Unite to Win: A groundbreaking coalition of groups to join 'The Big One' - Extinction Rebellion UK

Unite to Win: A groundbreaking coalition of groups to join ‘The Big One’

On the day that the IPCC issued its “survival guide for humanity” Extinction Rebellion revealed the first tranche of organisations that have committed to joining us outside parliament in April. The groups include trades unions as well as national organisations campaining on the environment, international development, peace, social justice and the defence of our public services.

This monumental occasion is expected to draw an estimated 100,000 participants, aims to unite people across the UK in demanding systemic changes to politics to tackle the intertwined crises of climate, cost of living, and politics. 

The full list of organisations is: PCS Union, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Global Justice Now, NHS Workers Say No, BLM Merseyside, Viva, Earth Day, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Compass, Right to Roam, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Don’t Pay UK,  Global Women’s Strike, Mothers Rise Up, Greener Practice, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Women of Colour Global Strike, Fossil Free London, M.P. Watch, Parents For Future, NEU Climate Change Network, PAN UK, Winvisible, Women Against Rape, Fuel Poverty Action, Stop Rosebank, Withdraw Consent, Women’s Climate Action, Women’s Climate Strike, Campaign Against Climate Change, Climate Justice Coalition.

At this turbulent moment in UK political history people are joining the dots between the many crises we face and recognising that we need to come together to win.

John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS Union said: “PCS members understand the need to coordinate across our movements to win our demands for better pay and to safeguard jobs. The climate and nature emergency requires the same to win the future we desperately need in the face of multiple crises.”

Mel Evans of Greenpeace said: “We believe that we will win as a movement. The more people that come, the louder our message will be.”

Zoë Howard from Don’t Pay UK said: “The energy and climate crises are inextricably linked. The extortionate energy prices we pay line the pockets of fossil fuel company shareholders and fund the breakdown of our climate.”

NHS Say No co-founder Holly Blackler said: “We have experienced a pandemic and a heatwave that has taken us to the limit of our endurance. These two issues are intertwined. The climate crisis is unfolding in front of us and we are deeply concerned about our patients.”

With public trust in government at an all time low and corruption in plain sight, democracy in the UK is under threat. The climate crisis and the crisis in society share the same root cause, with the majority of people being forced to pay for crises not of our making while a tiny minority make vast profits. In April thousands will come together to demand that change happens with us, not to us.

By taking place over multiple days, The Big One seeks to create a positive social tipping point, because history clearly demonstrates that mass, sustained protest works. The Big One will last for four days from the 21st to the 24th April – including Earth Day on the 22nd – with people returning day after day to keep up the pressure. We will transform the streets with a diverse programme of speakers, performers, and interactive workshops. People’s Pickets will be staged at at least seven key government department locations, addressing crucial issues in the environment, education, health, housing and work.

XR Local Groups have also been building connections with community groups and unions, such as Norwich Trade Union Council and Unite Grassroots Climate Justice Caucus. Exeter Community Alliance, representing 30 local community groups said: “We have been counting down the days until we all go to London together to draw attention to the fact that the government is failing in its duty in not tackling the climate and environmental crises. Opening coal mines and licensing new oil fields having declared a climate emergency is incoherent. They have succumbed to pressure to give NHS workers a much deserved pay rise, they now need to realise that there is a need for similar support for serious efforts to ensure our children and future generations can enjoy a planet not ruined by a lack of political willpower.”

We’re made to believe that our struggles are independent of one another and that each needs tackling before the other. But they aren’t. Those who profit from destroying our world want us to believe that. And they win time and time again by dividing the rest of us, pushing us to fight each other. But what Power is most afraid of is people setting aside their differences to stand together. We can overcome our fear and mistrust of each other and rediscover our power. This is survival solidarity – for us all. 

Because despite the corruption deep in the heart of our politics, ordinary people are ready to create a fairer, safer, better world. If politicians refuse to listen to the needs of the general public, refuse to listen to millions striking for better pay, refuse to tackle the climate and ecological crisis, refuse to prioritise people suffering during the cost of living crisis over energy company profits, then it’s up to us to turn things around.

It is possible to change society in a way that is just and fair, to put care for people and nature at the forefront. It is possible to rediscover our collective power and change the course of history together. To make this a reality, this moment calls for a mass movement to stand together and become impossible to ignore.

Have you signed up for The Big One yet? If not, sign up here!