Global Newsletter # 38: Love & Rage in Times of Corona
April 08, 2020 by XR Newsletter
We hope you’re keeping well in these strange times. It’s been a difficult month for many of us, with Covid-19 dominating the global conversation.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of C-19 is the struggle to live in this new world of distancing and isolation. It’s important to remember then, that we are in this together, as a movement and a species. There is a humility in the way Covid unites us all – regardless of country, creed or colour. In this at least, it parallels the Climate and Ecological crisis.
Read on to see how rebels are evolving to the situation: with Global Support launching the ‘Love & Rage in Times of Corona’ campaign, and AloneTogether in the UK – there are more ways than ever to stay involved and connected.
This month we also celebrate Earth Day, and look back at the anniversary of our first International Rebellion. We are struck by how different life is twelve months later, as we face not one, but two global crises, yet we find hope in the response, as communities come together to share and support each other.
Also in this issue, we take a look at XR NYC’s April Fool’s event and catch up with dancing rebels in Italy. There’s good news from the Standing Rock, and a beautiful ‘Exploring XR’ piece from rebels in Uganda braving the law to stand up for the Earth.
Finally, we introduce a new element to the global 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. Send us your suggestions.
Until next month, stay safe rebels. Stay brave.
Image by: Charlotte Götze, www.charlottegoetze.de
If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.
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- Action Highlights
- Pandemic Picks
- XR Content
- Humans of XR
C-19 & the Climate and Ecological Crisis
Ongoing | Worldwide
In order to save lives, people around the world are enacting personal distancing measures. Airlines in Europe have reduced flights by 75% to 85%; global long-haul airlines have cut flights by up to 96%. Almost every cruise line has paused operation until April, May, or even 2021.
Global in-city travel has also dropped drastically, up to 97% as of 26 March. People aren’t driving to work or to shops. Many public transit systems have also reduced or halted services.
This halt in travel will save people from becoming infected with Covid-19. It also provides us with a preview of what our planet could look like with drastic emissions reduction. China’s 25% reduction in emissions in February was the equivalent of a half-year of emissions for the UK. Air pollution in the UK is lower than the previous 5 years average after the lockdown was implemented.
Will Pollution Come Back When Covid-19 Is Conquered?
When countries stimulate their economies after a crisis, the emissions that result can destroy all the climate gains made by the slow period. This happened in China in 2009 after the global economic crash. When COVID-19 is behind us, let’s find ways to continue these reductions and mitigate the damage of climate change.
1 APRIL | Online
Playing a cool double bluff, XR New York City rebels masquerading as Google released an online statement declaring that in lieu of their normal April Fools joke, the multinational tech giant would stop funding climate denial.”
The mock website featured Google style graphics and links to genuine articles substantiating Google’s role in spreading climate misinformation.
An apology was issued for ‘putting profit over the planet’ followed by a pledge to push a ‘zero tolerance policy for climate change denial among our partners.’
In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the idealised ‘Google’ also acknowledged how ignoring science can result in suffering on a global scale.
Finally, they suggested joining Extinction Rebellion to become part of the solution.
Standing Rock Legal Victory
25 March | North Dakota, USA
An environmental battle which gripped the world’s attention back in 2016 was reignited last week, when a federal judge ordered a fresh review of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have won a significant legal battle for a fresh environmental review of the pipeline, which began moving oil through their territory, and crucially under the sacred Lake Oahe in 2017.
Flags fly at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, North Dakota. Photo: Lucas Zhao
A bitter contest has raged between thousands of indigenous activists and allies with police over the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are worried that a spill would pollute water they rely on for fishing, drinking and religious ceremonies.
Back in 2016, youth from Standing Rock and surrounding Native American communities stopped the construction of the pipeline by occupying the site and organising mass protests. As camps and public outrage grew, the Obama administration announced that the Army Corps of Engineers would need to seek alternate routes.
But just four days into office, Trump approved the construction of the pipeline ..
In his ruling, the Washington Federal Judge stated that “too many questions remain unanswered” over the impact of the pipeline on communities in the area, and that the unreviewed environmental effects are “highly controversial.”
