Newsletter 27: Crikey! Disobedience down under!

Mysterious symbol crops up in UK countryside

Congratulations, you made it through the hottest month ever recorded.

You know there’s something wrong when it’s 35°C (95°F) in Sweden, just north of the Arctic Circle, and there are wildfires in Siberia. Glaciers are melting so fast they are being described as ‘roaring’, and there was even a plaque to commemorate the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change. Its name was Okjökull, or ‘Ok’ for short.

Suffice it to say, Ok is not OK!

40,000 litres of oil spilled into the sea off Patagonia, and Germany’s forests might be on the verge of collapse.

Faced with Mother Earth literally crashing and burning, rebels all over the world have been risking their liberty to defend their planet and the rights of the species that live on it. 

We are collectively revolted at the violent and oppressive treatment of Amazonian indigenous communities. Brazilian police have attacked the Kinikinawa indigenous community and an estimated 20,000 gold miners have invaded the Yanomami Amazon Reserve, apparently emboldened by their President’s aggressively anti-indigenous stance. A leader of the Wajãpi tribe has been murdered.

The Peruvian government is attempting to remove protections for over 100,000 hectares of forest and indigenous land.

When met with such unimaginable and intolerable violence, it is our responsibility to stand up in solidarity with our fellow peace-seekers. 

The XR community continues to inspire with our vibrant, soulful actions and our absolute commitment to non-violence. Rebels in Australia, Israel, France, Chile, Spain, Switzerland, the US have been rising up in force this fortnight, connected across borders by a shared hope for a world worth saving.

We speak loudly and we speak clearly: STOP ECOCIDE NOW. 

Please hold for a better world…

Our movement is bright and beautiful, erupting with colour and imagination. We are pleased that artists everywhere continue to find creative ways to draw attention to the emergency. Joining the growing list of rebellious musicians, reggae artist Ziggy Marley has spoken out and The Correspondents released this catchy track in support of XR, called ‘Apocalypse’, featuring a globe-busting music video.

In the UK, rebels rejoice at the news that over half of all UK local authorities have declared a climate emergency in the last 8 months. This is a great success for local groups and rebels up and down the country who have been organising tirelessly to bring the CEE to the attention of the public.

Even the National Lottery have jumped on the bandwagon, launching a £100million climate action fund.

Extinction Rebellion is far from backing down, though. Branches all over the world are now deep in preparations to massively ramp up the pressure on governments and the media in the October Rebellion.

This international rebellion will be without borders: all rebels are invited to join forces and make this the biggest civil disobedience movement in history.

To add your action to the international map, see here.

To learn more about how you can help, and about XR’s history and values, please check out our guide.

To connect to rebels in your local area, find your nearest XR group on this map. 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 support us financially, see here to donate now.

UK rebels, sign up to Inside XR for a weekly round-up of activity from national working groups. If you fancy joining the national team, check out the Rebel University buddy scheme.

Previous newsletter issues can be found here.

Contents

Action Highlights Back to top

72 brave rebels arrested at Brisbane’s Rebellion Day

6 AUG | Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

72 rebels aged 19-73 have been arrested and charged with offences after an incredible turnout for Rebellion Day in Brisbane. More rebels were arrested but freed without charge.

The rebels of South East Queensland came together in a huge rebellion on the streets of Brisbane to demand climate justice NOW. They swarmed a street near the state parliament, chanting ‘Tear the system to the ground’, and created a vibrant festival of art and music in the city centre (more photos of the day here). Some rebels gatecrashed a press conference being held by the city mayor.

Police used heavy-handed tactics to clear the protest site, their aggression possibly stirred up by anger in the local media over the disruption. A video has emerged of a policeman rugby-tackling a young rebel to the pavement without provocation.

Rebellion Day made headlines all over the national news, forcing the climate and ecological emergency into the spotlight. Environmental protests have been gaining momentum, partly reacting against the Queensland government’s controversial approval of a massive new coal mine. 

We salute you, courageous Aussie rebels!

Chilean rebels disrupt with Constanera light show

26 JUL | Santiago, Chile

Rebels in the city of Santiago have had their first taste of disruptive civil disobedience – and they liked it! 27 protestors blocked four lanes of traffic at the foot of the tallest building in South America – the Costanera Centre. For one hour, the XR symbol was projected onto the tower above while rebels swarmed the street below. Police kept their distance, parking their vehicles at the tower’s entrance.

