Newsletter March 2022 - Extinction Rebellion UK
We will not be bystanders

Newsletter March 2022

Last week saw the publication of the latest IPCC report focusing on the probable real-world impact of the climate crisis: extreme weather, floods, droughts and fires. Even if the world keeps heating below 1.5C, and after the disappointment of COP26 this looks increasingly unlikely, by the end of the century, the effects will be catastrophic for the 3.5 billion people highly vulnerable to climate impacts. Over a billion people living on coasts will be at risk of serious flooding and 183 million are projected to go hungry because of the loss of farmland and protected habitat flooding by mid-century.

We all know what’s happening. There’s no denying it anymore, not to our mates and not to ourselves. The world is already in a state of collapse and the people holding power are hell-bent on making things worse through inaction and denial.

We reported on the launch of our 2022 Strategy last month. Since then XR has been carefully crafting a plan that aims to decisively turn the tide this year. We’re going to disrupt major fossil fuel infrastructure and shut it down until the government agrees to end the fossil fuel economy.

Do you want to look back in regret that you didn’t act when you could have? Now is the time, this is the moment. So don’t be a bystander. 

IPCC Report: It’s worse than you think!

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pulls no punches: what is at stake is ‘a livable and sustainable future for us all’. The report is the second instalment of a four-part report that is based on over 30,000 studies and documents and has been worked on by more than 1,000 scientists. It focuses on the probable impacts of the climate crisis and it makes grim reading!

Around 3.5 billion people live in regions highly vulnerable to climate change (half the global population). One in three people face exposure to deadly heat stress. Rising temperatures and rainfall will increase the spread of diseases – in people, livestock, crops and wildlife. Millions face food and water shortages. Coastal areas around the globe face inundation. Many wildlife species are being exposed to climate extremes not experienced for thousands of years, forcing them to move and making them vulnerable to extinction.

Flood defences in Ironbridge
Flood defences just holding last month in Ironbridge, Shropshire. But for how much longer? (Photo credit: J Bundy)

Failure to act decisively at COP26 left the target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees on the brink of collapse. The IPCC report only reinforces that view. But as Rupert Read wrote in the Independent last Tuesday, there is another kind of hope that stems from failure. In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi: “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can imagine.”

“By admitting we have failed bigger still, that the dream of 1.5C is gone,” writes Dr Read, “we can harvest and unleash greater power than we have dared to imagine. The power of our grief, our horror. The power of righteous rage. The much-needed power, which Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg have started to bring into our climate politics in the last few years, of truth.

“I refer you back to that great line from Star Wars. Ben Kenobi knew his time had come when he met Darth Vader. He also knew that accepting death was the only way to succeed, later.”

Airport (In)action

The good news first. At the end of last month, Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA) announced that it had no immediate plans for expansion. Airport officials told a meeting of stakeholders that while “expansion is in our thoughts” there were “no plans to expand in the short to medium term”, and In a move that parallels a long-standing campaign at nearby Manchester Airport, climate campaigners are intensifying their demands that Liverpool Council halt its support for the airport.

Meanwhile, in Yorkshire, campaigners welcomed a decision to hold a public enquiry into the Leeds Council’s decision to allow a £150m rebuild of Leeds Bradford Airport.

Leeds airport expansion protest
An XR Leeds protest on February 15 against expansion plans for LBA.

And the bad news? After a ten-week public enquiry and a further three months to study its material, the Government Inspectorate announced their decision to uphold Bristol Airport’s appeal to allow an extra two million passenger movements per year.

The decision has been received with disbelief, sadness, indignation and rage by all local activists and members of the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), who were instrumental in persuading North Somerset Council – the authority with jurisdiction over the airport – to reject the airport’s initial application for expansion.

In the intervening period, BAAN put together an overwhelming case against the airport’s expansion with the support of academics, teachers, medical authorities, economists, some business leaders and a large number of local inhabitants.  Their combined expertise seemed to add up to an irrefutable case.  However, the Inspectorate somehow managed to overturn logic, reason and the clearly demonstrated democratic wish of the local population.

