Newsletter 26: Take an ice-cold sip of Rebellion
July 25, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
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Welcome to our 26th newsletter!
A recent study found that Europe’s five hottest summers since 1500 have all been in the 21st century. The severe consequences of this increasingly obvious change in the climate have been further illustrated by a study suggesting a ‘substantial extinction risk’ for deer, sparrows and magpies.
Yamile Guerra is not the first courageous human being to stand up for the environment in the face of a potentially murderous response, and she won’t be the last.
It was with deep respect and gratitude for such bravery that XR UK launched its ‘Summer Uprising’, causing major disruption in five cities with the help of five brightly-painted boats. Each vessel was named after a conscientious protector who faced death or violence in the course of their struggle. You can read more about the Uprising’s colourful, heartwarming successes here.
Across the Atlantic, 100 rebels from XR Quebec shut down the road outside the prime minister’s office, of which 26 were peacefully arrested. Yesterday, XR Canada’s colleagues across the border went one step further, with 17 members of XR Washington making it inside a government building to block members of Congress attending a vote, seeking to direct their representatives’ attention towards a motion of climate emergency.
We’ve also seen a magnificent art-action in XR India, some delicious disruption from XR Belgium, a funeral march in Chile, riveting scenes in Munich, and a whole lot more which you can read about here.
Last but not least: two major developments in UK politics. The first is the (beautifully impeded) rise of Boris Johnson to the role of Prime Minister. The second is a decision from XR UK’s strategy process to conclusively call off a drone-based shutdown of Heathrow, and acknowledging a consultation process that had ‘left many feeling unheard’.
Wherever you are in the world, we hope that the words below will help you to feel heard: as part of a local group, a national branch, and as part of a movement which has already done so much to communicate its dire, urgent message to the rest of society.
And speaking of hearing, we’d like to extend our warm thanks to Greta Thunberg and The 1975 for the joint release of a track whose proceeds have been pledged to Extinction Rebellion. As we build towards a multi-movement, international wave of rebellion this Autumn, we hope we’ll be able to reciprocate and replicate such deep generosity, and such truthful words.
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.
Previous newsletter issues can be found here.
UK Summer Uprising
15 – 19 JUL | Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, London
In their first multi-city coordinated rebellion, five cities in the UK demanded the government ACT NOW in the face of the climate crisis.
Rebels rallied around five brightly painted boats, each bearing the name of an activist who has fought to protect our planet, some of whom have even lost their lives in the pursuit of justice. UK rebels are grateful for the protection our country affords protestors, and we sailed into this Rebellion remembering the names of activists from around the world where the risk is far greater. The recent, brazen murder of environmental lawyer Yamile Guerra is a sad reminder of this ongoing reality.
With such sacrifices in mind, British rebels came together to disrupt the status quo with non-violent direct action, to reach out to the community, and to pool knowledge and train for the challenges ahead. The week’s activity was grounded in XR’s now customary love and respect for all involved.
Read this special issue of the newsletter which celebrates the week of joyful actions and solemn rebellion in the UK that was the Summer Uprising.
XR India – ‘Go Green Or Perish’ Art Installation
13 JUL | Select City Walk Mall, Saket, New Delhi
Indian rebels partnered with artists and other activist groups to construct a stunning art installation in a busy shopping centre in India’s capital.
The installation combined sculpture, dance, and performance art to depict the mass exodus of nature from a dying world. The ravaged landscape of tree stumps and mannequin corpses was constructed over the course of a day by a team of volunteers, and unveiled to a large crowd of evening shoppers.
The event brought together activists, spiritual leaders, and local officials in support of rebel demands to both the Delhi and Indian national governments to stop environmental destruction, tell the truth, and declare a climate emergency.
This large-scale event marks an important step for XR India as it translates online interest into actions on the ground. Earlier this month, the group caused a stir by hosting a Facebook live event with Mayank Gandhi, a major environmental campaigner in India and well-known political figure.
In a region where mass civil disobedience has strong roots but can also trigger a volatile reaction from the state police, India’s rebels are treading carefully. But they are growing in number and determination by the day.
‘The Planet Cannot Wait’ – Montreal Roadblock
13 JUL | Montreal, Quebec
About a hundred stoic rebels from XR Quebec held an impressive five-hour roadblock outside the Prime Minister’s office in Montreal. After a family-friendly, sweltering sit-in, protesters were ordered by the police to clear the area. 26 rebels refused to move and all were arrested.
The protest began in Mount Royal Park at the George-Étienne Cartier Monument. Liberty graces the top of the statue, while around the edges are scenes symbolising legislation. A poignant place to start, then, for a movement so urgently demanding radical, life-saving change from our lawmakers. Such change is all the more essential in at a moment when the state of Quebec is exploring fossil fuel extraction projects.