Santiago will be hosting the COP 25, a big UN climate change conference, in December. As hosts, the Chilean government has been keen to show leadership on sustainability. But, like so many others, it has (so far) only talked the talk.

It supports the operation of Mina Invierno, a new giant coal mine in Chilean Patagonia that produces 6 million tonnes of coal a year, has merely proposed phasing out coal power by 2045, and its much-boasted drive to promote recycled plastics saw no measures to reduce new plastic production.

XR branches are popping up all over Chile, and XR Latin will be moving in to support the protest preparations for the conference. Expect Chilean rebels to rise like water.   

Israeli rebels stay grounded at the Jerusalem Film Festival

26 JUL | Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem’s rebels are buzzing after the success of their first disruptive action: a 30-strong die-in on a plaza at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Rebels ‘died’ in a choreographed sequence, with each rebel ‘burying’ the previous one by pouring a bag of soil over them, before dying themselves (video of the action here).

Festival-goers were so drawn by the spectacle that some even joined in, but tight event security meant police did not take long to arrive. Still testing the waters of disruptive protest, and barely two months old as a branch, the Jerusalem rebels decided now was not the time for arrests.

Until recently, public awareness of the climate crisis has been virtually non-existent; the Ministry of Environment has been starved of money for decades. However, in just the last few weeks there has been a notable change.

A magazine article by XR Israel that targeted TV weather forecasters and their silence on the issue was a hit, and the Israeli media is now starting to discuss ‘climate change’.

In the last month, XR Israel’s following on Facebook passed 4500, and the number of XR branches has doubled. Rebels hope the country is finally waking up and are determined to keep that alarm clock ringing.

Tour de Force brings ring road to a crawl

28 JUL | Paris, France

There is strength in numbers, but sometimes it takes but a handful. This lively band of 12 rebels succeeded in blocking a bustling ring road in Paris.

Riding across the north and west of Paris, riders brought traffic to a standstill, resulting in drivers turning off their engines, allowing Paris to breathe, if only for a few minutes (video here).

The cyclists’ actions demonstrate the power a few organised and motivated rebels can hold over a global city. Their voices were heard over the roar of the thousands of cars that drive round Paris every day.

Local contributions Back to top

Our beautiful community continues to grow and form closer bonds to fight for our future. This fortnight, giant extinction symbols appeared in New Zealand, Colombia, USA, Switzerland, Chile and the UK.

The symbols were made from sand, projected lasers, paddle boards, flowers, rebels. The materials and locations may be different, but the message is the same: climate and ecological justice NOW. 

We are using our planet’s resources faster than they can be replaced. Earth Overshoot Day marks the day in a given year when humanity’s demand for natural resources and services exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. This year, the day fell on 29th July. Rebels in Germany and Austria put their sorrow into these stunning performance actions.

The mood was festive and bright at the ‘New Years’-style party in Berlin, until the partygoers realised there was no food and drink at the table. A sad consequence of over-exploiting our planet’s resources that rather dampened the party spirit. Their banner reads ‘We are using 3 planets’.

Austrian rebels put on a dramatic show as they squeezed the Earth like a lemon, until the blood ran down.

Elsewhere in Europe, XR Switzerland had their first arrests in Lausanne: as we all know, hell hath no fury like a bank swarmed. Madrid rebels stood up to fast fashion by holding a big die-in in their local Primark, and Belgian rebels disrupted city festival Gentse Feesten.

In New Zealand, XR Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) boldly processed along their Coal Tour and served eviction notices on four big coal industry offices.

Latin rebels continue to push forwards, literally. Argentine rebels held their first big cycle in Buenos Aires, and XR Colombia marched against the criminal inaction of their social and environmental leaders. 

Showing that one woman and her dog can take a stand, Canadian rebel Ann is walking from Calgary, AB to Ottowa, ON for the planet. With her dog.

And UK rebels were proud to join in the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March in London, under the banner of ‘Ubuntu Non-Afrikan Allies Bloc’. ‘Ubuntu’ is an Nguni Bantu word for unity that is often translated as ‘I am because we are’.

