UK Newsletter #12: Livin' La Vida Lockdown - Extinction Rebellion UK

UK Newsletter #12: Livin’ La Vida Lockdown

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Dear rebels,

We have entered our second week of lockdown, and the threat of coronavirus still overshadows so much of our lives.

It would be easy to imagine a movement built on actions of mass civil disobedience to falter under such strained conditions and to slip into despondency.

And so it brings us great joy to report on how well our movement is adapting, how quickly we are finding new ways to rebel in insolation, and how strong our resolve remains to stopping ecocide and deliver a society built around climate justice.

We also celebrate a massive win, as Google commits to stop funding climate change deniers

In this issue you will read how XR Families moved their actions online, how rebels in Penzance disrupted the opening of a new heliport while respecting social distancing, and how tree protectors of an ancient woodland threatened by HS2 are braving starvation because of building contractors who are disregarding healthcare measures that could save lives.

During these challenging times, we invite you to reflect on all the ingenuity, boldness and compassion that we have brought to this movement. See below for -yet another!- awesome documentary covering the antics of XR during the October Rebellion and catch up with one of the brave rebels who took part in the Petroleum 9 action.

As always, we have an extensive list of announcements and up-and-coming action, with a whole host of opportunities to get involved and join in the conversation

Finally, we introduce a new element to the newsletter: Pandemic Picks invites you to get into the quarantine routine with a carefully crafted list of inspiring books, films and tunes chosen by your very own newsletter team. 

Covid-19 may be restricting us to our homes, but our movement is still bringing people together, and still brimming over with loving rage.

Stories of the week

HS2 Denying Rebels Access to Food and Water

29 MAR | Crackley Woods, Warwickshire

A rebel “treehouse” in Crackley Woods at over 50 feet up. (Photo: StopHS2 / XR)

Five tree dwellers are living in the trees of Crackley Woods, Warwickshire on day 7 of HS2’s attempted eviction of one of the 108 ancient woodlands scheduled for felling. The destruction of 5 important wildlife habitats is due to commence today with chainsaws arriving on site.

HS2 contractors have blocked attempts to supply food and water to the rebels and are trying to “starve them out” of the trees. This endangers their wellbeing and is effectively denying them their basic human rights. 

HS2 Ltd. is continuing this ecocide at a time when all non-essential work must be stopped, and is putting their workers at risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 as social distancing measures aren’t being followed. 

The project doesn’t have the needed approval to proceed, faces legal challenges, and will cost over £100 bn to complete. In this time of national crisis, the Government must stop the HS2 contractors in their tracks and instead fund our stretched health care services to save lives. 

Dr. Angela Wilson, GP and member of Doctors for XR, said: “Today I am angry as I witness the behaviour of HS2 workers not adhering to the Government guidelines set down for every UK resident to protect life.”

Watch a message from rebels in the trees here and help stop HS2 from your home

 HS2 workers within 3 feet of each other. (Photo: StopHS2 / XR)

Singing on: XR Families Mother’s Day Action

20 MAR | Online

Mother’s Day card, XR Families rebel

With strict measures imposed, the National Mother & Child Feed-In planned by XR Families had to be cancelled. To stay connected, they organised an online sing-in instead.

In spite of the short notice, parents and children across the UK responded to the call and came together to sing about motherhood and protest.

One rebel commented: “I had been looking forward to this all week, and it did not disappoint. It was hilarious and tear-jerking in equal measure.”

Till we next can meet…keeping it up with a digital sing-in

XR Families shared what they learnt from their Mothers’ Day action and compiled these tips for doing actions online:

  • Reach out to other working or rebel groups to achieve larger numbers; visually impactful actions with few people don’t work as well online
  • Put in extra effort to promote your action on social media
  • Think about what creative actions you can do online. They can be a great way to keep your group connected and keep up morale, so that when the time is right, you can return to the streets.

Listen to a Rebel Radio Mother’s Day special.

Gas-Guzzling Helicopters at a Climate Crime Scene

16 MAR | Penzance, Cornwall

The days of mobilising on the streets are now well over, but a week before the lockdown began, rebels staged a final outdoor action at the opening of a new Penzance heliport.

As the protestors declared the helicopter service to the Isles of Scilly a “Climate Crime Scene”, they were careful to respect social-distancing guidelines and acted outside of opening hours.

The gas-guzzling helicopters will produce an estimated 10 times more emissions per passenger than the existing ferry service, and two thirds more than light aircraft flying in from Land’s End.

“This is our equivalent of Heathrow’s third runway. Helicopters are one of the most climate damaging ways of travelling and it is madness to open such a service in the middle of a climate emergency,” said Jan Power of XR Penzance.

Rewind to the October Rebellion

OCT 2019 | London

Senara Wilson Hodges filming in London during the October rebellion

Fragments of a Rebellion is a powerful, inspiring new film about the October Rebellion. It’s just what’s needed in these difficult times to remind us of the creativity, passion and commitment of rebels of all ages and backgrounds, and the vital importance of the struggle for climate and ecological justice.

The film consists of a series of kaleidoscopic ‘snapshots’ of moments and people, including wonderful interviews with rebels from arrestee support, sanitation, police liaison, catering, XR doctors and scientists.

Senara Wilson Hodges, the Cornish filmmaker and rebel who made the documentary, says: “This is a film made with love and rage and if the camera shakes, it’s sometimes not about tired arms but rather laughter and tears.”

Fragments of a Rebellion is a must-see for rebels everywhere. Join a Q&A with the filmmaker 11 April at 7.30pm.

Throwback to Petroleum 9 

27 FEB 2019 | London

If this pandemic has given us anything, it’s a chance to reflect. This week we remember last year’s Petroleum 9 action, in which 9 brave rebels glued themselves onto the front of a London hotel where an oil and gas conference was taking place.

