London has been brought to a standstill. Roads have been blocked, bridges have been taken and trains have been stopped.
So why has the capital ground to a halt? Extinction Rebellion.
This climate justice group has descended on London for International Rebellion Week which has seen protests, speeches music performances, workshops and even a pop-up skate ramp and garden on Waterloo Bridge.
From Monday 15th April, they occupied Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus, blocking traffic and using nonviolent resistance to ensure their voice is heard. They glued themselves together, blocked roads, stopped trains and even staged a ‘die-in’ at London’s iconic Natural History Museum. So far there’s been over 1,000 arrests as protestors fight to be heard.
What are they fighting for? Their demand is simple. They’re pushing the Government to tell the truth about climate change, reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and create a citizen’s assembly to oversee the process.
So who are these eco-warriors?
“At the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary- we are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change.”
So how does being glued to a train avert climate emergency we hear you ask?
By using non-violent civil disobedience, Extinction Rebellion is committed to doing whatever is necessary to bring about change. And they’re not alone. The group has seen support from Emma Thompson, Massive Attack and Greta Thunberg who addressed the crowds by saying that nothing was being done to stop an ecological crisis “despite all the beautiful words and promises”.
And we couldn’t agree more.
Following The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the world learnt that we’ve already witnessed a 1C rise in temperature from pre-industrial levels, and a further increase to 2C would be catastrophic. Hello extreme weather: droughts, fires, flooding, and hurricanes are just the start. There’d be famines, mass extinctions, sea-level rises and more shocks than a horror movie.
But there is hope. Governments need to act fast and take some seriously radical steps. Yet, with politicians still warring over Brexit, Greta recently told Europe’s political leaders:
“If our house was falling apart our leaders wouldn’t go on like we do today. If our house was falling apart, you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment.”
So, with politicians unwilling to engage in important climate discussions it’s becoming apparent that the responsibility for preventing climate change will be led by the people. Businesses are starting to listen to consumer demands. Whether this is by the roll-out of new electric cars, switching to renewables or becoming carbon-neutral, many businesses are starting to lead the way in sustainability to help drive change.
As we write this, Extinction Rebellion protestors are marching to Parliament Square to target Politicians returning form their Easter break, to call on them to declare a climate emergency.
And contrary to popular belief, the group isn’t brimming with tree-hugging hippies! In fact, quite the opposite. Protestors have included scientists, city workers, business owners and even Team GB Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott. Climate Change affects all of us. Extinction Rebellion is united in fighting for our future – something which should resonate with us all.