It is continually inspiring for the whole movement to see so many creative, amazing actions taking place all over the world. Please keep up your beautiful efforts to demand more from your government. We will not stop until we see real action being taken to address this climate and ecological emergency.

Click here to read more details about the actions above, and more!

If you want to see your action here, please email your story and most exciting photo to xr-newsletter@protonmail.com with ‘Story Contribution’ in the subject line.

Upcoming Back to top

Indigenous Women’s March

9 – 13 AUG |  Brasilia, Brazil

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A powerful movement in support of indigenous women’s rights is sweeping Brazil. The first ever Indigenous Women’s March will bring over 2,000 women from all over the country to Brazil’s capital. Many of these women heroically defend human rights and protect Mother Earth. On the 13th, the march will join with a rural workers’ women’s march to form a huge demonstration of 100,000 women clamouring for a new vision of sustainable development and social justice. Find out more about the event here.

Indigenous rights are being dismissed with brutal violence in Brazil, as the government and corporations unsustainably exploit the Amazonian forests and land that thousands of people call home. These forests are essential to maintaining the Earth’s natural balance. 

XR Honour the Defenders: Vigil for murdered Earth Protectors

13 Aug | 07:30-09:30 |  Parliament Square, London, UK

Last year, according to the latest report from Global Witness, we were robbed of at least 164 brave souls who were fighting to protect the planet for all of us. Indigenous peoples represent around 40% of these deaths. They die fighting to protect their land, their rights, their food, their communities, the water that brings us life, the natural world, and our planet.

Londoners, please join us on Tuesday morning to send a clear signal that we will not ignore this oppression and violence. We must take a stand. Sign up here.

Announcements Back to top

SUPPORT: The Spread of the Red Brigade – donate now

The Red Rebels caught everyone’s imagination at the April Rebellion, and now the core team behind them need your help setting up new brigades around the world.

Go to this crowdfunder page to see how your funds could help the original Bristol team distribute more costumes, create more online video tutorials, and cover expenses for key performers to go and support new troupes with workshops and training. Donate now!

2-minute XR Impact survey

A masters’ student is researching the impact of XR on its members. Please take 2 minutes to answer 10 quick questions on the impact Extinction Rebellion has had on your life and choices since becoming a part of the movement.

Heathrow shut-down action will not be XR

XR UK have decided that they will not condone or condemn an action that takes place at Heathrow, as currently designed at this time. Due to its divisiveness, the action will not go ahead as part of Extinction Rebellion UK, though it may be conducted by an independent group. Read more details in this statement.

News & Content Back to top

XR Content

How can we practise Regenerative Action?’ – video in conversation with two monastics from Plum Village, the home and practice centre of peace-activist Thich Naht Hanh.

Inspiring video of ‘Requiem for a Dead Planet’, creative action demanding media tell the truth on CEE.

If We Don’t Protect Nature We Can’t Protect Ourselves’ – Harrison Ford video.

History Corner this week goes into the history of ‘Green Scare’ tactics, used to brand activists as ‘eco-terrorists’.

News

Northern regions continue to bake with 35°C recorded in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle, a state of emergency declared in southern Siberia over wildfires with a mobilisation of shamans and the Russian military, and dramatic glacier melts continuing in Greenland.

An estimated 40,000 litres of oil have spilled into the coastal waters of Patagonia. Experts are warning that Germany’s forests might be on the verge of collapse due to a combination of drought, winter storms and bark beetles.

In human rights news, Brazilian police have attacked the Kinikinawa indigenous community and an estimated 20,000 gold miners have invaded the Yanomami Amazon Reserve apparently emboldened by president Bolsonaro’s anti-indigenous stance. A leader of the Wajãpi tribe has already been murdered.

Germany has frozen funding to the WWF following human rights abuses in Congo, March of Return demonstrators continue to be wounded and killed by Israeli sniper fire in Gaza, and the Peruvian government is attempting to remove protections for over 100,000 hectares of forest and indigenous land.

Police fired teargas in Nantes (french article translated here) after around 3,000 demonstrators defied a ban and came out onto the streets (videos here).

Finally, Jonathan Pie gives his unique take on High Speed Rail, featuring a rather special interview with Chris Packham. 

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.

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. 

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