By XR-UK - 02. October 2019
We’ve got a big act to follow: last week saw the biggest environmental mobilisation in history, with 7.6 million people in 185 countries marching and striking to call for a liveable climate.
The Global Climate Strike began three days before the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. For all the talk of 'increased ambition' and a 'surge of engagement', the UN Secretary General was still frank that 'we have a long way to go'.
Once again, world leaders have shown their inability to take the survival of their species seriously.
With the Arctic sea ice now close to vanishing, financing of fossil fuels only increasing, and the broader ecological picture as grave as ever (for a summary, see our new pocket-book), it’s clear that we need to reach a new level of action before it’s too late.
USA - XR raise the alarm in Washington DC
The Climate Strike alone was never going to be enough. We'll need every person and every movement to win the change we desperately need.
So we're excited to share an incredible breadth of stories in this newsletter: actions held by Extinction Rebellion, Youth Strike, and so many other unions and movements; geographically ranging from Taipei to Lisbon, Beirut to Cape Town, and featuring countless other cities in an overflowing XR Unchained.
XR INDIA young people training in NVDA
We changed the world in April, and we’ve grown a lot since then: in our numbers, in our global scale, and in the strength of our compassion.
Readers involved in events earlier this year will remember the elation, the exhaustion, and that unforgettable sense of empowered togetherness.
The next few weeks will be challenging, and things won’t always go well. But we are in this emergency together. As individuals, as groups, and (as we saw this week) as humans all across the world, we stand together, united in love.
NEPAL - Kathmandu monks say ‘Enough is enough!’
We’ve set up a Humans of XR group to help share and celebrate the many uplifting stories from rebels all over the world, which are the heart of our movement. Share your own story of why you are rebelling, or nominate a fellow rebel to inspire others.
We’re also excited to announce a new Creative Hub as a space to share your creative expressions of what it's like to be alive at this time.
Speaking of creativity - here are some brilliant videos to share far and wide: inspiring teasers for October in English, French, Spanish, and Dutch; a super-slick summary of why direct action works; an exploration of Citizens’ Assemblies; and a spoken-word performance from XR Abu Dhabi’s first event: ‘Show me some cat videos’.
We can’t wait to see what this wave of International Rebellion will bring. We will be writing daily newsletters from October 7th to keep you updated on all the beautiful and courageous action happening around the world. Well, everything we can possibly fit into an email.
You are called on. If you do one thing with your life, do this. Not later, now.
Time is running out. Respect existence or expect resistance.
See you on the streets.
XR SPAIN strike the drums to prepare for International Rebellion
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.
- Action Highlights
- XR Unchained
- News & Recommended Content
Global Climate Strike
20 - 27 SEPT | WORLDWIDE
In the biggest climate mobilisation in history, over 7.6 million people took to the streets in 185 countries. This is more than we can cover - but below you’ll find a few examples of the countless events which took place as part of the strike.
Yellow-green convergence in France
21 SEPT | Near the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France
150,000 climate protesters took to the streets of Paris for a special Marche pour le Climat. The march ended with brave protesters and rebels occupying a central bridge for over two hours.
The authorities, aware of the convergence of different groups and visibly afraid of it, strongly repressed this historic encounter by prohibiting all gatherings and deploying an excessive amount of police force.
You can read a special report from one of our rebels in France here.
XR joins with Trade Unions to demand climate justice
26 SEP | 08:00 - 10:00 | Johannesburg, South Africa
Meanwhile in South Africa, Extinction Rebellion Gauteng made waves. Rebels joined forces with SAFTU (South African Federation of Trade Unions) to coordinate an action outside the Department of Energy, demanding much-needed action on the climate and ecological crisis, as well as a transition to renewable energy.
Campaigning for systemic change is a monumental task that requires everyone. Given the need for massive transformation, it was empowering for union voices to be represented and heard alongside Extinction Rebellion.
The fight for environmental justice is also the fight for fair treatment of workers and communities, which is why the solidarity shown in Johannesburg is yet another indispensable facet of our efforts leading up to the International Rebellion. Watch an inspiring video capturing the action here!
