Newsletter 23: Radiohead joins the Rebellion

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Welcome to our 23rd newsletter!

Yes, you read that subject right. Faced with a ransom from hackers, the legendary rock band instead opted for rebellion, releasing 18 hours of unheard material in an album online and donating the proceeds to Extinction Rebellion. (!)

Needless to say we’re very grateful. No industry, sphere or genre is exempt from the threat of extinction. With this generous gesture, Radiohead have made clear that artists have as much a role to play as anyone.

Radiohead releases ‘MINIDISKS [HACKED]’: ‘my archived mini discs from 1995-1998(?)…if you want it, you can buy the whole lot here/18 minidisks for £18/the proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion’

Artistic or not, it’s a good time to be joining XR: Theresa May has just committed the UK to carbon neutrality by 2050. She may as well have painted ‘Protest Works’ on the face of Big Ben, but doing so wouldn’t have made the point any better than this YouGov poll. Other indicators of a turning tide come in all shapes and sizes: from the Portugese government to Auckland to Finland; from the University of East Anglia to architects to their students and back to their politicians (see XR Politics, below). Well done to us and our allies.

It’s a doubly good time to be joining XR because, even as the news is better than ever, the news is also worse than ever. Feedback loops are running faster than feared, India faces a serious drought, and police forces are making repressive noises from England to Australia to Austria (see Latest News, below). Civilisation itself is not only at stake, but at serious, near-term risk. In a context like this, Theresa May’s target for carbon neutrality is a positive but utterly inadequate step.

Fortunately, with civil disobedience proving so clearly effective, the solution is clear: more civil disobedience. And we’ve got plenty of that in the proverbial pipeline.

A Portrait of the Rebellion by Joanne Ford.

Rebels from across Europe and beyond convened last week in Lollar, conferring at length to harmonise structures and plans for Autumn’s Rebellion. We don’t publish rumours here, but the rumours we have heard are exciting…

And speaking of publication, another project looking to scale the rebellion is the launch of This is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook. With enough arguments and advice to turn the most obstinate optimists into hardline activists, we hope this rare exception to our rule of not selling things will be warranted by a fresh-faced, bookish tide of new rebels.

From books to books of letters. Rebels after something shorter to read will no doubt be pleased and quite possibly moved by a booklet of Love Letters for Rebels and Arrestees. And speaking of letters, many of those same arrestees have recently received communications from the police which, while not exactly ‘love letters’, are inviting the recipients to optional interviews – if that’s you, please read this message from XR Legal.

Our wonderful legal and regen teams aren’t the only ones taking care of rebels. A new initiative for Rebel Housing is hoping to provide accommodation across the UK, freeing up conscientious protectors to do more protection and less worrying about rent. In a similar vein, the newly-established and already-excelling logistics/spaces group have announced a decision for a new London space, replacing the previous office which national working groups vacated last week.

All of which builds to a picture of extensive and diligent preparation for the Autumn Rebellion. But, like the ecological emergency itself, it’s not all future tense.

Photo by Esme J

In the past few days, conscientious protectors have been all over BP like a slick, oily coat. On Monday night, ‘BP or not BP’ mounted an artistic blockade at the ‘BP Portrait Award’, to greatly disruptive success. At the same time, Greenpeace, following up on a blockade of their own a few weeks before, were sending a second pair of dauntless activists to board (and thereby detain) an oilrig off the Scottish coast. The following night, XR got involved, protesting a BP-sponsored screening at the Royal Opera House, having laid down our nonviolent gauntlet in the national press. Our collective pressure has been joined by artists including the Portrait Award’s own judge (who says XR “woke me up”).

Moving to another corporation, XR’s BBC Tell The Truth Campaign can celebrate a substantial step forward, with the news that they’re due to meet senior staff for a discussion of climate and ecological coverage. Not that this team is resting on its laurels, coming from an action at The Guardian last week (see Local Contributions) and with an action planned for July calling for newspapers to tell the truth on climate, and which they hope will be taken up by XR UK’s redoubtable regional network, as was done to great effect in December.

