“Time is Running Out.” Extinction Rebellion promises disruption and disobedience as time runs out for the government to safeguard the public from the Climate and Ecological Breakdown

London, UK. 15th Apr, 2019. Extinction Rebellion climate change demonstration in Oxford Circus, London, UK. Credit: Vladimir Morozov/akxmedia.

Hundreds of rebels from Extinction Rebellion Bristol will travel to London on 7th October to participate in a two-week course of mass nonviolent civil disobedience, focused in the Westminster area alongside thousands of other rebels from across the UK and other organizations to shine light on our Government’s failure to tell the truth about the Climate and Ecological Emergency and urgently act upon it. 

  1. We continue to demand that the Government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency.
  2. We continue to demand that the Government act on that truth to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gasses to net zero by 2025. 
  3. We continue to demand that the Government create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Our April Rebellion in London, with over 1000 arrests, was the largest civil disobedience event in recent British history. Alongside the controversial Summer Uprising, which took place across five cities in the UK,  Extinction Rebellion not only created an unprecedented awareness of the severity of the crisis we face, but shifted the Overton window, the spectrum of acceptable debate in mainstream politics and society about the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Despite local and national governments paying lip service to the emergency, our economic and political system continues business as usual, encouraging unnecessary debt based systemic consumption with the sole purpose of achieving economic growth regardless of the consequences to our only planet, while pumping billions into fossil fuel subsidies, industrial agriculture and outdated transport infrastructure.

The truth is that:

  • Declarations of climate emergency have been largely symbolic both at local and national levels.
  • The Citizens’ Assemblies called by the House of Commons has imposed preset agendas, inadequate timelines and do not carry force of the law.
  • Net-zero climate legislation towards 2050 is a death sentence for future generations.
  • And, moreover, none of these act to halt biodiversity loss around the world. We find ourselves in the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, destroying the very own web of life on which our survival depends.
  • Nor do they act to ensure justice for those most affected planetwide.

For this Rebellion, XR will go beyond the nominal economic disruption caused by a few concentrated roadblocks, and will target the political system that holds our fate in their hands. In order for us to force those in power to act on our three core demands, we must focus our attention acutely on them, and return to the seats of power. By causing disruption in Westminster, Extinction Rebellion are making it clear that it is the Government which needs to stop lying to the public about the environmental and ecological emergency and start acting upon it.

Rebels have been encouraged to book time off from work for the event, which will span at least two weeks. Alongside this has come the instruction to attend non-violent direct action (NVDA) training beforehand so as to maximise impact and safety for all. 

Crucially, many have been encouraged to prepare for the possibility of arrest – a core tenet of their protest strategy. Many Bristol rebels have shown themselves as willing to be arrested for the cause. With time running out for the Government to act on the climate emergency, arrest as a form of protest is viewed as an act of necessity to secure the future of life on Earth. 

Emily, 28 from Bristol said: “I’m prepared to give up my freedom in police handcuffs so that all of us are given the freedom to live in a safe and healthy world without the fear of extinction. I want young people to be in with a fighting chance of a future and experience the beauty of the world I love. 

”I urge people not to see the nonviolent disobedience that leads to my arrest not simply as a disruption but as a necessary and compassionate act to make Britain stop and wake up to the climate and ecological emergency before it is too late.” 

All rebels are welcome, including those who choose not to be arrested, whose contributions are essential for a successful rebellion. Arrangements are routinely put into place to ensure safeguarding from this outcome for those who feel they cannot risk the consequences of arrest. 

Rebels care deeply about the inconvenience they cause to others during these times, and hope to be as reasonable as possible – however,  they are aware that food shortages, climate-related natural disasters and decreasing habitable space on earth will not share this sentiment. Therefore, drastic action is required now.

Throughout history, the only proven and effective way for normal citizens to achieve radical change when governments do not listen is to engage in mass non-violent direct action in the tradition of Gandhi, the Suffragettes, Martin Luther King and many others.

With news regarding the climate emergency becoming increasingly foreboding by the day, the movement asks that we as a nation do not become bogged down by fear and annoyance. Instead, we must rely on these feelings as a tell that there is a better world possible, a fairer and more just means of mitigating the emergency before us, and adapting for what is to come. On 7th October, join us in demanding this world. The Time Is Now.

All rebels welcome.