The Sioux Tribe and Earthjustice, who represent them in court, have hailed the decision as a “significant legal win” and their attorney said that the tribe will be seeking to shut down the pipeline while reviews are carried out.
Beautiful Balconies Over Dark Depths
20 MAR | Italy
Isolated rebels across Italy have found some light in the darkness by turning their balconies into dance floors and staging a synchronised discobedience.
Italy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout this crisis, XR Italy has remained highly active online and is now welcoming a surge of new recruits.
In just one week, their online induction meetings have drawn interest from over a thousand people, and every 50 person session they schedule gets booked up within the hour.
Asked what might have caused this surge in interest, a coordinator in Rome felt the lockdown had given many people the time to reflect on larger social issues like the environment and our consumerist culture, and how these link to public health.
There is a growing awareness in Italy that this pandemic is being linked to man’s exploitation of nature and that destroying animals and their habitats may have paved the way for this virus to move to human hosts.
Even with scientific opinion behind them, XR Italy realises this is a difficult message that needs to be delivered with delicacy. Italy is in the midst of a true tragedy. Over fifteen thousand have died, and social distancing guidelines make traditional funerals impossible.
In a country ready for systemic change, Italian rebels are determined to start a vital conversation with their fellow citizens.
Hospital workers in Bari demand we protect ecosystems to stop contact with new pathogens.
XR Uganda: Be For Mother Earth, So She Can Be For You
XR Uganda setting off to Mbale district Eastern Uganda to mark International Women’s Day
XR Uganda was founded by a teacher in 2019, and its numbers have been steadily growing ever since.
The Ugandan rebel we spoke to, an IT professional, was the second person to join the group. “I was researching the shocking number of suicides by Indian farmers whose crops had failed as a result of climate change. I came across the XR website and thought, let me sign up and be a part of this team.”
Lack of rain has brought drought, with unpredictable seasons leading to shifts in planting patterns. Floods and landslides, caused by deforestation, degradation of wetlands, and poor farming methods, have resulted in forced migration across Uganda. The country already hosts the largest amount of refugees in Africa.
XR Uganda Children
XR Uganda is considered illegal as it isn’t registered as a community based organisation, NGO or business. Rebels believe the authorities fear that the movement will sponsor individuals to stand against the ruling political party.
But the Ugandan rebels remain optimistic. They are taking their message to communities and schools, engaging children while demanding access to quality education for all and highlighting how the climate breakdown has a disproportionate impact on women.
The message from our rebel contact is clear: “XR Uganda is rising up – watch this space!”
Love & Rage in Times of Corona
Love & Rage in Times of Corona is a global campaign exploring the human resilience and community building of rebels around the world. Showing how we are adapting and reimagining a new world now that we have confirmation that drastic change on a global scale is both possible and necessary.
Seeking designers, video editors and content creators. If you’d like to add your energy and creativity this project please email email@example.com outlining your interests and expertise.
Join Global Support M&M
The Global Support M&M team is looking for volunteers to help with social media coordination and content creation.
Ask a Scientist
8 APR | 4-5pm GMT+1 | Online
XR Scientists are holding a live Q&A focused on this big question – “Does our destruction of the natural world increase the spread of disease?”
A panel of 3 world-renowned scientific experts – Dr Beth Purse, Prof Eric Fèvre and Prof Kate Jones – and the science writer David Quammen will be answering your questions.
Send in your burning questions here.
Participatory Democracy’s 1st International Newsletter
The Participative Democracy Working Group is aimed at creating a worldwide network of XR groups to implement Citizens/ Peoples Assemblies, spreading deliberative participatory democracy practices everywhere.
Our international newsletter tells stories of deliberative participatory democracy as it happens around the world and shares the experiences of local changemakers.
Read their Newsletter here.
Digital Peoples’ Assembly
10 APR 10 | 5pm CET | Online
Join our first online Peoples’ Assembly on Circular Economies here.
April Anniversary: Share your Story
It’s hard to believe that the April Rebellion was almost a year ago. Stuck in lockdown 12 months later, it’s incredible to think just how much the world has changed since we took to the streets for our first International Rebellion.