Photo by The Lightscaper

Last but not least, XR itself has not only made the news but been the news, with speculation and debate taking off over a proposal to create a pause at Heathrow Airport using drones. Headlines have predictably exaggerated the response, but there’s no question the proposal has provoked serious debate in the XR UK community – concerning not just the proposal itself, but the process by which such ideas either are or are not taken forwards.

New and evolving as we are, it’s no surprise the XR organism is collectively contemplating questions like these. Given the scale of this structure (we’re about to reach our 100,000th UK member!), and the platforms involved, it can’t always be easy to tell – but rest assured we are listening to feedback across all of our channels. We’ll be giving an update tomorrow about the proposal – you’ll find this on our website.

Whatever the future may hold, it’s clear that we must face it together. With heartwarming actions from XR Scotland and Germany, vivacious vibes from XR Bristol, and the familiar, overwhelming litany of local and global actions this week, and more future plans than you could shake an egg-timer at, there’s surely never been a better time to be a rebel.

We hope we do Radiohead proud.

Photo by Ruth Davey

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

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! Stay up to date with local upcoming events here, or start your own event by filling in our talks and trainings form!

If you can’t spare time, but can donate money instead, please see our fundraiser page.

If you’d like to help us organise on a national level, we could use your skills in all sorts of areas from writing to tech to ideas to logistics. To join the effort enroll in ‘XR University’, a buddy scheme for integrating new rebels into the ranks (though please note this scheme for now only serves the UK).

If you’re new, or haven’t fully got to grips with everything XR, have a read of this to get to know our history and the principles and values that guide our work.

For previous newsletter issues, see here.

On with the show!

Contents

Recent Activity Back to top

XR Scotland, XR Germany – The Key Ingredient

In a beautiful, almost fairytale-like prelude to the upcoming Holyrood Rebel Camp action (see Upcoming Activity), last week five Scottish rebels met with five representatives of the country’s five main political parties.

When we say ‘met with’ we actually mean ‘were unlocked by’. Because these rebels were locked by the neck to railings outside of Holyrood, and these representatives had each been sent a key to unlock them in the mail.

Each key was tagged with a demand tailored to the particular party it was sent to – for example, the Labour key was tagged ‘Just Transition for Workers’ – and the rebel that the key unlocked wore the same demand as a sign around their neck. The keys were paired with a letter explaining that these were the keys to our future, and would soon need to be used.

The letters had been delivered by hand to Holyrood the evening before, and although security checks in the parliamentary mail system nearly delayed matters, the curiosity of Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie, combined with some competitiveness among the remaining parties to look serious on the climate, resulted in all the rebels being freed within a couple of hours. Each unlocking became something of a media event, with each heavyweight MSP key-bearer debating with their assigned rebel for a good ten minutes as journalists swarmed around them. The final rebel to be freed was done so by SNP Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, and she was quoted as saying that a citizens’ assembly was “absolutely on the cards”. While this is likely a reference to a long-proposed citizens’ assembly on ‘Scotland’s Future,’ aka independence, it certainly legitimises the use of one to solve the climate crisis and inches Scotland closer to our third demand.

You can get more details on the action here, and see photos here.

The organisers of the action in Edinburgh gave warm thanks to the members of XR Youth in Germany who first came up with the simple lock and key idea, mailing keys to local councillors in Leipzig. And even as we wrote this section, news came in that a similar action was taking place in Berlin; see here for a full stream of the day.

Will Germany’s top export shift from beautifully designed cars to beautifully designed XR actions? We certainly hope so!

XR Bristol, XR London – XR52: Disrupt the Circus of Excess!

On June 1st rebels descended on the consumer heart of Bristol to protest fast fashion and call on shoppers to sign a pledge to not buy new clothing for one year. The day was part of XR52, a series of direct actions designed to withdraw our support from industries that exploit people and planet for profit.

Traffic was brought to a stand-still by three swarming sites, which ran throughout the afternoon. There was a die-in inside Primark and another in Cabot Circus mall, joined by upwards of one hundred rebels. This was followed by protests in the window displays of Zara and Urban Outfitters by twelve university students, who told the naked truth about fast fashion by posing semi-clad with calls to action and facts written on their skin.

