UK Newsletter #13 Rebellion Revisited: One Year On - Extinction Rebellion UK

UK Newsletter #13 Rebellion Revisited: One Year On

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Exactly one year ago today, something impossible happened.

Thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds came out onto the streets of London and blockaded 5 sites across the city. We wanted to raise awareness about the climate crisis. We wanted action from our leaders. We wanted to save our planet from catastrophe.

Beyond all expectations, hopes, or even dreams, our sites flourished, the police ran out of cells, the media were transfixed, public support grew, ministers wanted meetings, and the whole glorious carnival of direct action protest lasted 10 long summer days.

And that was just in the UK.

Over 25 countries took part in the April International Rebellion. Whether it was on the coast of New Zealand or across a city square in Pakistan, rebels stood as one. The April Rebellion was a global act of solidarity, a planetary expression of loving rage, a united cry for a better, fairer future for everyone.

History was written during those 2 wondrous weeks, as were 7 fevered issues of this newsletter. You can re-read the full story of our Rebellion here, watch this teaser and check our channels this week for more. 

And while our politicians still fail to react to the alarm we raised, the shift in public consciousness that happened after our Rebellion, the realisation that business as usual is no longer an option, is even stronger today.

For this special anniversary issue we bring you an insider account of how that iconic pink boat sailed into Oxford Circus, show you how you can help the legend live on with a paper boat of your own, and check in with the skilled chefs of Food For All who nourished rebels during Rebellion and are now supporting the most vulnerable in London during this pandemic.

In troubling days such as these, our movement has to look forward as well as back, and this issue contains upcoming actions to suit every rebel. Add your voice to our new ‘No Going Back’ campaign to stop bailouts for polluters. Get creative, paint the streets, sow seeds of love and float paper boats through your community during your daily exercise. Or read our guides on how to support coronavirus mutual aid groups.

We can be rightly proud of what was achieved in April, but one year on we cannot rest on our laurels. Our world needs your rebel ideas, rebel energy, and rebel loving rage more now than it ever has.

Credit: Talia Woodin @taltakingpics

Stories of the Week

We Were The Boat: The Inside Story of an April Icon

April Anniversary Special

Credit: George Butler

Over the 10 miraculous days of the April Rebellion, London became host to some truly surreal and spectacular sights. But surely the most iconic was the pink party boat moored to the tarmac of Oxford Circus.

With DJs on deck, barnacles locked-on to the keel, and a sea of rebels dancing and leafleting and making speeches around its hull, the boat represented the entire XR ecosystem in one heaving, joyous, living entity. 

Police officers danced, celebrities dropped in, love was in the air, and DJs played the sets of their lives – a 5-day rebel rave under summer skies that drew in thousands, was broken up peacefully, and where not a drop of alcohol was drunk.

How did such a beautiful, mad, impossible thing like that happen?

The truth is, it so nearly didn’t.

The final boat drop-off plan

The boat idea started as a modest affair. The vessel would be as cheap as possible and act as a backdrop to a more traditional stage. The close-knit team of Rebellion organisers started asking around for ships in mid-February and traced a big old wooden one for free. Job done.

Then a week before the April Rebellion, the wooden vessel fell through. The organisers had no choice but to frantically start shopping for boats online.

To find out how the team sourced, set up, and delivered a pink boat to Oxford Circus, all in 7 days, read the full story on the XR website.

Credit: @roxythezoologist

Food for All: Then & Now

APR 2019-20 | London

Credit: Rachel Hardwick

Everyone present at the April Rebellion and subsequent actions will be familiar with the creations of the incredible team at Food for All, masterminded by a man called Para.  

“We were cooking daily and sending 5 rickshaws of food (300 meals in each) to each of the 5 locations”, Para says, recounting their heroic XR debut last April

Para and his incredibly broad team have been doing just this for over 30 years now, bringing free food to those in London who need it most and saving tonnes of food that would otherwise go to waste.

Now, as the Coronavirus crisis lengthens and more and more vulnerable families and individuals are at risk, they are doing the most valuable work they have ever done.

From their kitchen in London, they are cooking up to 20,000 plates of their signature tasty, nutritious, vegan meals every single day. Please have a look at how you can help in person, or donate

Biodiversity, We’ve Got Your Back

9 MAR | Cambridge

With spring in full swing, it’s a particularly important time to think about birds and other wildlife foraging and nesting in the rich foliage. Rebels in Cambridge came together at the beginning of last month, before lockdown had come into effect, to make 100 bird boxes for the city and surrounding areas as Cambridge City Council announced a biodiversity emergency.

The event highlighted the community spirit and skill-sharing core to our XR culture. Check out this video to see how they did it. 

A rebel added: “Residents leaving their homes to exercise will be able to watch nature, which is really good for the soul at times like this!” 

Cambridge XR have also organised the Climate Kindness campaign, which is all about climate, creativity and community. Tune in to their extensive calendar of activities, including free maths tuition, daily yoga, and chats.


