The government just got a short, sharp warning about our planet’s emergency

An image from Extinction Rebellions declaration action
Steve Topple

Hundreds of people just put the government on notice over the biggest threats the planet faces. And they did so right at parliament’s front door.

Extinction Rebellion

The Extinction Rebellion campaign is under the banner of the RisingUp activist network. It aims to get people across the country to take part in non-violent but disruptive acts of civil disobedience. These will highlight the climate and ecological catastrophe we’re all facing; but also the inaction of politicians and “elites”. You can read The Canary‘s full report on Extinction Rebellion here.

Its campaign officially began on Wednesday 31 October. At 10am outside parliament, hundreds of people gathered to launch Extinction Rebellion’s “Declaration of Rebellion” to the government. Its key demands are that the government:

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  • Tells the truth about the ecological emergency; reverses inconsistent policies; works alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
  • Enacts legally-binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; reduces consumption levels.
  • Launches a national ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

Dr Gail Bradbrook opened proceedings:

Extinction Rebellion then held a “ceremony of remembrance” for those of us, and other species, who have died or will do:

Support is growing

Author and Guardian columnist George Monbiot spoke:

As did TV presenter Julia Bradbury:

Labour MP Clive Lewis was also there:

As was Green MEP Molly Scott Cato:

Greta Thunberg is a 15-year-old Swedish girl. She’s breaking the law through her “School Strike for the Climate”. This sees her seated outside the Swedish parliament refusing to go to school. Thunberg spoke before the Declaration:

Extinction Rebellion then issued the formal “Declaration of Rebellion”:

Extinction Rebellion declaration

As a mark of the civil disobedience to come, people then blocked the road outside parliament:

Extinction Rebellion doing a road block

More images of Extinction Rebellions road block

People also locked on in the road:

And as Capital London News tweeted:

Meanwhile, police were present:

But the day was just the start of Extinction Rebellion’s action. And there’s good reason for it taking this approach.

Climate and ecological chaos

As The Canary has documented, the climate and ecological breakdown we face takes many forms. From fracking to the food industryplastic pollution and Heathrow’s third runway; to the sixth mass extinction event that’s wiped out billions of animal populations in little more than a century. We’re on a collision course with disaster.

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on the climate breakdown. As the IPCC warned, we could cross the threshold into climate catastrophe as soon as 2030. And it noted that trillions of dollars in investment is needed to stop this. Meanwhile, on 30 October, the WWF said humans have wiped out 60% of other species’ populations since 1970.

It’s this chaos that Extinction Rebellion is, in part, addressing. But it goes further, believing that if left alone, governments, corporations, and charities will not do enough. So, a mass movement of people needs to mobilise in order to either make these groups take notice – or change things themselves. On 12 November, nonviolent civil disobedience will commence; leading to “Rebellion Day” on 17 November. This will be coordinated by Extinction Rebellion. Details will be released in due course.

Out of time?

As Extinction Rebellion told The Canary:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel using peaceful civil disobedience when faced with criminal inactivity by its Government. The Rebellion centres on demands for Government to tell the truth about our dire situation and to act accordingly, including to decarbonise our economy by 2025, in a mobilisation of war time like proportion. A Citizens Assembly will oversee the transition to a world which would be far more beautiful, less frenetic and with meaningful work for all.

Some people may not agree with Extinction Rebellion’s ideas. Nor may they not take its position on climate and ecological catastrophe. People may question its motives. And others may raise concerns about law-breaking. But we can all surely agree that the crisis we, as a species and planet faces, is huge. And that it’s now becoming clearer than ever that politicians and corporations do not have the answers. So, maybe it’s time to find the inner rebel inside of you. Because if we’re not careful, we may actually have no time left.

Get Involved!

– Follow Extinction Rebellion on Twitter and Facebook. Learn more on the group’s website.

Follow Netpol, policing the police.

Featured image and additional images via Extinction Rebellion

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Steve Topple