The star of the show was a sustainable catwalk, which was rolled out in the centre of the busy shopping district and featured up-cycled and ethical clothing worn by diverse models. This was accompanied by a ‘solutions zone’, which showcased green alternatives to fast fashion including repair workshops, clothes swaps, block printing, screen printing and weaving.

Bristol rebel Lauren Hoskin said: “For too long the textile industry’s appalling record has gone ignored. It has a carbon footprint greater than that of international flights and maritime shipping combined. It is exploitative of millions of workers across the globe and causes extensive biodiversity loss. Yet being ‘dressed to kill’ doesn’t have to be literal. Today we showed that there are sustainable alternatives that make withdrawing support from the fast fashion industry feasible for anyone.”

The action ended with a street dance, where members of the public joined rebels in celebrating a joyful and successful day.

You can sign the pledge here, see photos here, and read the Independent’s coverage here.

Not long after Bristol’s die-in and catwalk, rebels in London were bringing both together with a die-in at a catwalk in the Royal College of Art Fashion. Trend-spotters take note: the new look for summer is calling out systematic injustices in blood-soaked industries!

Garden Bridge Trees: The Story Continues

As the International Rebellion came to a close, trees and plants which played such a transformative role on the ‘Garden Bridge’ (also and formerly known as Waterloo Bridge) were offered by XR to local community gardens and schools across London. They have found themselves welcome new homes: check out what the XR trees have been up to post-Rebellion, and where they are putting down roots.

XR Local contributions

Decentralisation is a key element of XR’s ethos. So while high-profile actions will often take place in the big cities, we’re eager to celebrate all the amazing actions across the country and the world every week. If you’re involved in your local XR scene, in whatever part of the world, and if you’ve got a story to share, please email xr-newsletter@protonmail.com with ‘Story Contribution’ in the subject line. For major bonus points, write the story as you’d like it to appear in the newsletter!

XR Lancaster

XR Lancashire staged a critical mass cycle and walk around Lancaster on 31st May, which will recur on the last Friday of each month. Amidst a sea of hi-vis tops and colourful banners, rebels celebrated sustainable methods of getting around. Car horns were joined by whistles and bells to ensure everyone in town heard the action. Passers-by loved the spectacle, and flyers were distributed to the crowd, explaining the action and the climate emergency we face.

You can find us on Facebook at ‘Extinction Rebellion Lancashire‘ and ‘Morecambe Bay Extinction Rebels‘.

XR Hastings and St Leonards

Photo by Shendao Silent Films.

XR Hastings and St Leonards timed their first local action to focus attention on the importance of Voting Earth at the European elections in May. The group, which first met just 10 days before their inaugural action, staged a series of three ‘die-ins’ at iconic locations across the town. Over 150 people participated and local media covered the family-friendly event which concluded with a picnic on Hastings Pier. Further actions to spread the message are in the pipeline. Watch our website for news.

‘We asked police to protect us. Refused!’

3 June | New Scotland Yard, Home Office, London UK

XR rebels in London have been fighting for their right to protest peacefully. They took their message to New Scotland Yard and the Home Office, who recently pledged to crack down on environmental protesters and be tougher with arrestees. The rebels had previously tried to communicate to the authorities via the proper channels, but their requests fell on deaf ears.

What kind of society punishes its citizens for peaceful, reasonable protest?

XR Guardian Debate Mini-NVDA

6 June | The Guardian, London

Rebels from the BBC Tell the Truth team took to a panel event at The Guardian called ‘Extinction Rebellion and the future of protest’ for their mini-NVDA. Instead of directing a question to the panel, one rebel addressed the audience. He asked people to stand up if they thought it unethical of The Guardian to run high-carbon adverts. When 70% of the room rose to their feet, it was a powerful moment.

XR Politics

The big news in the XR Politics stable this week was that representatives from XR Camden, a local London group, held a meeting with Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, and general Labour Party bigwig.

