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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Extinction Rebellion’s October Actions: “the sun rises on a new wave of rebellion”

This has been copied from XR’s latest email:

“It’s happening. It can’t be ignored. It’s only growing stronger.

It’s a rebellion.

We’re back on the roads – with as much joy, fear, love and courage as ever. We’re shutting down cities – not because it’s fun (though it can be), but because it’s our last option for stopping this toxic system in its tracks.

Our world is dying. To save it, we’ll need everyone – wherever and whoever you are – to do your bit.

And though we’re still somewhat short of the shared, global consciousness we need, we’re getting ever closer.

This International Rebellion which began on Monday is so vast it’s almost impossible to take it all in. Thousands of people flood 60 cities across the globe, with over 700 brave rebels arrested as they stand up for their right to life, and that’s just the start.

It’s not just a question of quantity. With every season that passes, we grow more organised, more unified, more creative, more courageous.

Just look at the 11 vibrant sites held around the centre of London, the choir of Amsterdam rebels, the blood poured on the bull statue in Wall Street in New York, the ambition of our banner-hangers, the Red Brigade arriving in Tel Aviv and Istanbul, underwater protest art in Mexico, and the boats of every shape and size that we are so desperately trying to keep afloat.

We’re a movement unlike any other.

This newsletter team will do everything we can to keep up and to showcase the unreal brilliance of our young movement. We can only apologise in advance for not capturing every aspect of this glorious, unfathomably complex process that is our rebellion.

We hope that wherever this reaches you – whether you’re superglued to a road, camping out in the rain, deep in spreadsheets and planning, or at home drinking your coffee – you will be touched by what is going on right now all over the world.

We hope you understand that it’s for you, and for every human being alive and not yet alive.

You are not alone in this. And it’s not too late to join in.

If you’d like to help, please check out our guide and learn more about XR.

To connect to rebels in your local area, get in touch with your nearest XR group. If there’s no active group near you, you can start your own!

If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.

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.

London Blockades Westminster

7 OCT | London, UK

Over 275 rebels have been arrested on a momentous day which marks the beginning of XR’s October Rebellion in London. Early on Monday morning, rebels from all over the country mobilised and successfully took 11 main sites around Westminster in central London, including two key bridges.

Rebels drove a hearse into the ‘Burning Earth’ site in Trafalgar Square, parked it, and locked and glued themselves to the vehicle. The ‘undertaker’ in the drivers’ seat D-locked himself to the steering wheel by the neck.

Footage broadcast on ITV News shows police officers desperately trying to prevent more rebels gluing themselves underneath the vehicle, as well as a deeply moving moment where a father locked onto the underside of the hearse reveals why he is taking this drastic measure. In the back of the hearse, rebels had mounted a coffin painted with the words ‘OUR FUTURE’.

 

Meanwhile, a tower of scaffolding was positioned in the road, which rebels climbed and glued onto. They held this for most of the day, before being lifted off in orange sacks by police officers kitted out in climbing gear.

In an exciting turn of events, a rebel wedding was held in the middle of the blocked Westminster Bridge (a first for the bridge, as far as we know!) to the sound of XR cheers and a feisty brass band. Love was truly in the air.

Also seen on the bridge were yoga enthusiasts, a ceilidh with bagpipes, and, floating beneath the bridge, an XR boat headed for the Houses of Parliament.

Despite the efforts of peacefully protesting rebels in London today, pre-planned and persistent police confiscations have left blockades lacking infrastructure and amenities. However, officers failed to confiscate the rebel spirit, which lives on in furious love and determination.

Paris – All in the same boat!

7 OCT | 15:00 onwards | Place de Chatelet, Paris, France

XR France managed to block and occupy Paris’ most central and busiest intersection, near the Nôtre-Dame cathedral. Rebels, aware of the sensitivity of the site, kept the location secret until the last minute and attached themselves to flower planters to complicate police efforts to remove them.

Rebels who remember the pink boat in Oxford Circus will be pleased to hear that its blue brother has crossed the channel for this October and cast its anchor in Parisian waters.

As we are ‘all in the same boat’, its DJs and dancers are inviting passers-by to join this festive occupation in all of its creativity, and keep the troops energized and regenerated for a lasting rebellion.