The rebels marched down Park Avenue towards McGill University, and sat down in the road outside the Montreal Premier François Legault’s offices. There, they linked arms, chanted, and refused to clear the road. At about 5pm arrests began.
Let’s hope the PM took note of these brave Quebecois rebels and heard their call to take action in this climate and ecological emergency. We know we did!
US Rebels in the Capitol!
23 JUL | Washington DC, USA
17 brave US rebels were arrested after they took matters into their own hands to get in the way of a vote in the Capitol. Literally. Three pairs of rebels glued onto the doors in the tunnel leading into the Capitol to physically block the path of Congress members, while the rest of the group chanted and generally caused disruption.
They draped themselves with ‘Caution’ tape and signs warning of the climate emergency, as they say that their government is in denial about the urgent situation, preferring to focus on profit. Rebels hope to draw attention to the climate emergency resolution proposed by Democrats like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.
The global XR community is thriving and growing stronger every week. Spanish rebels have excelled themselves in finding new, creative ways to disrupt and get the word out. In Madrid, a team of rebels papered the city overnight with bright XR posters, and their pink boat led the charge in their annual ‘naval battle’-themed water fight festival. XR Barcelona drew a red line with their bodies at an El Pret terminal to oppose expanding the airport.
Rebels across the world have been standing up to polluting industries. In Latin America, XR Mexico and Argentina have been alerting the public to the climate emergency and to the dangerous polluting activities of corporations that mine and destroy ecosystems.
German rebels in Munich locked on to the town hall to pressure their council to close the local coal-fired power station, as voted for in a referendum. Bold Belgian rebels interrupted a speech by Shell’s CEO to highlight the climate crisis with a sign that read ‘Shell Kills’.
For more details on these stories, check out this round-up of global actions.
Even with the huge organising effort of the Summer Uprising, UK local groups still had more to give. Four Manchester rebels were arrested when they demanded a big Pension Fund divest its £2bn from fossil fuels, while Welsh rebels organised a coordinated effort across multiple sites to demand Barclays similarly divest.Birmingham put on a show with their colourful action against fast fashion, and Derbyshire rebels stormed a council meeting in swim gear.
Doctor Cliff Kendall is on his 11th day of hunger strike today. Here’s his statement explaining why he thinks this is necessary.
Read here for more details on these and more, including actions in Surrey, Preston, Truro, Bromley, and even the surf beaches of Cornwall.
We’re conscious that we’ll never catch everything that happens in a fortnight of rebellion. If you want to see your action here, please email your story and most exciting photo to email@example.com with ‘Story Contribution’ in the subject line.
The Coalest Little Capital Tour
27 JUL | 11:00 | Frank Kitts Park amphitheatre, Wellington, New Zealand
On Saturday, XR Te Whanganui-a-Tara (NZ) will be taking a unique tour of their country’s capital and serving eviction notices on the climate criminals of Wellington. We will be visiting the four worst carbon polluters in town and serving a symbolic notice to let these serial offenders know that Wellingtonians want them out! Join us at the waterfront, and check the event for more details.
Rebel Risings: Launchpads for Rebellion
18 AUG – 15 SEP | United Kingdom
A rebellion is coming. Momentum is building. On October 7th we’re going to shut down London like never before. And to build up to this historic moment we’re holding massive regional gatherings to celebrate, train and prepare.
Rebel Rising Festivals are a series of gatherings across the UK this August and September. With music, trainings, teach-ins, food, regen and workshops, each unique local Rebel Rising is a chance to share your talents, meet other rebels and plan your region’s part of the Global October Rebellion. With speeches from long-serving XR members, visits from notable musicians, and people’s assemblies on the future direction of XR, the Rebel Risings are an essential one-stop-shop to prepare for October 7th.
We need you! All rebels with skills to offer in planning, performing or otherwise contributing, please contact your local coordinator here.
Join the Northern Rebellion!
30 AUG – 3 SEP | Manchester, UK
It’s the North of England’s turn to rise up for the climate and ecological emergency. We want to keep up the momentum after the International Rebellion and the government’s declaration of a climate emergency. XR MCR remembers the rallying cry of those other Manchester rebels, the suffragettes, and demands ‘deeds not words’. We need to act now.
Fill out this form to get involved. Sign up to our mailing list and check our Facebook page for more details. If you’d like to offer your skills for the Northern Rebellion, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a Future?
31 JUL | SE London
Is there a future? is a creative event exploring questions around our future and whether we should be bringing children into this troubled, uncertain world.
XR Colombia – Abrazo al Rio
7 SEP | Colombia
Rebels in Colombia are inviting everyone to take a moment to appreciate the importance of our clean rivers that support life and sustain communities. An action to give an ‘abrazo al rio’ – hug a river – in solidarity with nature and to call on governments and companies to stop polluting our rivers with mining and fracking activities.
We stand in love in the spirit of Yamile Guerra, a lawyer and environmental activist, who was murdered for protecting an important water reserve from mining exploration in Santander, Colombia. Follow XR Colombia on Twitter to find out more.
XR Latin America
On 9th October, XR groups all over Latin America will rise up in peace to stand in solidarity with environmental defenders on the front lines who are risking their lives every day to protect our planet from exploitation for greed and profit. We will remember all of the brave activists that have been brutally killed for shining a spotlight on environmental crimes and trying to save our planet for future generations. More information to come!
Power Beyond Borders Camp
26 – 31 JUL | near London
If the #SummerUprising has given you the camping bug, this international action camp for migrant and climate justice is a must. There’ll be two days of training from people that have helped bring the UK coal and fracking industries to a (near!) standstill, followed by actions on Monday and Tuesday. See here for more details.
Lawyers for XR
Lawyers for XR intends to spread awareness of the climate crisis throughout the global legal community. We encourage legal professionals around the world to sign our Declaration of Support for Extinction Rebellion, and we will engage in actions and protests related to climate change and the law. If you are a law student or legal professional and would like to be involved, please join our Facebook group, follow us on Twitter, or email email@example.com.
Writers for XR
A new, internationally-scaled working group is looking for experienced and/or enthusiastic writers and editors. We’re looking to spread our vital message across as many channels, forms and audiences as possible. Whether you write poetry or analytical articles, fiction or fact, or we’d love to work with you. If you think you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘writing’ in the subject line.
XR UK Legal Crowdfunder
Since Extinction Rebellion declared an open rebellion against the British government, over a thousand rebels have been arrested, and most will now be charged. XR UK is now in full-on fundraising mode to provide arrestees with essential financial support as they take their message into the courts.
The combined legal costs are expected to be well over £1m, so we’re asking rebels and supporters to dig deep and give generously through our XR legal crowdfunding page. Please share widely.
By charging all those arrested in April, the Met may hope to quell October’s Rebellion. We can respond by showing that as a movement we have the solidarity to support the hundreds of rebels already charged, and the many more who will follow.
Together, we win!
Preston New Road / fracking solidarity
On August 8th Dr Gail Bradbrook, a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, will come to give a talk at the Cuadrilla Fracking site, talking about her love for PNR activists, her involvement in the anti-fracking movement, what’s coming next for the rebellion, and her the theory of change. She will do an extended Q and A if wanted.
We’d also like to encourage rebels with any spare time over summer to visit their closest frontline fracking groups. We’re working on a system of identifying and publicising the greatest areas of need, but for now we recommend messaging the communities in question to ask if they could use a hand; any extra help or support, even if only of the moral kinds, will generally be warmly welcomed.
London Arrestee Support Debrief date change
If you were planning on attending the arrestee support debrief in London, there’s been a change of date. Read this for details.
UK Rebel Real Estate
Do you have or know of any spaces that could be used by XR Volunteers? Across the UK volunteers are dedicating countless hours to the rebellion and are crucial to its success, but they need offices and admin spaces to work from! Please let us know via this form.
Strategy ideas pamphlet, ‘Truth and its consequences: A memo to fellow rebels on smart strategy, and on soul’. Written independently by Rupert Read, a member of XR UK Political circle. Note: this is not an official XR UK strategy document.
In the News
The conservative side of US politics ridicules the Green New Deal, portraying it as absurdly unaffordable. The Small Planet Institute tells us why a Green New Deal IS affordable for America. It’s not just about the costs of inaction, although they are huge, it’s also about viewing GND programs as investments in a new economy, as well as reclaiming taxes evaded or avoided by the rich.
‘Herbicidal Warfare in Gaza’ – new report from research agency, Forensic Architecture detailing the effects of herbicide spraying by the Israeli military along the border which ‘has created a dead zone of entire swathes of formerly arable land’, significantly undermining food security in the blockaded territory.
‘Forest Keepers in Danger’: Indigenous filmmakers from Midia India released this documentary alerting us to the grave situation faced by their uncontacted relatives in the Amazon, the Awá Guajá. Their lives are in danger due to logging in the Amazon.
‘Unprecedented’ wildfires across the Arctic – ‘the boreal forest that rings the northern portion of the world is witnessing a period of wildfire activity unseen in at least 10,000 years’. The CO2 released over June and July is thought to be equivalent to the annual emissions of small countries like Belgium and Sweden.
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 email@example.com.
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