The three rebels set out their demands and discussion points for Keir in an open letter (published in full here). They included setting up a climate emergency ministry, legislation to make sure future buildings were carbon neutral, and a major spending review to ensure local authorities had the funds to make boroughs greener.

Keir was extremely amenable to our movement, supporting climate emergency actions and opposing fracking, HS2 and Heathrow 3. He promised to talk to the Camden Council leader and iron out problems with the local Citizens’ Assembly they are setting up there; as well as agreeing to continue discussions with XR to explore future collaborations. He also promised a more robust response to international commitments.

Our Keir then polished off a fine weekend by putting in a sterling performance on ‘Any Questions’, BBC Radio 4’s political panel show which can be listened to here.

Moving beyond the UK, Finland made some great strides towards matching XR’s second demand last week. After years of austerity and inaction on the environment, the country’s new coalition government has pledged to make the nation carbon neutral by 2035, increasing public spending by €1.1bn per year and spending another €3bn on one-off investments like rail infrastructure to achieve it. The green programme will see the country radically reduce its fossil fuels and peat consumption, and slash investments in its logging industry. Fossil fuel levies and the selling of state assets will pay for it.

Sadly, such a bold economic programme in the UK seems an ever more remote prospect. While Finland was getting serious about the climate emergency, the chancellor Philip Hammond was writing a doom-laden letter to the prime minister about the UK going net zero by 2050, warning it would cost £1tn, damage industry, and require widespread cuts in public spending.

His small-minded, fiscal cowardice was swiftly condemned by XR, as one might expect, but interestingly his claims were also rebuked by Downing Street, with the recent Committee on Climate Change report cited as evidence that costs to meet the target would fall within existing spending plans. But with even modest aims eliciting major resistance, it looks like Her Majesty’s Government remains a long way short of policies consistent with the continuation of civilisation.

One hope of shattering such complacency in the UK government is through the policies of the official opposition party. The Labour Party conference, where policy of all sorts is up for consultation among its members, will be happening in September. And if you are a Labour Party member, supporter, or a trade unionist, there has never been a better time to join ‘Labour for a Green New Deal’, a grassroots campaign group pushing to get a Green New Deal (GND) passed at conference. While very welcome, the GND targets are too conservative by XR standards, and Labour-affiliated rebels are encouraged to join the group and advocate for much more, much sooner. You can sign up and find out more here.

Finally, last week saw the rather unedifying sight of the UK establishment rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump. It is fair to say that XR was unsure how to handle his visit. On the one hand, it is the system that is the problem, not the individual, so a protest built around the condemnation of one man is not in keeping with a core tenet of the rebel values. On the other hand, this man is the most high-profile climate denier in the world; he is the figurehead of an administration that has torn up environmental protections and even removed information about ‘climate change’ from government websites; and his deleterious impact on the less powerful members of society, both in the US and around the world, must be recognised.

Ultimately, an invitation to join the representatives of the Youth Climate Strike was accepted, and a modest number of XR flags fluttered among the long column of protestors as they marched from Trafalgar Square to the Horse Guard Parade to hear speeches from, among others, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Green MP Caroline Lucas, both of whom referenced the climate emergency. However complex the politics, the facts are simple: it always comes back to this.

Upcoming Activity Back to top

HOLYROOD REBEL CAMP

16 – 20 JUNE | Outside Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Next week Scotland is taking amendments to its climate bill. This is a historic opportunity to demand the government legislate for a climate citizens’ assembly and pledge net zero by 2025.

On Sunday we will be assembling outside the Scottish parliament to build Holyrood Rebel Camp, a five-day protest extravaganza that will feature actions, workshops and even a nightly cèilidh dance throughout the camp!

Scotland needs you! Please join us from the 16th to the 20th June to demand change. Check out the Holyrood Rebel Camp Facebook event for more details and if you’re planning on making the trip up to Edinburgh please fill out this form.

‘Requiem for a Dead Planet’: Newspapers, Tell the Truth!

