Groups from across the South West are coming together on Saturday 28 October – not only to protest but also to organise. They’ll be demonstrating against the triple threat of the crises that we now face: nature, climate, and social justice. The organisers say that the only way we can address these multiple issues is to come together – and leading the charge is Extinction Rebellion (XR).
XR: uniting to survive
The XR South West-led event on 28 October is called ‘Unite to Survive’. The group will be there to demand action, and also to foster what they describe as “community resilience”.
The day will consist of various parts. A press release from the organisers said:
The protest rally will begin at 10am at the top of Cow Lane in Victoria Park (BA1 2LZ) in Bath, with stalls, workshops, speeches and performers – plus satellite actions nearby – with a march through the city centre starting at 12.30, a ‘Discobedience’ mass dance afterwards and then a Community Assembly at 2.30pm.
The list of groups involved in the day of action is huge. Joining XR South West will be:
Surfers Against Sewage, Greenpeace, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Climate Choir Movement, Friends of the Earth Bristol, Christian Climate Action, Frome Families for the Future, Parents For Future Bath/Bristol, Shift Bristol, Kidical Mass Bath, Stop Rosebank, Mogg Watch, Bath Stop War Coalition, BAAN (Bristol Airport Action Network), Sacred Earth Activism
The organisers have noted that the Labour and Green parties are also supporting the action – presumably in the form of their local groups.
The climate crisis: from Bristol to the world
XR South West and its fellow organisers’ objectives apply to the South West, but also the UK and globally. For example, in Bristol the government has given the go ahead for an expansion of Bristol airport. It will increase the site’s capacity by two million passengers a year.
The airport has said that it aims to be carbon net-zero by 2030. However, as euronews reported, this commitment excludes all of the CO² caused by flights. Moreover, the additional capacity will emit another 484,000 tones of equivalent CO² every single year. So actually, the net-zero claim is classic greenwashing.
Of course, this is in line with the government’s broader climate-wrecking policies. It’s already issued another 100 new North Sea oil and gas licenses. This includes the Rosebank field. Over its lifetime, exploration of this could produce 500m barrels of oil. This is equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the world’s 28 lowest-income countries.
Globally, it’s a similar story. As the Canary previously reported, a new study project has estimated that global emissions of CO² will rise to record levels in 2023. The CICERO climate research institute in Norway has estimated that the world is on track for a 1% rise in global emissions next year, as well.
But the climate crisis is far from the only problem that our society is facing right now. The organisers of Unite to Survive said in a press release that:
The cost of living crisis, social injustice, the climate crisis and nature emergencies are all linked. We cannot thrive – or survive – on a planet that is overheating and suffering severe species loss, and habitat destruction. We must all come together to demand clean jobs, fair pay for all and environmental protection. Together we can create change. Join us!
Overall, the groups aim to:
build unity amongst similar groups, raise continued public awareness and increase pressure on governments at all levels to listen to the public and scientists, and act now to hold a binding Citizens Assembly to create the changes we need to tackle the crises we face.
Some of the groups involved involved have commented ahead of the day of action.
Bringing climate, Nature, and social justice together
Karen Grattage from Parents for Future said:
Parents for the Future is joining Unite to Survive because as parents we feel our place is to protect our children by acting on the climate and nature crises. Research shows that if 25 per cent of people engage with the emergency, we can reach a social tipping point to help secure a safer, fairer world for children everywhere
Sara Venn from Edible Bristol said:
The reason we are keen to be involved in Unite To Survive is that Edible Bristol and community gardens are places of connection and community where we work to create resilient futures for people and to bring them together using food and growing as a mechanism for that, whilst growing in a way that challenges both climate and biodiversity crises. Bring climate and social justice together.
As the organisers summed up:
The impacts of the climate and nature crisis are likely to hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest. Let’s show we care and stand together in the name of equality and humanity.
The groups’ approach is to be commended – tackling the triple threat of nature, climate, and social justice crises is the only way we can solve any of them. Moreover, strengthening unity between groups is also important – so, the day looks set to be a promising start to XR’s Unite to Survive organising.
Featured image via XR
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