Climate Camp Berlin

7 OCT | Berlin, Germany

 

Our uprising begins! From early morning, 1000 rebels blocked the “Big Star” roundabout surrounding Berlin’s Siegessäule. As the sun rose, peaceful rebels danced and sang.

Our ship, the Arche Rebella, has been put together once again in a new location.

Berlin rebellion takes to the air!

3000 rebels held Potsdamer Platz with the help of lots of potted plants and a Red Brigade – the site was buzzing. Rebels continued to hold the Platz for longer than expected, with some chaining themselves together.

Even as police threatened rebels with physical violence if they failed to clear the blockade, they were dancing, singing and sending out a strong signal about the climate crisis.

It was early evening before police were able to begin slowly clearing rebels. Two thousand rebels remained and the good mood continued as food was shared, even as police began confiscating our equipment.

Madrid – Dia Uno

7 OCT | Madrid, Spain

Madrid rebels had a dramatic first day of Rebellion! 300 rebels surrounded a pink boat to block a bridge and were greeted by an alarming police response that included twisting arms, pressing thumbs into rebels’ eyes and putting pressure under their jaws.

10 rebels were hospitalised and many others suffered minor injuries. There were 43 arrests that day in Madrid.

But their spirits were not broken. The rebels went onto cause further disruption and set up camp in front of Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition. Rebels dressed in red, blue and brown – representing forest fires, rising sea levels and desertification – stalked others dressed in animal costumes in a striking performance about mass extinction.

Read the full story here.

Amsterdam Rebels

7 OCT | Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam rebelled against a ban imposed by the mayor and police and brought non-violent direct action to the heart of the city. In the early hours, eager rebels gathered to block off roads in front of the city’s famous museums.

In addition to beautiful paintings by Vermeer and Van Gogh, tourists viewed the modern decor of brave earth-protectors fighting for their democracy and freedom of speech. The site then toured around the Heineken Experience to make sure any tourists there didn’t miss out.

In a miscalculated response, the police blocked off the first protest site, playing into our rebels’ hands, who staged an impromptu die-in on the Dam square instead.

The protests ended in over 100 arrests with rebels responding to police aggression by collectively chanting ‘We are peaceful, what are you?

Four large city buses transported the arrestees away. Cries of peaceful resistance and tunes from the buses echoed far and wide through the capital’s narrow streets and over the canals.

The Bull of Wall Street

7 OCT | New York, USA

Around 90 New York rebels were arrested yesterday after they launched a wave of actions in the city’s famous financial district. Protesters poured fake blood over Wall Street’s iconic Bull statue, held a very bloody die-in outside the New York stock exchange, and then blocked a nearby road.

The die-in was attended by the stunning Red Brigade, and featured a New Orleans funeral band that got the hundreds of rebellious mourners dancing in the streets.

Tombstones mentioning hurricanes and fires made worse by the climate crisis were held aloft, along with a coffin with the words ‘Our future’ written on the side. Once the fun was over, rebels clean-up crews stepped in to mop the fake blood away.

Police set up a perimeter and arrested rebels in waves. Despite the high arrest count, the sunkissed rebellion base in nearby Washington Square park was buzzing.

Actions will be continuing here over the coming days, and are expected to spread to Chicago and Washington DC later in the week.

For more details on what the rebels of New York are up to, check out their daily updates.

A new chapter for XR Canada

7 OCT | Toronto, Canada

XR Toronto gathered at Playter Gardens for a day of Rebellion. After an early morning briefing, protesters took to the Bloor Viaduct with banners, signs, and megaphones, numbers bolstered by other groups and allies.

There, they cordoned off the bridge and nearby Danforth Avenue from rush-hour traffic, allowing the space to play host to a multitude of activities. In addition to activist speeches and performances, the group participated in singing, meditation and yoga sessions while other protestors chalked messages along the concrete.

As the morning wore on, police announced a request for dispersal, yet several rebels remained. This group sat or stood in front of large, red and yellow “Act Now” block letters while the rest of the protesters swelled to either side of Danforth Avenue with songs of peace and hope.

19 arrestees were eventually taken into police cars and driven off; the remaining group returned to Playter Gardens for camaraderie and regeneration.