18 June | Northcliffe House, Kensington, London

Photo by Francesca Harris

XR’s Tell The Truth group will be staging a peaceful protest outside Northcliffe House (HQ of many newspapers, including Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Metro, London Lite) to ask the media to declare a climate emergency and join in the effort to save the planet. Working against the media is exhausting and ineffective – we need them to be on board and fighting with us.

The plan is for this action to be as powerful and dramatic as possible, thereby stressing the urgent need for the media to tell the truth. There will be model skeletons of extinct animals present, requiem music will play, and stories will be read out about people who are already losing their lives in the climate crisis. The event will culminate in a big die-in.

We need as many people as possible to attend this action. The TTT group also asks rebels all over the UK (and beyond!) to stage similar protests outside their local newspaper offices, so we can really get the message across to the media.

Without the media and their mass messaging reach on our side, there is a real worry that we might run out of time. Let’s fight to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Dinner of HOPE at the Natural History Museum

20 June | from 4.45pm | Natural History Museum, London

XR Families are putting on their own Dinner of Hope to protest the annual dinner of the Petroleum Group of the Geological Society, which is hosted by the Natural History Museum. The irony that this cosy industry dinner, celebrating fossil fuels exploration, takes place surrounded by extinct species seems lost on this iconic public institution.

Many hands would be appreciated, as there are a few stages of the action to help with. Culinary skills are mega in demand to help create an epic banquet spread for rebels and members of the public to enjoy. There will be general swarming and disruption to the arriving guests of the Petroleum Group dinner, so we can show these agents of extinction that they are not welcome in our cherished institutions.

Find more details of this awesome family-oriented event here or on the Facebook event.

Sur le Pont, Rébellion !

28 June | Paris

Since April we’ve been looking to build bridges – but we’re still good at occupying them. For proof of this, look no further than Paris!

Act Now Back to top

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire is about to decide whether to approve an opencast coal mine in Druridge Bay, Northumberland.

If it goes ahead, millions of tonnes of coal would be extracted and burned. This would be a disaster for the climate and the local community.

Sign this Friends of the Earth petition to oppose this move.

International Highlights Back to top

XR Berlin: Chained to the Chancellery

11 June | Berlin

Rebels in Berlin have chained themselves to the Chancellery fence in a bid to attract Angela Merkel’s attention and persuade the government to declare a climate emergency. In a twist on the standard ‘lock-in’ action, they have mailed the keys to release them to 13 government ministries, accompanied by a letter detailing their specific demands.

XR Netherlands

11 June | The Hague

Rebels in the Netherlands have been seeking to transmit their message of emergency to Dutch politicians. Having tried letters and polite words in May, and seeing little change they came back on Tuesday with banners and chants, disrupting the chamber after a motion on biodiversity was opposed.

XR Italy

1 June | Rome

Rebels took to the streets in a critical mass of bicycles.

XR Moldova

1 June | Chisinau

XR Canada

1 June | Peterborough

A Dance of Life and Death in Ontario saw over 75 people march downtown raising awareness on the climate crisis. The protest included street theatre, animal masks, and music raising the spirit to stop ecological collapse and species extinction.

XR Mexico

2 June | Zocalo, Mexico City

XR Mexico held a dramatic die-in around the flagpole in the central square outside the National Palace in Mexico City. At the action, speeches were heard from XR, Fridays for Futures, and other partners, and rebels held fun, family-friendly activities like face painting and up-cycling workshops to engage the public.

XR Argentina

4 June | National Museum of Fine Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina

XR Argentina made their non-violent direct action debut this week, staging a die-in at an iconic Argentine cultural institution, the National Museum of Fine Art in Buenos Aires. During the hour-long die-in, they announced XR’s 3 demands and called for their government to act now in the face of the current ecological and climate emergency.

Held on the eve of World Environment Day, this action marks the beginning of a series of rebellious actions for XR Argentina that will demand an answer from the government.

Here’s the link to download a video of the action.

