Theory of Change

Extinction Rebellion’s Theory of Change

This Theory of Change was developed by pooling knowledge, ideas and research from many sources, both inside and outside the movement. 

Representatives from our working groups and a panel of randomly selected members of the UK movement participated in a strategy-setting process over 3 months this year. This process aimed to synthesise ideas of non-violent direct action, deliberative democracy tools, self-organising communities, and regenerative culture into a useful strategic framework to guide the future actions of Extinction Rebellion UK. The following version of the Theory of Change forms a section of the strategy framework and will evolve based on our learnings and experience applying it. 

We acknowledge what we owe to our predecessors and are grateful for the mountain of work that has been done to enable us to be where we are today. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants.

Brief Introduction to Extinction Rebellion’s Theory of Change

Truth is at the heart of Extinction Rebellion’s theory of change. It is our core belief that humanity’s best chance of survival is to face up to the reality of where we are. 

As a society, we must accept the scientific consensus that climate and ecological breakdown have already begun and will continue as the planet continues to warm. 

We must understand that the way our world is set up, our political and economic systems, is based on ruthlessly exploiting the planet’s natural resources and human beings for the gain of a tiny fraction of the global population. This has gone too far.

To survive the biggest existential threat in all of human history we must work together at a global scale in a way that has never been seen before. We need to stop destroying the planet and start building a new system that supports life. 

We believe everything begins with personal transformation. Our own stories and how we connect to the crisis are the foundational truths that will help move us into action. A mother saying ‘That’s enough’. A child saying ‘I will fight for my future’. A person seeing a catastrophe on TV and saying ‘It’s not all about me’. Your best friend saying ‘I will stand up’.

Transformation comes when we are no longer okay with the path we have carved out for ourselves, and instead choose another way. 

By engaging in direct action and mass civil disobedience, we rediscover the power we hold when we come together in our thousands, our millions, to stand up for what is right.

We will put pressure on our governments and institutions to step up in this time of emergency, and we will enlist them to drive global change. 

We will support each other in strong, resilient communities, the bedrock of a compassionate society that is committed to doing whatever it takes. We commit wholeheartedly to justice and to doing the inner and outer work needed to begin to repair our social fabric, including centering historically marginalised voices.

By learning new tools for collaborating and making decisions, we will prefigure a new democracy that is fit for purpose in these desperate times. Together, we will adapt to cope with the future ahead. 

To do this, we will work to engage every person in the truth of the crisis we face. This is not a task for a few activists or advisory committees. This is not a task that should fall on the shoulders of a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl. 

This is OUR challenge, and it will take ALL of us to win. 

Our approach is deliberately broad and embraces different models of change. The situation is desperate. We are desperate. We refuse to let pride and division stand in the way of survival.  

We need everybody now.  

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