In the words of Alex Chapman, senior researcher with the New Economics Foundation, this was “an illusion of public consultation”. Steve Clarke of BAAN insists this is not the end of its opposition as there is a strong case to be made that the decision contravenes the Paris Agreement and is, therefore, illegal. Others feel that as the decision is clearly political they have no recourse but to take disruptive action.

Bristol Airport expansion protest
Bristol Airport expansion protest (Photo BAAN)

Aviation currently accounts for 2% of global emissions and that may triple if growth resumes at its previous rate after the COVID slowdown.  And the damage is not just from CO2, aircraft also emit NOX and water vapour that may quadruple their total impact on climate. If aviation was a country, it would be the seventh worst polluter globally. That is why in 2018 Ryanair found its way into the top ten polluters in Europe: the other nine all run coal fired power stations!

Alongside other campaigners, XR is committed to action against the contribution of aviation to the climate emergency. There are many ways to reduce flying and make the expansion of airports unnecessary. For example:

  • Cutting aircraft fuel subsidies: the fuel tax exemption amounts to an annual subsidy of £60+ billion per annum in the UK, almost £100 per passenger for each transatlantic flight.
  • Making frequent flyers pay: shifting air tax away from ordinary holidaymakers and onto wealthy frequent fliers.
  • Improving alternative forms of transport, particularly rail, to make short haul flights redundant. 

Regional News

A Valentine’s Day Message

Feb 2022 | Warwick

Valentine's Day action in Leamington
Photo credit: David Hastings

On Valentine’s Day, people show their love for each other but on Saturday 12th February Extinction Rebellion Warwick District turned out in front of the Leamington Town Hall to show people their love for our beautiful planet. They had placards and an information board to explain their message. They invited the public to express their love of nature by writing down their thoughts on red hearts which were put on a pinboard for all to see.  Throughout the action, XR had a chance to talk to the public about what they thought about the state of nature and the planet. Children really engaged and leapt at the opportunity to express their love for nature. Overall the public engaged in a positive and supportive way and even performed the Beatles classic “All you need is love“ to cheer people up on a cold and windy day.

Better without Barclays

Barclays stop funding fossil fuels

In Plymouth, Brighton, Birmingham and in towns and cities right across the Midlands, actions continued last month as part of XR’s ‘Better without Barclays’ campaign aimed at cutting the finance giant’s investments in fossil fuels.

XR’s Dirty Scrubbers entered Barclaycard’s Northampton headquarters to give the building an unscheduled clean. After years of greenwash, we needed experts!

They were joined by a Freddie Mercury lookalike as they delivered the demand to Barclays to “stop funding fossil fuels”. The bank financed £4.1 billion for new fossil fuel projects from January 2021 to the eve of the UN climate summit (COP26).

It’s time for Barclays to “Break Free” from Fossil Fuels and to invest in clean, renewable energy instead. Watch the video here.


Rebel Radio

Rebel Radio

This exciting collaboration between Soho Radio and Extinction Rebellion brings you Rebel Radio live from Soho, London, every Friday from 10:00 am (London time).

Rebel Radio is a pop-up station with unique access to the inside story of Extinction Rebellion. We proactively set the news agenda. Driven by daring and curious voices, Rebel Radio expands the cultural conversation around the climate and ecological crisis.

Listen live on Soho Radio’s NYC + Culture Channel and listen again any time via Mixcloud.

Rebel Radio is currently recruiting producers, hosts, editors, researchers, and social media support for the April 2022 Rebellion and beyond. We are looking for people who can join us live in the London studio, but if you are living further afield you can help us with pre-recorded shows and packages, so do still apply!

Want to join a friendly team at the heart of XR UK with access to the ins and outs of XR within the UK and all over the world? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’d like you to get started asap so you’re ready for Rebellion.

Please email us: Follow @xr_rebelradio for regular updates.

Non-Violent DIrect Action Training

Non Violent Direct Action Training

The April Rebellion is on the horizon, it’s time to get your place booked on an NVDA training event.

