Action Strategy Update for 2020 - Extinction Rebellion UK

Action Strategy Update for 2020

“We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.”  – David Attenborough

Action Strategy Update for 2020

This is the year. The decisions made over the next 12 months will define the future of our world. The stakes have never been higher as time runs out to act on the climate and ecological emergency.

The crisis is only getting worse. At the time of writing, Australia is on fire. Floods are destroying homes up and down the UK, and our precious biodiversity – the very systems that supply our food and vital resources – is collapsing. We are hovering at the point of no return. And yet our Government continues to pave the way for our extinction

If they won’t do what’s necessary to safeguard our future, then we must. 

It is down to all of us this year to act.

In 2019 we achieved more than anyone would have thought was possible. We saw tens of thousands of people of all colours, ages, beliefs and backgrounds join together in active rebellion. Meanwhile, millions of young people, listening to the science, left their classrooms and called on the Government to protect their future. The climate and ecological emergency has never been so far at the front of people’s minds.

The truth is out. 

But we’ve made mistakes, and we need to grow into ourselves as a movement. The October Rebellion was our toughest challenge yet. Our tactics struggled to cut through increased opposition from the media, police and our Government. Despite ordinary people sacrificing their time and liberty in the biggest act of nonviolent civil disobedience in recent British history – with the arrests of scientists, school teachers, grandparents, grandchildren, rabbis, priests and politicians – our simple demands for urgent action have not been met. 

In 2020 we need to do things differently. 


After two months of intense debriefing and listening, we are finding a new way forward. Throughout December, as part of an inclusive process, new and diverse voices were brought together to create an action plan for the coming year. In January, working groups across the movement will be coming together to align their strategies.

The final UK Action Strategy for 2020 will launch at the end of January. Below you can read an outline of that strategy so far. It’s now time to add your voice and help finalise our plan for the rest of the year. 

Institutions – political, media, industry – might have begun to admit the truth, but they’re still failing to act. So, now it’s up to us to show them how. The plan going forward is simple: it’s time to make specific demands, on a local, regional and national level, calling for the changes our planet needs to see. And if we don’t get them? We’ll take matters into our own hands and make those changes happen ourselves.


This year we must train and empower more rebels than ever before and build this movement together – because our decentralisation is our strength. Rebellion is a way of life, not just a one-off event. 

On a local and regional level there will be a focus on training, resourcing and empowering rebels to demand specific changes of their local institutions. Be it calling for a car free city centre to help our children breathe, an end to local airport expansion, or the halting of a new coal mine, in 2020 our priority is for local groups to become powerful enough to demand those changes themselves. We create our active, ongoing rebellion together.


Festive actions in London. Image credit: Gareth Morris

On the UK level it’s time to replace the status quo’s empty words and symbolic statements with real change. We’re going to create a People’s Demand of the new government during the first three weeks of January, which we will focus our UK wide strategy towards in Spring. We will be consulting with experts inside and outside of XR, as well as listening to the wider public, to help us do this. It could be to demand an immediate moratorium on airport expansion, an end to all fossil fuel subsidies, a permanent ban on coal – but most importantly it will be up to the movement to decide.

Stay tuned for further updates on the People’s Demand in the next few weeks!


Once we’ve chosen the People’s Demand in January we’ll put the government on notice: start moving to meet our demands, or we’ll return to the streets with more disruption and compassion than ever before.

Whatever happens, this year’s Rebellion will be different. It has to be. Throughout our debrief and reflection process it’s been clear that we need new, more inclusive tactics. We need practised, empowered rebels across the whole of the UK. That’s why we’re building a Mass Mobilisation of ordinary people across the country. Read more about it here and get involved here.

New-year swarming in Sweden. Don’t worry – it’s water-soluble!

To put power behind the People’s Demand and give it the weight it needs, we need to choose a date and begin planning for our biggest mass mobilisation yet, uniting rebels everywhere. As a movement seeking to empower and include, it’s crucial we choose this date together. 

Fill in the poll now to say when YOU want the next unified Rebellion to start.

This poll will close at 12pm on Tuesday 14th of January.


Whether or not we achieve the unthinkable and force the Government to take responsibility, 2020 has one huge date we can’t ignore. In November the world’s leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26 – one of the world order’s last chances to avert the worst consequences of ecological breakdown. We must be there in our droves.

2020 Timeline overview:


  • Focus on training, community outreach and UK wide strategy process 
  • Choosing the People’s Demand  
  • Choosing the next Rebellion date
  • Launch of finalised ACT NOW 2020 strategy to movement
  • Beginning the ACT NOW 2020 strategy in local groups 


  • UK-level coordinated actions targeting the People’s Demand 
  • Local focus on ACT NOW demands of local councils 


  • The next big Rebellion (choose the date above!) 


  • COP26

So much is riding on this year and we want to get this right. Help make the change we desperately need: Let your voice be heard and together we’ll make this a year for the history books. 

2020 is going to be big

To have the best chance of achieving these aims (and ultimately mitigating the worst effects of the ecological emergency), we’re going to need your help. More than anything we need your energy – we need ordinary people to realise the impact and power we can have when we join together.

Everybody has a different way of helping. For some it’s blocking roads; for some it’s laptops, emails and meetings; for some it’s supporting a relative or friend. All of this is equally invaluable.

You know best how you can help. If you can help directly, please see how to join us here (or just keep up the great work!). If you can help by giving money, we appreciate whatever you can give.

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