Toronto’s action upon the Viaduct reached a wide audience of receptive hearts. Hard work is ahead but another river has undoubtedly been crossed. With actions from Halifax to Victoria, today marked a new chapter of XR’s fight for climate justice in Canada.

Aussie rebels bring the heat

7 OCT | Melbourne, Australia

The day began with a sacred ceremony on the steps of Parliament House, when rebels, still waking up, took gum leaves and received the welcome via smoke cleansing before moving back to the central campsite of Carlton Gardens.

Upwards of a thousand people came together at 16:00 for a march through the CBD (Central Business District), which was successfully disrupted from 16:00 – 19:00, in a colourful, energetic, peaceful, respectful action. Some carried a glass coffin, like a fish tank, filled with aquatic plants and rocks to illustrate concern for about the impact of climate change on oceans.

The plan was to march through the city creating swarms in key intersections as a taste of actions that will follow for the entire week. The police had a strong presence, including mounted officers. 11 rebels were arrested, sacrificing their liberty to draw attention to the climate emergency and the need to act.

XR Victoria acknowledges that Camp Carlton and the Spring Rebellion take place on the stolen land of the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation. Sovereignty was never ceded.

Everyone puts their oar in to help block this intersection in Wellington, New Zealand. 45 were arrested on the first day

Excitingly, XR India and Sri Lanka held their first ever XR actions on the 6th – rebels acted with incredible heart and courage even amidst possible police interference. Meanwhile in New Zealand, rebels blocked streets with the iconic pink boat.

In Latin America, rebels turned out in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico to call for immediate action from their governments. Brazilian rebels held a die-in on Copacabana beach and XR Argentina held three different rebellious actions in Buenos Aires.

Europe truly outdid itself this time, with bold, creative actions happening all over, including Athens, Vienna, Rome, Istanbul, and Chisinau, Moldova (to name but a few).

Across the globe, rebels took to the streets with fiery love to call on everyone to act now to mitigate the climate and ecological crisis.

Blood runs over Italian rebels in front of Montecitorio Palace, Rome

Rebels in Los Cabos, Mexico, perform underwater in a stunning piece about modern life called ‘The vanity, the distraction, the blindness’

In Vienna, rebels turned out in their hundreds to peacefully disrupt the city. 70 rebels were arrested.

Argentine rebels proudly hung a banner off this lovely tower in Retiro, Buenos Aires

Sri Lankan rebels braved torrential rain to launch their first ever XR action

XR Content

 

Humans of XR

‘Hi, I’m Nathaniel. I will be turning one during the Rebellion. My mummy is an XR fundraiser and my daddy teaches social justice at University. My older sister went to the Youth Climate Strike, although she is a bit too young to understand the urgency of the situation.

I don’t understand any of these things because I’m a baby. You do.

I can’t act, because I can’t even walk yet. You can. I can’t speak up for the world, because I only know one word. You can.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. This rebellion has been magnificent so far – and it’s only Day 1!

Keep up the good work!”

If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.



It has been known for a long time that XR was planning a massive 2-week-long demonstration in October 2019.  Now it has started.

It would seem that some agencies in the UK are getting worried about this.

  • Facebook ads about the rebellion are being removed;
  • The police raided a storage facility in London being used to store equipment to support the rebellion – and removed it;
  • The media is, so far, not giving a high profile in the TV news to events in London;
  • a higher number of people are being arrested in London than were in the April action.

Are similar repressions happening elsewhere in the world?



 


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Global Climate Strike on 20th September

This is happening all over the world but, in the UK, the following link will tell you of the event nearest to where you live:

Find your nearest strike

Over 4000 events have been planned, in 120 countries.


The website of Scientists for Global Responsibility is supporting the strike through the following piece:

The Climate Strike – why we should all stop work to start change

It can seem odd that a refusal to act is a good way to motivate action, writes Andrew Simms, Scientists for Global Responsibility. It appears even stranger when that refusal to act comes at a cost to the ‘refuser’, such as your own education. But striking has been a tool of change for most of recorded history for good reasons, and often at great cost to those taking action.

Responsible Science blog, 17 September 2019

A movement of millions of school age climate strikers has grown in just the last year to challenge governments to change direction.