XR Switzerland

6 June | Bern

Rebels from all over Switzerland gathered in Bern at Swiss Parliament’s opening summer session. Walking from the Bundesplatz to mourn the beings who are already dying from the consequences of pollution, the destruction of natural habitats, intensive hunting and fishing, agricultural production methods and climate change, the protesters stopped in front of Parliament and spilled ‘blood.’ Together, rebels lay down in the public space and staged a die-in in homage to the victims of past and present ecocides.

XR Colombia

8 June | Medellin

XR Colombia marched with the Carnival March this past Saturday to protest fracking and mining in the region. Check out this video from the event.

XR Youth US

Last week, XR Youth US held protests at City Hall in San Francisco and Times Square in NYC. Find out more on their website or check out their Instagram.

Announcements Back to top

Important update for XR Arrestees

If you are an XR Arrestee and you have received a letter from the police offering you an interview please read this message from the legal team.

‘This Is Not A Drill: The Extinction Rebellion Handbook’ is released on Penguin Random House

This Thursday, Extinction Rebellion will publish its very own book ‘This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook’ with Penguin Books! This jam-packed handbook is intended to be a practical guide to a new, flourishing movement: our tactics, our politics, the things we have done and the things we hope to do.

The book – featuring beautiful designs from our very own Clive and Charlie – includes contributions from Extinction Rebellion activists, and people on the front lines of the climate crisis all across the world. Academic and activist Vandana Shiva has written the foreword and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written the afterword. Other contributors include: Kate Raworth, Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Lewis MP, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Farhana Yamin, and President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives.

The book was rushed out for early release following our huge success during the International Rebellion in April. You might be wondering why an environmental group would mass produce a printed book; well, we believe it’s essential to get our message out as far and wide as possible for maximum impact. This will also be the first release for Penguin Press on fully recycled, carbon-neutral paper that plants two trees for every one it uses.

XR Love Letters online booklet

Inspired by an action at Oxford Circus where members of the public wrote letters of gratitude to those locked-on to the pink party boat, we decided to ask people online to write letters of gratitude for rebels and arrestees.

Over 200 ‘love-letters’ came in and we have selected 20 amazing examples that have been designed up into this beautiful online booklet so they can be shared and read.

XR Educators

XR Educators are planning to launch a series of actions in schools, colleges and universities aimed firstly at demanding that a climate and ecological emergency is announced by the relevant institution and then asking: what should education look like in such an emergency? We are calling this the Learning Rebellion and the method will follow the principles of XR as ‘Non-Violent Direct Education’.

The socio-economic system we live in is inherently violent towards humans and the natural world: destructive consumerism and profiteering are killing us all and our planet. Mainstream education, increasingly marketised, is a function of this system. Through participating in the Learning Rebellion, students and educators will develop resources and strategies to challenge the violence of the existing order and imagine alternative approaches to education. We also hope to empower students with a sense of agency through participation in a disciplined and crucially non-violent challenge to the system that will determine their future. A couple of examples would be engagement in an alternative curriculum (openly refusing to follow the existing model), and coordinated walk-outs from lessons.

Actions will build up to a second protest at the Department for Education, probably at the end of the summer holidays, and then larger-scale coordinated actions within institutions through September and during Autumn’s Rebellion.

For more information, check out this document. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please contact xreducators@gmail.com

Request: XR Conflict Resilience

We have a growing team of skilled communicators who engage with conflicts as they arise. While our Conflict Resilience System is young and there’s still much room for improvement, it is a significant step towards a regenerative culture and creating the resilient communities we will need to face the challenges ahead.

But we need MANY more people to contribute their own skills and experiences to our restorative system and we are looking for people who can say yes to ALL 3 of the following.

  • You are involved or interested in getting involved with supporting local, regional, or national groups.
  • You are committed to finding non-punitive, restorative and regenerative ways to engage with conflict as a community.
  • You have some interest, energy and capacity to help us figure out how to make that happen.

If you can, then we need you! Please sign up here with your skills and time availability. We can then talk about how you can get involved.

For more information on the current Conflict Resilience Process see here. If you want more background and resources on restorative systems see here. Please contact conflict@rebellion.earth if you have any questions.

