Presenters Ed for the first part (whys) and Kayla for the second (what). Chris Frankland and Lisa Johnson from Transition were also present. Chris noticed a younger demographic than at the MEPs Climate Emergency Debate and commented that these looked like parents rather than grandparents. There was also a sprinkling of 20 somethings.
WHY – ED
Ed presented the case for non-violent direct action. He explained that human release of CO2 was putting a thicker ‘blanket’ of atmosphere around the earth and showed the chart of near vertical rise of atmospheric CO2 since the International Panel on Climate Change was formed in 1988. This he linked to a bell curve of average temperatures shifting towards the hotter. Ed described feedback loops on land resulting in the release of methane and faster warming whilst in the oceans changes in currents were causing those animals who could migrate to do so. The result, Ed said was the 6th mass extinction of animals, particularly amphibians but also a loss of the plant life that holds carbon. This he asserted, was happening unnaturally rapidly because of the weight of human population, habitat destruction and pollution which cut down nature’s resilience.
Ed rested the case for non-violent action on the claim that governments have known about the lethal consequences of modern human activitiy since prior to 1988 and not acted to stem it. He said that the Paris agreement was not binding on the countries who signed up to it and several significant countries such as Australia did not take part. Ed mentioned a ‘collective denial’ on the part of governments which Extinction Rebellion aimed to counter. Ed said that faced with the situation ‘doing is therapy’ to helplessness.
WHY – Kyla
Kyla made the following points in support of Ed’s expose:
- Warming temperatures, desert advance and water scarcity would cause human migration but some people cannot afford to move.
- We have a right to rebell because Governments are not acting in our best interests. Ours has scrapped renewable energy schemes, expanded airports and allowed fracking. It has prioritised carparks and relief roads rather than collective transport and approved a new coal mine in Cumbria,
- Local politics have been tried and made no difference. Current law does not force the change we need.
- Earth day is in September. The problem is too big for individual action and the government is not on track to meet their climate agreements.
- Democratic governments are short term playing to a 5 year popular vote.
- Capitalism attributes costs to the now, not to the future.
- The planet’s health is not costed nor are our own health and well-being.
The cause of stemming climate change and the ruination of the planet cannot be won by playing by the rules. It takes 3.5% of the popultion to act to effect change.
Radically changing course requires the infliction of economic damage and disruption where the power is. IE London. This must be non-violent in word and deed, remembering that the emergency is no individual’s fault. In this way Extinction Rebellion wish police response to seem disproportionate.
A Declaration of Rebellion was made in 2018 with the following three demands :
- Tell the truth about the Eco-Crisis and declare a climate emercency. (Kyla said those already declared are not legally binding and Stockport’s for instance, has an economic clause.)
- Act now.
- Form a Citizen’s Assembly drawn from the general population to decide measures for climate and ecological justice that parliament would implement. This would be above politics.
Extinction Rebellion is a de-centralised movement with a loose co-ordinating team. Anyone acting in their name should consult the 10x published principals and check with 2 other ‘rebels’.
There are local working groups including Stockport and Wilmslow who meet in the Brew House Wednesdays at 7.30pm. Contact name: Tom.
Ways of contributing include art, music, legal, media platforms moderation and presentations.
Co-ordinating team organise actions which are disruptive such as die-ins, banner hanging and ‘arrestables’.
Kyla said ‘Arrestables are at the heart of our actions’ but she added that for every person arrested there are 20 ‘legal observers’.
London for 2 weeks from October 7th Extinction Rebellion will take over Westminster.
It is illegal to be politically active outside Westminster but you have to be warned so those who move when asked will not be arrested.
The police have difficulty dealing with nice, non-violent people breaking the law.
There is no time to play by the rules.