We interviewed Jeremy Parker, one of the rebels arrested that day:

“I have to admit, when I was told that the conference was going to discuss exploiting new sources of fossil fuels I was filled with rage, and a compulsion to do what I could to peacefully stand against this injustice to the world and nature.

I didn’t really know what I was getting into as I set out that morning, but I had no doubt I had to do something. And one year later I still feel like that: It was something I was compelled to do. Without doubt, I’d do it all over again.”

Ever wondered what happens to rebels past the point of arrest? Click here to read Jeremy’s follow up piece which gives a fascinating insight into the Petroleum 9 trial.

This piece was brought to you by the Rebel Writers. Anyone from anywhere can join them here, or read their guide for more information.


C19 Community Response and Mutual Aid

02 APR | 6.30-8pm | Online, weekly every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

Want to learn more about how you can support your community or share your top tips? Join our regular people’s assemblies to share experiences, ideas and questions. Open to anyone involved in the community response both inside and outside of XR

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, 6.30-8pm, here.

Stop HS2

01-14 APR | Online

Help stop HS2 in its tracks. HS2 construction will destroy over 100 ancient woodlands, 700 special wildlife sites, won’t be carbon neutral for at least 120 years and will cost us £110 billion. HS2 ltd is putting its workers and the communities along the route at risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. All non-essential work must be stopped during this crisis.

Help stop HS2 from home, share your concerns to HS2 Ltd directly, storm social media or write to the minister responsible for HS2. There are lots of ways to help, find out more here

Carbon Lockdown

01-14 APR | Online

As airlines and other big polluters queue up to demand bail outs from the Government, we have to act to tell them to bail out our people and planet instead. Help to preserve our future! 

Take action on our carbon lockdown page, which will be updated with online actions.

DNA workshops

01 APR | 6-8pm | Online, weekly every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Want to explore what connects us all as rebels? What makes our movement unique? Find out more about XR’s DNA, our story, structure and strategy with weekly workshops every Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6-8 pm. 

Sign up and find out more here. Great for rebels old and new!

Empathy Cafe

04 APR | 6pm | Online, weekly every Saturday

Connect together to explore our 10 Principles & Values one Saturday at a time. Join our Empathy Cafe series, where we will use the Empathy Circle process to discuss and explore a different principle each week. We will have an open dialogue about the meaning and application of these principles. 

Bring your questions, comments, feelings, thoughts, needs and insights. See the series overview here

XR Families Monday Talks

06 APR | 8.30-10pm | Online, weekly every Monday

Inspired by XR Families’ Mother’s Day action? Join our Monday evening chats if you are looking for support, to share thoughts on how we can parent our children through the combined crises, and to plan more actions.

Every week, we’ll explore a different topic. See the full overview here.


Regenerative Resources in a Time of Corona

Last week we introduced #AloneTogether, a Regenerative Rebellion in the Time of Coronavirus. In this unique moment in history, rebelling for a resilient, conscious and compassionate world of Regenerative Cultures has never been more needed.

The AloneTogether Campaign group is getting organised, with project groups for Self and Interpersonal Care, Community Response, Holding Emotions and Collective Sharing Practices, and Media. Contact us here to join a project group.

You can see our programme of online events here, and submit content here.

Rebellion Academy – What kind of Rebel are You?

Check out our newest platform, the Rebellion Academy, test what kind of rebel you are, find your ideal role and get access to all the training and support you need to rebel on.

Visit the Rebellion Academy to sign up and take our quiz: What kind of rebel are you?

Podcast: What if we did Everything Right? 

Listen to our latest podcast, an interview with the architect of the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres about their new book ‘The Future we Choose’ with co-author Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Citizens’ Assembly Working Group – Looking for Ambassadors!

Want to share the knowledge about our Third Demand and explore what a UK-wide Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice could look like?

Join our Citizens’ Assembly Ambassadors Network (CAAN) – get in touch to find out more and help push for our Third Demand:

Rebel Radio’s Spring Shows

This week Rebel Radio covers an ‘Emergency Panel: How will Covid-19 shape the economy?’ and tells ‘The Truth about Zane’ – a heartbreaking story about how a 7-year-old child died after floodwater carried a fatally toxic chemical from a nearby landfill site into his home.

Find out more about this whistleblower story and how you can support Zane’s parents, Kye and Nicole, in their fight for justice.

Tune in live every Tuesday and Friday at 11am, or catch up here


Pandemic Picks #1: The Chosen from the First Age

Sci-fi Anthology | UK | Shoreline of Infinity

If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others’, Philip K. Dick. 

Immerse yourself in a self isolated read with this selection of top Sci-fi tales from the first 10 issues of the British Fantasy Society Award winning magazine Shoreline of Infinity

As featured in the Guardian’s Best Science Fiction Roundup 2019, the anthology includes stories from international authors such as Ken MacLeod, Nathan Susnik and Jeanette Ng.

Get a free download, until 11 April.

In this new feature, we will be sharing our personal favourites on what to read, watch or listen to, to get you through these times. Have a suggestion? Share it with us at 

Humans of XR 

Tom, Colne Valley HS2 Encampment

“In a time when there is more and more awareness that we need to be harmonious with ourselves and the land, nonsensical developments like these (HS2) stand out more and more as a sickness of the end days of capitalism.

Now more than ever it is really time to take a stand and step into a more connected way of being.”

We are receiving amazing human stories and we want to know yours. To read more – or to write your own – join our Facebook group.​

Thank you

Thank you for reading. Even as we self-isolate, there’s so much exciting stuff going on in the movement 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

We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our Rebellion needs money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated. 

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