XR Communities: Come on board!

Take this opportunity and submit the attached form to make us aware of your Community Group or if you wish to create one.

XR CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides guidance on how to establish autonomous Community Groups, fostering local and nationwide connections with other Communities that self-identify in the same way, cross-connections (e.g. interfaith conversations) where desired, and supporting the creation of resources for talks and training appropriate to your communities’ needs and situation.

Community Groups self-identify themselves by common factors such as religion/faith, profession/skills, and social factors such as heritage, ethnicity and interest. For example: XR Muslims, Health workers for XR, XR Families, XR Online Disability Group, XR LGBTQI+ and XR Sisterhood, just to name a few!

Submit your form and we will get in touch with you. For further questions contact us via xr.cc.support@protonmail.com.

Request: XR Legal Support Feedback Form

If you have used any materials from XR Legal Support, we would love to hear from you. It would be brilliant if you could take 5 minutes to fill out this form. We will use your feedback to improve the quality of support we can offer our fellow rebels.

XR Edinburgh Festival art exhibition opportunity

Sleeping Rainforest, Howling Monkey. Credit: Sarah Gittins.

How can art challenge society’s culture of denial? What role should art play in the Extinction Rebellion movement? How can art envision and enact a response to the climate and ecological emergency?

If you’re interested in these sorts of questions, you might want to check this out. It’s a call for XR creatives to curate a programme at the Summerhall venue during Edinburgh Festival. Experimental, radical and poetic proposals in any medium are invited on how to engage people with XR’s 3 demands. Contact xredinburghmakers@gmail.com for questions. Deadline is Sunday 16th June, 11pm.

Download: New XR flyer on Citizens’ Assemblies

We have a beautiful new flyer for you to download, which explains what a Citizens’ Assembly is and why we all need to campaign for one.

Please feel free to download, share, print and distribute – pollinate minds far and wide! For big bonus points, choose an eco-responsible printer, such as AngliaPrint.

Art for the Rebellion

Photo Sean Smith, The Guardian

Eye-catching, colourful art has been a vital part of XR’s successes and making them BEAUTIFUL. With the next big Rebellion on the horizon, now is the time to get creative and start making all sorts of banners, flags, patches, and costumes. We have a good few months before Autumn actions kick off, so let’s get cracking – put on some good music and get crafty! Read this message from the Arts team if you want to join forces with the arty rebels.

Call for translators of all languages!

Calling all multilingual rebels! We are keen to make sure XR materials are inclusive and available in as many languages as possible, so we can reach more people with the XR message. If you would like to contribute your language skills to this awesome project, please complete this form and we’ll be in touch.

If your local group has already translated XR materials into other languages, please get in touch with Bente at bente@ecoconsciousconsulting.com.

Christian Climate Action UK events

Christian Climate Action are a UK-based group that see XR’s goals as in line with their religious beliefs. Their planned training days and retreats for this summer are booking up fast, see here for more details.

Inside XR UK – Internal newsletter        

XR has blossomed into a wonderful, complex and sprawling network of rebels, working groups and subgroups, so it can be hard to keep up with everything that’s going on.

Sign up to the internal newsletter for a weekly round-up of activity from the national working groups.

With all the amazing work going on, this is a chance for the UK team to touch base, get alongside each other, and make sure we’re moving forward together.

News & Recommended Content Back to top

Arctic Is Thawing So Fast Scientists Are Losing Their Measuring Tools

Dahr Jamail’s latest climate change bulletin and news roundup, taking inspiration from Joanna Macy’s ‘work that reconnects’. She says: ‘Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer, that makes us stupid, and half alive’. Even Vice magazine is starting to publish articles looking honestly at this ‘climate grief’ and the remedies to be found in activism.

Study reveals a fragile web of knowledge linking plants to people

Important research (unfortunately couched in terms of ‘ecosystem services’) looking at the depth of knowledge contained within oral indigenous traditions, specifically on the uses of palm species. ‘The indigenous elders that I met were just as knowledgeable as university professors […] Their knowledge transcends single disciplines, covering not only the names and uses of plants and animals, but also ecological interactions or long-term changes in ecosystems, river dynamics in areas spanning thousands of square kilometers.’

