Extinction Rebellion

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This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international social movement that aims to drive radical change, through nonviolent resistance in order to minimise species extinction and avert climate breakdown.

Citing inspiration from grassroots movements such as Occupy, Gandhi’s independence movement, the Suffragettes, Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, Extinction Rebellion intends to rally support worldwide around a common sense of urgency to tackle climate breakdown.

Quotes from members

  • This is for my nieces and nephews. So that we can work towards a greater planet for them to live on. A healthy planet, a sustainable future for my little 3-year-old niece. This is for you, Adeline
  • It seems like everyone is in an odd sense of denial about climate change. I was in a quandary about what I could do. I felt taking part was a way of putting my name down and doing something for the environment. It was an incredibly peaceful demonstration and I think we put down some kind of marker. The message is really very slow to get through to people, but it will come to us all, we will all have to deal with the impact of this climate emergency. I hope this kind of action has caught the public imagination. It is the new future.
  • I think this is the first time, certainly since the direct action protests of the 1990s that there has been a mass campaign of non-violent direct action taking place all over the UK. So it’s a very exciting moment

Quotes from police officers

  • You're standing up for something that needed to be stood up for. We all needed someone to do that. You are doing it. I totally support you.
  • It has been the nicest week of my working life.
    • Cites in Griffiths, Jay (2019). "Courting arrests". This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook. London: Penguin Books. pp. 95-98. ISBN 9780141991443. 

Quotes about extinction rebellion

  • Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So we can't save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change. And it has to start today. So everyone out there: it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.
  • It was a moment of the kind that changes lives. At a press conference held by climate activists Extinction Rebellion last week, two of us journalists pressed the organisers on whether their aims were realistic. They have called, for example, for UK carbon emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2025. Wouldn’t it be better, we asked, to pursue some intermediate aims? [...] Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out. [...] Those to whom we look for solutions trundle on as if nothing has changed. As if the accumulating evidence has no purchase on their minds. Decades of institutional failure ensures that only “unrealistic” proposals – the repurposing of economic life, with immediate effect – now have a realistic chance of stopping the planetary death spiral. And only those who stand outside the failed institutions can lead this effort. Two tasks need to be performed simultaneously: throwing ourselves at the possibility of averting collapse, as Extinction Rebellion is doing, slight though this possibility may appear; and preparing ourselves for the likely failure of these efforts, terrifying as this prospect is. Both tasks require a complete revision of our relationship with the living planet.
  • [...] Extinction Rebellion, the climate activist group that in its short existence has arguably become the most prominent and radical climate movement worldwide. The approach those activists hit upon – using nonviolent mass disruption to increase awareness of climate change and force action on the issue – has catapulted the group to worldwide recognition and leadership on the issue.
  • The generally tired and narcissistic aspect of this protest, which harkens back to the larger yet equally ineffectual Occupy movement, speaks to XR being more of a kind of performance art – a media spectacle or late-stage ritual to keep a certain cultural subset of the society in a state of placated nostalgia. The activists in this movement do not emanate any sense of genuine rebellion, many of them resembling a gang of JK Rowling enthusiasts protesting during their corporate-cubicle lunch break. They have a desire to feel like effective ‘activists’, but they will ultimately affect nothing, being generally 50 years too late.
  • The older demographic in XT – ageing 90s pseudo-hippies – seem to be enthusiastically reliving a final chance to act superior. By ignoring a changed world in which they are ever-more obsolete, a nostalgic and public ‘giving out’ can make them feel that they are still doing good and ‘fighting the man’. However, the apparent system tolerance for XR is itself a likely indicator that the group is, in fact, working for ‘the man’. Genuine rebels are almost never treated as media darlings.

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