As Extinction Rebellion celebrates its first birthday, here comes #ElectionRebellion

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  • One year ago today, Extinction Rebellion was born: “Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this nation, its peoples, our ecosystems and the future of generations to come.” Declaration of Rebellion
  • In April, they said we shouldn’t block the roads to highlight the climate and ecological emergency because of Brexit – Brexit didn’t happen. In October, they said we shouldn’t cause disruption because of Brexit – it didn’t happen again. 
  • Enter stage right: General Election 2019. Prepare for #ElectionRebellion
  • Tomorrow marks six months since Parliament declared an Environment and Climate Emergency – but as yet there is no sign of an emergency plan from Government. #WhereisYourPlan?
  • Introducing Extinction Rebellion’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

One year ago today, more than 1,000 ordinary people came together on Parliament Sq to make a ‘Declaration of Rebellion’ against the British Government for its inaction on the climate and ecological emergency. [1] 

Greta Thunberg – then a not so well known 15-year-old who was breaking Swedish law by refusing to go to school due to inaction on the climate – was in attendance, alongside Caroline Lucas MP, journalist and writer George Monbiot, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato and a select few notables. 

The road in front of Parliament was blocked – and Extinction Rebellion was born.

Much has happened in the last year for Extinction Rebellion, for Greta and Fridays For Future, and for the world. Much has not – as the Declaration of Rebellion shows, the consequences of inaction are becoming more apparent: 

“Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this nation, its peoples, our ecosystems and the future of generations to come.

“The science is clear:- we are in the sixth mass extinction event and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly. Biodiversity is being annihilated around the world. Our seas are poisoned, acidic and rising. Flooding and desertification will render vast tracts of land uninhabitable and lead to mass migration.” [2]

Yesterday, the UN’s annual climate summit COP25 was ‘cancelled’ due to civil disobedience in Chile – the world can’t afford to wait for politicians to get their act together, the planetary emergency is here and it is happening now. 

Time for #ElectionRebellion

In April, they said we shouldn’t block the roads to highlight the emergency because of Brexit – Brexit didn’t happen. In October, they said we shouldn’t cause disruption because of Brexit – it didn’t happen. Enter stage right General Election 2019. 

Two thirds of Britons say climate change is the biggest issue facing humankind and a majority (54%) say it will affect how they would vote.[3] These numbers are indicative of increasing public concern, against a backdrop where politicians and Government have failed to communicate the severity and vulnerability of our society. They have thus far failed to talk about about our rapidly destabilising climate and the mass extinction of the biodiversity we rely on for our very own survival. 

Therefore, this General Election, Extinction Rebellion and those that care about the climate and ecological emergency – from breastfeeding mums to scientists, bus drivers, doctors, electricians, farmers, vicars, rabbis and teachers etc up and down the country – will do everything they can to ensure that this very real emergency is the defining issue of this General Election. 

Expect Extinction Rebellion activists to engage in creative, powerful, funny and imaginative acts of peaceful rebellion to highlight the ultimate crisis of our time. This is an historic moment and we must ask ourselves what do we want from our Government in the light of this threat? Parliamentarians #WhereIsYourPlan? More to follow – watch this space.

Six months since Parliament declared an Environment and Climate Emergency

According to the IPCC, we have less than 18 months to make the necessary changes to our trajectory to keep our planet below 1.5C warming. [4] Furthermore, the risks we are facing here in the UK are in a similar timescale. 

This isn’t just about sea level rise or the Arctic: this is about the extreme vulnerability we face as an island which is chronically unable to feed itself – it’s about our vulnerability to the kind of weather we saw in the summer of 2018 which baked crops in the fields.

Tomorrow, Friday 1 November will mark six months since Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency. In June, Theresa May announced that the 2050 target would be strengthened to net zero, but just days ago Ministers rejected a call for this target to include aviation and shipping. [5] We’ve had a new Environment Bill just beginning its passage through Parliament, but as yet there is no sign of an emergency plan from Government.

#WhereIsYourPlan?

Following a series of Peoples’ Assemblies, on 11 October in Trafalgar Square, Extinction Rebellion presented an Emergency People’s Speech, demanding to know from Government Departments, “Where are your emergency plans?” We have had no response. We assume that is because there is no emergency plan. If the driver falls asleep at the wheel and you can’t wake them up, it’s time to take the wheel.

Failure to act commensurately would have catastrophic consequences. This election is therefore crucial as it will determine the response of our new Government. So we ask politicians – #WhereIsYourPlan? 

For better retention of water in the landscape, for growing more of our own staples, for helping people who want to get back to the land to do so, for radically reducing our obscene levels of food waste: where’s your plan for making this country safe in the face of steadily escalating climate chaos?

Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

Specifically, we will be calling on politicians, if they are elected, to pledge to introduce the Climate and Ecological Emergency Billaffectionately dubbed the ‘Three Demands Bill’ after Extinction Rebellion’s demands:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice

If enacted, these will become law. The Government will declare a climate and ecological emergency, specify a 2025 target date and will establish a Citizens’ Assembly to determine the wide-ranging policy changes needed to transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions and halt the extinction of species. Visit our citizens’ assemblies page for more information.

To find more about what’s in the Bill and why we have created one, read on after the Three Demands on our Demands page.

The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is a living document that will be continually edited and updated. You’ll always find the latest version on this page.

Notes

Email: press@risingup.org.uk

Phone: +44(0)7969083371 / +44 7979971209 / +44(0)7479234522

[1]https://rebellion.earth/declaration/https://rebellion.earth/2018/10/31/over-1000-people-block-parliament-sq-to-launch-mass-civil-disobedience-campaign-demanding-action-on-climate-emergency/

[2] https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

[3]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/30/climate-crisis-affects-how-majority-will-vote-in-uk-election-poll

[4] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48964736

[5]https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3082842/ministers-reject-ccc-demands-to-include-aviation-and-shipping-into-climate-targets 

About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, 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 their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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