the honest and mobilising environmental writing that is called for in these increasingly desperate times. In short, neo-liberal economic values, negating the need for deep systemic change in our society, have infected the environmentalist media, even on the supposed political left.

‘So It Has Come To This?

[Question mark was added by The Ecologist. Takes away urgency and arguably changes whole tone of article. When asked to change it back, The Ecologist said they couldn’t ‘because of backlinks’]

[Photograph of a protest march is inserted here in The Ecologist article, with no consent. the protest march is misleading as Extinction Rebellion believes marches will get us nowhere.]

Extinction Rebellion is a new group [Extinction Rebellion is a campaign, not a group. Rising Up! is the parent organisation] advocating for direct action to confront climate change.
ROGER HALLAM reports: [Matthew Tehanu and Julian Langer as content and copy-editors were ommitted, with no explanation, along with links to their blogs which are possibly seen as too radical i.e. truthful, to the liberal Ecologist.]

In complexity theory, when a system comes under increasing pressure there is often a period of calm before a “phase transition” – when the system breaks down into new state. This calm is about to break.

The conventional campaigning has, yet again, revealed its failure to influence the political establishment. Thirty years since scientists told us that we are heading for ecological collapse, a majority of Labour and Tory MPs voted through the UK’s biggest carbon intensive infrastructure project – the third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Rebellious struggle [this subheading, added by The Ecologist, arguably fossilises Extinction Rebellion as an object of intellectual enquiry, breaking the momentum of the original piece which has an urgent, motivating tone.]

Once completed, the expanded Heathrow will produce more carbon emissions than the entire country of Portugal. No act confirms more clearly the pathological criminality of our political class.

So it has come to this: rebellion! 

This November we will rebel. We will go to London and block transport and government infrastructure. We will be arrested. Once released we will do it again.

To stop us they will have to imprison us. We will appeal to people to rise up and join us. But whether they do so is not important. What is important now is for us to make a stand – to engage in a direct political struggle that is appropriate to the crisis we face.

Climate catastrophe [same criticism as for subheading above]

We must speak the blunt truth – we are heading for extinction.

Finally after decades of emailing, donating, marching; after years of growing depression, desperation, and despair, we have reached this point.

We will no longer tolerate the destruction of this beautiful planet. The humiliation of seeing this crime of all crimes take place year in and year out throughout our whole lives. We have decided that crying alone in the dark is no way to deal with our piercing grief at this horror.

We are going act and action is the antidote to despair. This is our choice today.

Not so long ago we were told by scientists in no uncertain terms that if we exceed 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere we would face catastrophe. We are now at 410.

Rights and duties [same criticism as for subheading above]

The increase used to be 1ppm a year, then it rose to 2ppm, we are now approaching 3ppm. In a decade or so we will be crossing 450ppm – the equivalent of the Paris limit of 2C.

In the words of Professor Peter Ward, at 500ppm “all bets our off”. He means that we will have triggered the geophysical feedbacks that will lead to our extinction.

After years of denial we finally have to accept the terrible truth – those in authority are going to kill us – the infliction of unimaginable suffering on billions of innocent people. This is what is planned – openly and wilfully. There is no greater crime.

So the time for facts and figures is over – the speculations, the distractions – the talks that lead to more talks. We are adults and no longer children.

[a very significant section here about our duty to rebel against the government was cut out]

Already, around the country, hundreds are answering our call. We started our presence in London, Bristol, and Stroud. We now have groups in Frome and Exeter. The rebellion is spreading.

Get involved

Extinction Rebellion (XR) needs you! We are calling for a national mobilisation on the biggest scale ever.  We demand that carbon emissions be reduced to zero by 2025.

This aim is in line with The Climate Mobilisation (TCM) in the USA. We can do this, but we need your help.

Please ‘like’ our Facebook page, follow @ExtinctionR on Twitter, and message us to offer support.

As well as the civil disobedience on the frontline, we seek media specialists, writers, editors, public speakers, software designers, performers and artists of all kinds to help spread the XR campaign.

[final thoughts: the main crimes are the header image of the march, and the question mark in the title. A lot of content has been cut out, which is standard editorial practice for many publications. However, we feel that the cut content included some of the more radical phrasing, which was integral to the overall tone of the original piece.]