As we approach the anniversary next week, we want to hear your most memorable moments, at a time when we need reminding of our collective strength more than ever.
If you were part of the Rebellion in the UK, share your story here.
If you took part in the Rebellion outside of the UK, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following: Your name, your email address, the country and city you took part in, either a video or photo (maximum 3 photos please!) and 200 words MAX explaining the context of the video or photos.
Please send your submissions in by the end of Saturday 11th April.
Letters of Love in a Time of Crisis
By 12 April | Online
Letters to the Earth responds to Covid-19 by calling on the public to write ‘Letters of Love in a Time of Crisis’.
In these moments of separation, stillness and unknown, Letters to the Earth is an opportunity to come together in an act of global solidarity and tell a new story during this pandemic.
Whether it’s for our key workers or neighbours, our family or ourselves – letters of love, support and hope are needed. These letters are for you to keep, give (safely), put up in your window, or share on social media using #LetterstotheEarth.
Please send a copy of your letters, in any language, to email@example.com by 12th April. A selection will be performed by a global community of readers by live stream on Earth Day, 22nd April.
Rebel Writers Wanted
We may be confined to our homes, but there are still countless stories to tell to inspire and keep the Rebellion alive. If you want to be part of telling the story of the Rebellion or explore key issues like global climate justice, regenerative cultures or help expose climate crimes, now is your chance: we are growing our rebel writers network!
We are looking for volunteer writers, editors and proof-readers with a great eye. All roles can be done remotely.
Get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a few lines about what you’d like to do. Previous experience isn’t essential but if you have some, please share this with us too.
Global Justice is Climate Justice
In this live episode, Rosanna Wiseman and Cameron Joshi from Global Justice Now talk about colonialism, capitalism and making our movement more inclusive.
Plus, get a glimpse of what it’s like to be part of XR globally with an audio tapestry of sounds captured at actions around the world and sent in by rebels.
For more podcasts, follow us on Facebook.
Introducing Reset TV
Two weeks ago Regenerative Cultures UK introduced Alone Together, a Regenerative Rebellion in the Time of Coronavirus. We are now excited to offer our online event platform, Reset TV.
Our programme includes webinars, trainings, workshops and listening spaces from across the movement, that can help us stay connected and supported.
Pandemic Picks #2: Neither Wolf Nor Dog
Feature | UK/USA | Dir. Steven Lewis Simpson
Kent Nerburn (Christopher Sweeney) receives an offer he can’t refuse.
As the trappings of his modern life fall away, he becomes immersed in the physical and spiritual heart of the Dakota plains, their contemporary Native American people and a tragic, shameful history. This history remains as relevant today in light of the continued persecution of Indigenous people all over the world.
Neither Wolf Nor Dog is a Kickstarter funded, independent film shot by the smallest of crews. It is beautiful, often funny and at its heart is Lakota elder Dan (95 year-old Dave Bald Eagle), whose final, improvised speech at the site of the Wounded Knee massacre is both raw and deeply moving.
- TED women: To tackle Climate Change we need both Science and Indigenous Wisdom – environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim
- Coronavirus response proves the world can act on climate change
- Oceans can be restored within 30 years
- Fires burning in Thailand
- Talks for Future with Naomi Klein and Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum on Covid-19 and Climate change
Humans of XR
Lesley Morrison, Doctors for XR
“We are only as safe as our most vulnerable. The poor suffer most in both crises and we urgently need to address health and social inequalities. Global challenges need systemic change.
Neither Covid nor climate pay attention to borders, the world is a small place, and we’re all interconnected. This is the basis of planetary health. Prevention is better than cure.
The role and crucial importance of scientific expertise needs to be, and has been, recognised. The cynicism and disregard for scientific expertise promoted by populist politicians has hopefully lost credibility. People are learning to trust and to value health and science professionals.”
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 for reading. Even in lockdown, 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 email@example.com.
We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our Rebellion needs money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.
Image by: Charlotte Götze, www.charlottegoetze.de