Change is now: Support for civil resistance is growing - Extinction Rebellion UK

Change is now: Support for civil resistance is growing

A lot has happened since actions demanding an end to all new fossil fuel projects kicked off on April 1st. Extinction Rebellion and the Just Stop Oil coalition blockaded oil facilities around the UK, thousands sat down in the streets of central London in a mass demonstration of people power, doctors and nurses targeted HM Treasury for its complicity in the climate crisis and scientists were arrested for refusing to continue to comply with a government which is leading us off a cliff.  

Nonviolent civil resistance is inevitably, even intentionally, controversial and often unpopular, but as the gravity of the climate crisis becomes more apparent, support for those who are putting their freedom on the line to speak up is growing. 

In this review of media commentary we look at some articles which have voiced support for the Rebellion over the last few weeks.

“The fastest way to get Extinction Rebellion to stop is to listen to them”

Environment Correspondent at the Independent Harry Cockburn encouraged readers angered by XR’s disruption to redirect their frustration towards the government. Writing as the Rebellion was playing out on the streets he noted that XR’s demand to put an immediate end to all new fossil fuel projects was not only reasonable but also in line with the UK’s existing net-zero goals. 

Read Harry’s article in full here.

London, UK. 16 April 2022. Extinction Rebellion take to the streets of central London to demand an immediate end to all new fossil fuel projects.

“I will stick my neck out: the protesters are in the right. The media and political establishment which condemns them is living in a fantasy land.”

Writing in the Tablet, theologist Carmody Grey explores the pervasiveness of denial in British society and tracks her own journey to coming out in support of Just Stop Oil. She notes that civil resistance is “indeed a politics of desperation” but concludes that in the face of the “insanity” of denial, nonviolent action is the only rational response left to those who refuse to turn a blind eye to the crisis. 

Read Carmody’s piece in full here.

London, UK. 11 April, 2022. Miranda Wheelan from Just Stop Oil is interviewed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

“These protestors may not be the heroes we all want, but they are the heroes we all need.”

Writing for iNews, James Dyke, pushed back at the idea that society at large will generally like, or even be comfortable with, the people driving action on the climate crisis. Arguing for the necessity of nonviolent civil disobedience, he asked: “Has any social progress from the abolition of slavery, votes for women, to the decriminalisation of homosexuality ever been achieved by asking politely?”

Read James’ piece in full here

London, UK. 16 April 2022. A young climate protector is arrested on the second day of Extinction Rebellion actions in central London. Credit: Tomm Morton/TheLightscaper

“The actions by Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion are extremely timid when compared to the scale of the genocidal threat.”

In his weekly column for the Independent, Donnachadh McCarthy points to the importance of nonviolent civil resistance. With the Secretary General of the UN siding with activists and calling out the “madness” of continued investment in fossil fuels, Donnachadh argues that we are living through an existential battle, the outcome of which will determine whether or not we “pull back from the edge”. 

Read Donnachadh’s column here.

London, UK. 9 April 2022. Extinction Rebellion march from Hyde Park for the first day of ‘The April Rebellion’ a highly disruptive mass protest in central London. Credit: Andrea Domeniconi/Alamy Live News

“What are you doing to resist the worst health crisis of our times?”

Following Doctors for Extinction Rebellion actions in April, medical researcher and climate justice campaigner Rhiannon Osborne called on the health community to step up. Writing in the British Medical Journal she insisted that those who care about public health must resist the UK’s expansion of oil and gas.  

Read Rhiannon’s full piece here.

London, UK. 10 April 2022. A Doctor is arrested on Lambeth Bridge in central London at a protest by health workers calling for an end to new fossil fuel projects.

Title image: London, UK. 13 April 2022. Extinction Rebellion and XR Scientists glued themselves to the doors of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy. Credit: Andrea Domeniconi/Alamy Live News

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