If you are powerless directly to take decisions, and have exhausted all other ways of trying to push for change, withdrawing your consent, participation or labour is a powerful act of last resort.

But now there’s a kind of strike that is distinct and different, in nature and scale.

A movement of millions of school age climate strikers has grown in just the last year to challenge governments and older generations to change direction.

A quarter of a century since the UN’s convention on climate change (UNFCCC) was agreed at the Earth Summit in 1992, instead of charting a new course to avoid climate breakdown, globally we are accelerating towards it.

This summer Greenland appeared to lose more ice in a single month than the average annual loss from 2002 up till now.

The concentration of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, largely released by humanity’s burning of coal, oil and gas, rose steeply over 2018-2019 for the seventh consecutive year, to the highest level for around 3 million years, and the highest yet experienced by human civilisation. The rate of rise too has increased, with last year being the second highest rate of rise in six decades. Record breaking extreme weather events abound from hurricanes to uncontrollable forest fires. This summer Greenland appeared to lose more ice in a single month than the average annual loss from 2002 up till now. Britain’s former chief scientific advisor, David King, called the faster pace of climate breakdown ‘scary’.

Quite reasonably, an emerging generation might expect those in control and taking decisions to act in the public, and the biosphere’s, interest and take urgent action. We’re taught from the earliest stages of life about how to ‘stay safe’. In playgrounds, crossing roads, near water or drugs, or among strangers in public places, the constant exhortation of the older generation to the younger is to take care and keep away from danger.

It must seem absolutely bizarre that where the biosphere is concerned, something which provides our fundamental life support system, the message is the opposite – a kind of ‘let’s light it, burn it, and see what happens.’

In the UK alone, which has cultivated an international reputation for leading on climate action, recent policy choices have been the climate equivalent of sending children out to play in traffic.

The UK already accounts for a staggering one in twelve of all flights taken globally, with 70 per cent of flights being taken by frequent flyers who make up just 15 per cent of the population. But plans to expand the UK’s main airport, Heathrow, could wreck plans to hit a zero carbon target. The government is also committed to expanding the highly polluting process of fracking, and fully draining the North Sea oil and gas fields, in spite of estimates that show most known fossil fuel reserves are unsafe to burn.

And, while onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest and most popular clean, renewable energy source, restrictive planning conditions and rules blocking mainland wind projects from government contracts in subsidy auctions are effectively killing any developments. Similarly, after a period of impressive expansion, the government suddenly cut support for solar power leading to the sector going into decline. Plans for zero carbon homes have been dropped and there are still a wide range of subsidies handed out to dirty fossil fuels.

It must seem absolutely bizarre that where the biosphere is concerned, the message is the opposite to ‘stay safe’ – a kind of ‘let’s light it, smoke it, and see what happens’.

If you want a future and can’t yet vote, what else is a younger generation supposed to do to get its voice heard other than strike?

So far, the schools strikes have been creative and inspired people of all ages to action, not to mention giving renewed hope and vigour to the tired many who have campaigned for decades for action on the climate crisis. But still there has been no response in terms of the scale and speed of action needed, so the ambition of the strikes is growing, going truly global and calling on people of all ages to take part.

Of course, it’s not just about striking, the strikes are also backing calls for a Green New Deal. And, there is now a Green New Deal Bill before Parliament that calls for a rapid programme of decarbonisation and the reversal of inequality in the UK, between now and 2030. So now we have something to fight against, and something to fight for, a zero carbon, more equal economy.

In the UK alone recent policies have been the climate equivalent of sending children out to play in traffic.

Other campaign tactics haven’t worked. So now we have the school strikes. The right to strike is part of a fully functioning democracy, and something is needed to push through change when, as now, systems become entrenched and inertia prevents progress.

It’s logical too. Going on strike is one of the few choices available to people who are distant from decision-making and appear powerless. Greta Thunberg puts it unambiguously, “We are fighting for our lives”. The school strikers have already transformed global awareness of the climate emergency. As scientists and engineers, SGR stands in solidarity with them, as we all should. Then we should get to work to make sure that a Green New Deal becomes law so that we all have a future to look forward to.
Andrew Simms is Assistant Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility.