Extinction Rebellion: Time to come together, listen, take responsibility and begin again
October 18, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
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- From 12pm today, Extinction Rebellion activists to go past government departments and use washable chalk spray to adorn buildings with silhouettes of handprints to highlight our shared responsibility for the Climate and Ecological Emergency, and that we are holding our hands up in open rebellion against the UK Government
- Procession leads into a closing ceremony – Transition Ceremony – to reflect the raw journey we have been on together during this Rebellion and to take a further step towards our vision of true reconciliation. Begins 3pm Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster.
- News comes as Extinction Rebellion highlights the UK’s role in funding the destruction of the planet subsidising fossil fuels in other countries using taxpayers’ money.
- The UK is on track to miss 14 out of 19 of its biodiversity targets and 25% of its mammals and nearly 50% of its birds are at risk of extinction.
- UK has increased funding for overseas fossil fuel projects elevenfold in the last year; 97% of financial support to UK energy businesses has gone to fossil fuel development compared to 3% for renewables.
- Extinction Rebellion writes to 18 Government departments asking what their plan is to tackle the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
At the beginning of this Rebellion, we asked Government departments: ‘What is your plan for the Planetary Emergency? Today, as this phase of the International Rebellion closes, we will return to Westminster to highlight the lack of response and inaction.
Today is an opportunity for us all to be honest about failings and take responsibility for our role in the emergency. By doing so, Britain can truly be the leaders we claim to be, together. This is the future our culpable hearts know is possible. We hope the Government knows it too.
- Since the UK Parliament declared a ‘symbolic’ Climate and Environmental Emergency on May 1, we seen neither truth nor action.
- Populations of UK’s most important wildlife have plummeted with 25% of mammals and nearly 50% of birds assessed at risk of extinction.
- The Joint Nature Conservation Committee has found that the UK is on track to miss 14 of the 19 of its biodiversity targets.
- It is falling well short of a commitment to plant 11m trees by 2022. Even if achieved, it would nullify just one hour of global emissions.
- Of 25 key policies recommended by the Government’s advisers to address the Emergency, it has implemented just one.
- The Queen’s Speech devoted six words to the Emergency.
- The recent announcement of a Cabinet Committee to address the Emergency prevents legal action against Ministers for failings until 2037.
- It used our taxes to increase funding for overseas fossil fuel projects elevenfold last year
- It has allocated more overseas cash to oil and gas in the two years since signing the Paris Agreement than it had in the previous five
- It provides 25 times more overseas funding to fossil fuels than to renewables
- Despite appeals from former UN head Ban-Ki Moon to stop, it continues to lock in countries to a fossil fuel future and extract wealth from the Global South
- Our Government has the highest fossil fuel subsidies in the EU, it is still backing fracking, Heathrow’s third runway, and HS2 – one of the largest deforestation projects in the country since World War I
- Last week, it defied advisers’ climate concerns to approve yet another new gas-powered power plant
- Our Government faces wasting millions of pounds of taxpayer money on fines from Europe’s highest court for breaching air pollution limits.
11am Friday 18 October – Whitehall Gardens – Red-Handed Rebellion
From 11am, beginning at 11am at Whitehall Gardens by the William Tyndale statue, there will be a solemn and unified procession around Government departments where activists will use red chalk spray to silhouette their handprints onto department buildings.
The silhouettes signify the tangled responsibility for the Climate and Ecological Emergency of the government and its citizens, and that we have all been caught red handed.
We will stop off at six Government departments and to deliver specific demands to each one, decided by a series of People’s Assemblies during the Autumn Uprising. This follows the delivery of letters this Wednesday to 18 Government departments by hand asking they produce their plans for addressing the Emergency by mid-November. 
We will raise our red hands and taking responsibility for our actions. We march in admission and recognition of the part we play in the injustice of this emergency, and the ongoing suffering of thousands of people around the world due to climate and ecological breakdown.
The procession will end in Parliament Square, where we will deliver our Emergency People’s Speech to invite the country to be honest about its failings and take responsibility for its role in the Emergency. If we want to, we can truly be the leaders we claim to be.
Rebels will then continue the procession either to the Transition Ceremony, or should they wish to, to a police station to turn themselves in.
This enacts Extinction Rebellion’s principle of holding ourselves accountable for our actions, by owning the impact and disruption caused by this Rebellion. For more information please see Facebook link.
From 2pm Friday 18 October – Transition Ceremony: Harvesting the Rebellion
- 2.00pm – Site-based groups meet at their original site (as marked on the first day of Rebellion)
- 2.30pm – Each site moves in procession from their original site to the Global Justice site (Victoria Tower Gardens)
- 3.00pm – Ceremony of “Harvest” to mark our transition moment in Rebellion
The past 12 days have attracted attention from around the world. The Climate and Ecological Emergency is under the spotlight like never before. More than 3,000 people have put their liberty on the line by being arrested.
We are gathering to reflect the raw journey we have been through and to take a further step towards our vision of true reconciliation. We come together in humility and honesty, to share our achievements and also acknowledge what we need to learn from, and where we wish to go next.
We are moved to acknowledge our diversity and our differences, and to apologise to the voices who are being marginalised and excluded. And to acknowledge that we still have not brought everyone with us on the issue of the climate and ecological emergency.
This is a moment to ground ourselves, to sow seeds for the future and take this back to towns and cities throughout the country and around the world.
The ceremony will be marked with time for song, reflection and listening. Gather in your site groups at 2pm and proceed to join us at Buxton Memorial Fountain, Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank at 3pm.
Bring any objects or writing which reflect your journey in Rebellion, and to deepening a commitment to solidarity and interdependence.
This event is open to anyone – however much you feel that you have been part of the Rebellion and whatever your views on the movement.
Notes to Editors
 The full list of Government Departments that we hand-delivered letters to is: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Cabinet Office, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Ministry of Defence, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, HM Treasury, Department for Transport, Department for International Development, Department for International Trade, Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Education, Department for Exiting the European Union, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Health and Social Care, Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Ministry of Justice, Northern Ireland Office.
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:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
- And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of 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.