Bottlenose dolphin numbers declined by ‘12%’ following marine heatwave

More research on the effects of marine heatwaves. They hypothesise that the ongoing population reduction since the 2011 event was due to a ‘catastrophic reduction in seagrass coverage, which shows little sign of recovery’. They give a warning which also applies to our own species: ‘the ecological consequences of extreme weather events may be too sudden or disruptive for even highly adaptable animals to respond’.

India heatwave temperatures pass 50 degrees Celsius

‘All of Rajasthan suffered in severe heat with several cities hitting maximum temperatures above 47 degrees Celsius.[…] More than 40 per cent of India faces drought this year […] “There is no drinking water available for days on end and we get one tanker every three days for the entire village […] We are scared for our lives and livelihood,” ‘. No mention of climate change in the article.

(‘A general view of a lake running dry on a hot summer day near Ajmer, a city in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, Jun 2, 2019’)

Austrian police probed over climate protest arrest violence

Videos from the climate rally in Vienna (viewable here and here – warning: disturbing content) ‘show a police [officer] hitting a protester who had been pinned to the ground, and a police van almost running over the head of another man while he was being restrained by officers’. One officer subsequently ‘removed from street patrols’; Vienna prosecutors’ office investigating four officers for ‘a range of alleged offences including “grievous bodily harm.”’

(image source)

University of East Anglia declares a climate and biodiversity emergency

‘Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Science Engagement, Ben Garrod, said: “Global climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet today. If we are to have any chance of success in tackling the problem and reducing its effects then we need to act swiftly, decisively and collaboratively.’ Unfortunately XR UEA’s request for a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2025 was considered to be ‘unattainable’.

UK government accused of ‘fiddling’ climate change targets

Paywall FT article summarised by Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans in this twitter thread: ‘The government has effectively weakened UK climate goals by using “flexibilities” under the Climate Change Act. This goes against the “unequivocal advice” of official adviser, the Committee on Climate Change’.

Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

Far-reaching critique of how the environmental movement has been co-opted in a way that serves global capitalism and exports suffering to the working class and nonhumans both locally and around the world. In related news, it seems the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) see ‘dynamic opportunities’ and possibilities for ‘comparative advantage in one of the world’s fastest growing markets’ in their vision for ‘decarbonising’ the UK economy. Unfortunately ‘there will be transition impacts affecting those sectors that no longer gain market share in a low-carbon resource-efficient economy.’ Further evidence that growth-dependent capitalism is not compatible with a living planet, nor apparently use of language that doesn’t make you sound totally deranged.

Five ridiculous reasons why the police label campaigners as ‘domestic extremists’

Netpol (Network for Police Monitoring) have launched a campaign to end the toxic intelligence tactic of labeling environmental campaigners as ‘domestic extremists’. Some cautionary words: ‘there seems little doubt that the new Extinction Rebellion movement is now of intense interest to the national and regional counter-terrorism units. […] The number of arrests, the public criticism of the police’s response, and demands by the home secretary for officers to use the “full force of the law” inevitably means senior public order commanders are now seeking more intelligence on Extinction Rebellion so they can plan for the ‘threat’ of future protests.’

Young and less young people tell of their first experiences with environmental activism and XR

‘[A]s our generation has the most to lose to climate and ecological collapse, and we will inherit whatever the ‘adults’ decide to do now, we need a large stake in current decision making.’ And: ‘I would not have done this when I was younger. I deferred to authority too much. But it’s easy for me now: I have nothing to lose.

And bad news for battery-powered electric vehicles – the planet just don’t have enough cobalt for the job!

Painting by Julie Nahon, 2019

‘Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon’

– Radiohead

Thank you

Thank you for reading. There’s so much exciting stuff going on that we barely have time to write this sign-off. Keep up the good work! If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

This newsletter was written collaboratively by a hivemind of 12 rebels.

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. Please visit our Fundrazr page.

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