The Boat Lives On

15 APR | Your place

By XRMEDIA. Video Editor: Sara Martin. Music: Codemusic – ‘Folk Guitar’ Non-profit License by Jamendo 

What better way to commemorate the April Rebellion than to create a miniature memorial of the pink boat that sailed into Oxford Circus. 

Grab a sheet of paper, flex your fingers, and follow this special origami video tutorial to produce a party protest boat all of your very own. Decorate your windows with chains of paper boats or let them float through your community and share them online with #wearetheboat.

No Going Back

15-30 APR | Online

Right now, the Government is looking at plans to bailout carbon intensive industries that would take us back to the business-as-usual that is destroying our planet. But we refuse to go back.

We have changed everything about the way we live to protect our communities. We must rebuild sustainably, prioritise protection of people and the planet. What do you love? Where should bailout money go? Who should we protect? 

Share your views now with #nogoingback, make a short video, write a blog, spread the word!

In this unprecedented moment we must make clear that we are no longer willing to live in a world that prioritises polluters over people. 

On Thursday 30th April we are inviting rebels to send a strong message that business as usual must be closed for good. More info coming soon, keep an eye out on our FB event and join the telegram chat. 

Paint the Streets 

15 APR | Your Streets  

Want to get creative during the lockdown? Windows and empty streets provide a great canvas to share your art, bring back majestic animals, or rewild your streets with seeds of love!

To start with we will avoid XR logos and branding, then together we will build our message, so that like nature, our drawings, paintings, and installations will grow over time.

Find everything you need here, with links to stencils, facemask designs and window art and share your work with #paintthestreets. 

Join the telegram chat or our Q&A on Friday 17 april at 7-8.30pm.

Finance Week

20-24 APR | 4-7pm | Reset TV

Learn more about the basics and the intricacies of the economy and what is happening during the current crisis. 

Every day next week, 4-7pm on Reset TV.

Know Your Rights Training

28 APR | 18:00 | Online

Use this time to get ready for when we return to the streets. Learn more about your legal rights and how to protest safely.

Know Your Rights training is now every other week on Monday’s, starting 28 April at 6pm. Find out more here.

Transformative Conflict System Building

16 / 21 APR | 6-7.30pm / 2-3.30pm | Online 

Help the Transformative Conflict circle develop a system to resolve conflict. Review the proposal and join one of the 2 open sessions to share your needs and concerns. Please try and arrange so that several people in your circle can attend this session.

Join Thursday 16 April, 6-7.30pm or Tuesday 21 April, 2-3.30pm, (password: conflict).

Light a candle

21 APR | 9pm 

Let us light a candle and place them in our windows, a small gesture to commemorate the passing of life, those that have been lost to Coronavirus and the climate crisis. The flames of our candles also honour the Earth itself, our planet that sustains us and all life. 

Join our livestream and sharing circle on Reset TV.


Community Democracy for Corona Mutual Aid

Are you supporting a mutual aid group in your community? Want to help them to make democratic decisions, decentralise organising, be inclusive, and empower everyone involved?

We’re here to support you with this useful guide and this one, filled with tips and links, as well as upcoming training and workshops in the Community Action section of Reset TV

This is Regenerative Rebellion, helping us listen to one another, connect as humans, and self-organise the mutual aid projects that we need in this time of crisis.

Contact: with any questions.

Reset TV

Reset TV is a continuous programme of free workshops available to anyone who has downloaded zoom. Whether you are looking for personal support, a creative outlet, community bonding, political discussion, or a yoga class, Reset TV has got you covered.

You can browse their timetable, submit ideas, and learn more right here

Survey – Why do You Rebel? 

Professor Ben Farrer at Knox College is studying XR tactics and motivations, helping us to see what tactics work and how we can get more rebels to be actively involved.

Our methods are evidence based. Our approach is grounded in case studies and research. Now, we want to know more about what motivates you to take part in XR. 

Complete the survey here

Tech support

Do you need some help in learning how to use zoom or other online tools? No problem! We have a pool of tech support wizards ready to support you. Send your question to @xruk_supportbot on Telegram.

Are you a tech wizard yourself? Join our pool of tech support providers on Telegram.


Humans of XR  

APR 2019 | Rianka, XR Youth 

“In the April Rebellion, I spent 3 nights occupying Waterloo Bridge and did a lot of

interviews, as well as some media for XR Youth.

I joined the rebellion at the very last minute and I honestly believe it was one of the

best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Reflecting on the Rebellion is still hazy for me because I still can’t believe we really did it.

When my climate anxiety is at its worst and I feel helpless, I remember that we shut down

one of the busiest cities in the world. 

I also try to remember the effects the April Rebellion had on the conversation around the climate crisis. Nowadays, there is a dialogue about the climate emergency in day-to-day life, not just in activist circles.’

Related topics

April Anniversary

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