XR Israel join thousands on the streets of Tel Aviv
27 SEP | Tel Aviv, Israel
Friday marked a new milestone for Israel’s burgeoning environmental movement, with thousands of climate strikers marching down a major road of Tel Aviv, blocking Israel’s financial centre with a die-in on the tarmac, and finally staging the country’s biggest ever action in a nearby public square - a second die-in involving 3000 protestors.
The march was fronted by XR Israel’s very own Red Brigade, who ravished onlookers on their Middle East debut with ethereal poses and a dashing sense of style. Joining the School Strikers was a coalition of Israeli environmental groups, including Green Course and Jewish-Arab movement Standing Together.
The event was especially well reported, with all of Israel’s major media outlets giving the protest major coverage, a novelty in a region that has traditionally put security concerns over all others.
Israeli attitudes to the climate crisis is reaching a tipping point, with public awareness of the issue spreading like never before. XR Israel is preparing for bigger and bolder actions for October.
Rebels haunt Taipei
20 - 27 SEPT | Taipei, Taiwan
Despite rainy conditions, rebels in Taipei marched from the Legislative Yuan around the city and back where they handed petitions to government officials.
A group of performers, all in white, walked like spectres through the city, sometimes crying and screaming, to represent victims of the climate crisis. For a chilling taster, click here.
Organisers pointed to the need for Taiwan to transition away from fossil fuels and to set an example of ‘Asian values’ by pushing renewable energy initiatives.
Lisbon rises like the water
27 SEPT | Bank of Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal
Portuguese rebels blocked one of Lisbon’s main avenues, Avenida Almirante Reis.
XR Portugal and the Greve Climática Estudantil (students’ strike for climate) joined together to organise the action. Three unions supported the strike (social services and teaching unions), including arguably Portugal’s most powerful union.
Rebels gathered outside the country’s central bank. More than 500 people managed to hold the location for around four hours, sitting in the road peacefully and enjoying music, singing and chanting, as beautifully captured in this video.
Police gave rebels three warnings to move, and organisers advised vulnerable people to leave. The many remaining peaceful rebels - some as young as 14 - eventually had to be carried away by police.
Police took rebels into a side road, which remained blocked for quite a while longer, until they decided to leave. The terrain was steep and the police had confiscated their tents.
Portuguese media is reporting that these efforts have attracted support from the president of the National Confederation of Parent Associations.
House of Placards
27 & 23 SEP | Washington DC, USA
Hundreds of climate strikers marched through the American capital on Friday, shutting down a major road during rush hour, waving XR banners, and dancing to a poignant roster of hits that included ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears and ‘Gasolina’ by Daddy Yankee.
The shutdown was the work of a coalition of climate conscious groups that included Extinction Rebellion DC, Black Lives Matter, and the Sunrise Movement (a youth group that helped forge the Green New Deal).
The march followed a two mile route through downtown D.C. that passed the offices of major actors seen as complicit in ecological breakdown, including BlackRock, Wells Fargo bank, and the Environmental Protection Agency. A speech demanding urgent action from politicians was made outside the Trump International Hotel.
While no arrests were made this time, 32 DC rebels were arrested for a more widespread shut down earlier in the week, where 15 junctions were blocked causing citywide gridlock.
A fetching half-pink, half-yellow Extinction Rebellion boat sailed in for the occasion, with police resorting to power tools to wrest the chained-on crew from their galley!
XR Lebanon causes a stir
14 SEP | Beirut, Lebanon
The group marched through Beirut in solidarity with Fridays For Future Lebanon to demand urgent climate action from the Lebanese government, and then took to the capital’s streets again the following Friday to close the week of Global Climate Strikes.
Since we can no longer fit all the beautiful, inspiring actions from the XR community into one email, we’ve created a new space called XR Unchained. Here, you can read all about actions that happen around the world, as the movement continues to grow and amaze.
This week featuring:
Heaps of news from Spain
'Flood the Seaport' action in Boston
Fashion week funeral
Switzerland road block
Luton Airport action
SPAIN - Spanish rebels put on a creative performance in solidarity with the burning Amazon.
Finnish kayaks disrupt a luxury cruise ship. Small but effective. Full story here.
XR GAMBIA draw attention to the fires sweeping across Africa
SOUTH AFRICA - XR Mzansi prepares with workshops in Cape Town.
Military rebels standing to attention to the real threat.