You’ll learn about the history of Civil Disobedience, theories of Non-Violence, and essential NVDA skills, such as how to talk to the police, how to block a road, and how to use your support systems. No prior knowledge is needed, just fierce love of our planet and a sincere desire to protect all life.

Planned sessions are:

For more info about upcoming training and workshops, please join Rebel Radio’s sister channel Movement Broadcast:

Stop Oil Eco Criminals

March 20 | South Bank, Jubilee Gardens, London

World Water Day is on 22 March. It is an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993, that celebrates water and raises awareness of the two billion people currently living without access to safe water. A core focus of World Water Day is to inspire action towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Following on from recent Coastal Uprising actions, and in preparation for World Water Day, XR rebels will be taking to the streets in London on Sunday 20 March, 2-4pm. There will be African drummers, street theatre and activities by and for children, then a short walk to Shell HQ. 

The action is directed against oil eco criminals such as Shell who are polluting our water through their extraction and refining activities, with particularly disastrous consequences for indigenous populations. Water is a precious, scarce resource and a right for everybody. “Shell, you are on trial for ECOCIDE and crimes against future generations. Stop polluting our groundwater!”

For more information join the Signal group: UK Coastal rebellion @ Shell

Don’t Miss

Podcast |  Amitav Ghosh ‘Parables of Nutmegs and Genocide’

New from the XR Podcast team featuring the writer Amitav Ghosh, an influential Indian environmental thinker who has won many honours for his fiction. He’s also an academic and author of several substantial works of non-fiction, including The Great Derangement, an exploration of literature’s failure to address the climate and ecological emergency. His new work, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis, is the subject of this interview.

What is striking about Amitav’s work is that he is just as at home with the big picture of an unstable Earth, as he is talking about the personal agonies brought on by Covid, or the beautiful constellations found within a nutmeg and the myths it has inspired. He gives fresh and humane insights into the world today and writes with wisdom and compassion about the core issues of colonialism, racism and systemic genocide that are fundamental to the crisis we’re now in. Perhaps a career of crafting ten novels has put him in a good position to try to see everyone’s point of view, even the bad guys.

In person, Amitav Ghosh speaks modestly. In our times of swagger, shouting and bravado, it would be easy to underestimate that voice. But listen, and you’ll encounter a fierce intelligence, fed by insight and research. And in this interview, he speaks briefly of his grief in the face of what he sees as inevitable societal collapse.

Find the podcast here.

Video | Food for All

This video really warmed the hearts of the Newsletter team. It’s by the guys who do the cooking for our rebellions. Watch it here.

Website | GreenwashEarth

Did you know that you can vote through twitter @GreenwashEarth for your favourite Greenwasher of the month? Their website is a veritable treasure trove of information all about the nefarious art of greenwashing: claiming to care about the natural world while knowingly destroying it.

And surprise, surprise, this month’s winner is Luton Council. This is their reward for claiming they can develop a sustainable airport. Luton Airport currently emits around 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 plus another 200,000 tonnes of other greenhouse gasses. The projection is for this level of pollution to almost double when the planned expansion is in operation. You will find similar nonsense at Bristol Airport, at Heathrow, and at Manchester Airport, where they claim to be working towards zero emissions on their operations – but excluding all aircraft flights!

XR Global Newsletter

Photo credit: GlasgowHanahMcKay

This month the Global Newsletter focuses on the Women’s Climate Strike, and looks at why women are impacted more by the Climate Crisis than men. We also have a letter from XR Ukraine, reports from Tanzania and Indonesia, and much much more. Get the issue in your inbox on Friday March 18th. Subscribe now here.

The UK newsletter needs you!

Our regular UK Newsletter aims to be representative of the whole movement and its local and regional groups. So, please send in your news, feedback and comments.

You can email us at or join our channel on Mattermost: UK Emails and Newsletter Requests. The UK Newsletter normally comes out on the first Monday of the month, so the deadline for news, announcements and stories is the end of the preceding week.

Love and Rage,

The UK Newsletter Editing Team

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