UK - XR Doctors glue on to draw attention to the near-term consequences of the crisis for healthcare.
XR COLOMBIA rebels brought some brightness to a rainy day in Bogota.
XR HONG KONG rising like the water.
ARGENTINA - Rebels protest outside Cargill offices in Buenos Aires. See their October video here.
NEW ZEALAND rebels dress in black and line up to reach out to the public.
Packing your bags for October
Starting to pack for the Rebellion? Here’s a guide!
Arrestees - take note that we suggest you bring steel cable ties. They’re more effective and less damaging than superglue at affixing human wrists to things.
Your newsletter (still) needs you!
The team behind this very email is gearing up for its most ambitious project yet: daily, international coverage for two weeks, starting October 7.
We’ve got a whole list of roles which need filling. All of them can be completed remotely, and very few need training or experience, meaning wherever you are, you can help. If you’re keen to help, email .
Humans of XR
‘When I read that many scientists are convinced that the catastrophe is unpreventable, I felt a kind of terror that I had never experienced before. I was alone in the library, around me everything was silent. What I had just read seemed unreal, like a nightmare. From my desk I could observe a perfect, peaceful world outside. The sea looked pure, the air smelled fresh. I asked myself how I could have ignored the problem for so long.’
The rest of Carlotta’s story, along with many others, can be found on the Humans of XR Facebook group.
Working Class Voices
Read a humbling and inspiring piece from a working class climate activist and urban farm owner, who shares their vision of a truly class conscious XR.
1.5 FOR 1.5 Challenge
XR Amsterdam have proposed the ice bucket challenge of climate activism: hold your breath for 1.5 minutes on camera to show support for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Here are the simple steps you need to take part and help this campaign go viral on the 6th October.
58% of Europe's endemic trees have been listed as 'threatened' in a new IUCN Red List. 15% were assessed as 'critically endangered, or one step away from going extinct'. In North America, bird populations have suffered a net loss of 29 percent, or 2.9 billion birds since 1970. In England the badger cull has been extended to an ‘unimaginable scale’, threatening 64,000 badgers this Autumn and ‘pushing the species to the verge of local extinction’ in some areas.
And global wilderness areas have declined by 10% since the 1990s with the Amazon and Central Africa hardest hit. There’s a new report from the IPCC on the state of the oceans and the cryosphere (frozen water) unpacked by Carbon Brief here.
Meanwhile, the world's largest banks have poured $1.9 trillion into fossil fuel financing since the Paris Agreement, Dr Rosemary Mason reports that Bayer is having secret meetings with the British government to determine which agrochemicals are to be used after Brexit, and it appears that between 2000 and 2016 global warming deniers were given around 50% more media coverage than climate scientists.
Even ‘green new deals’ could lead to a situation where ‘if we don’t take precautions, clean energy firms could become as destructive as fossil fuel companies’ according to Jason Hickel.
(Peñasquito silver mine in Mexico, proposed tailings dam - image source. Hickel: ‘To transition the global economy to renewables, we need to commission up to 130 more mines on the scale of Peñasquito. Just for silver.’)
Given this context Chris Hedges has argued that we ought not to be under any illusions but understand that saving the planet means overthrowing the ruling elites because ‘Voting, lobbying, petitioning and protesting to induce the ruling elites to respond rationally to the climate catastrophe have proved no more effective than scrofula victims’ appeals to Henry VIII to cure them with a royal touch.’
More prosaically, Max Wilbert points out that the recent drone attack on a Saudi oil processing facility resulted in a 50% drop in the country’s production, and by itself ‘has been more effective than the entire environmental movement, which has failed to stop the growth in fossil fuel production and consumption.’
This article calls for a re-framing of how we discuss the ecological crisis: ‘This Is Not the Sixth Extinction. It’s the First Extermination Event.' And Jonathan Cook has penned a useful article responding to cynicism from the left about the Greta Thunberg phenomenon.
Finally, Joanna Pocock writes about her time with Finisia Medrano, horseback rewilder on 'the hoop' in NW America, the Hutukara Yanaomami Association responds to President Bolsonaro’s speech to the UN General Assembly, and here’s the speech by 19-Year-Old indigenous climate activist Artemisa Xakriabá at the New York climate strike.