Everything you need to know about Extinction Rebellion

16 August 2019

Extinction Rebellion is everywhere at the moment – on the news, across social media – and the chances are that you’ve seen their now iconic hourglass logo plastered around your local town.

With prominent figures such as David Attenborough calling on the public to do their bit for the planet, and young people around the world going on strike from school thanks to Greta Thunberg, the climate crisis we’re facing is more in the public eye than ever before.

But what is Extinction Rebellion, and how is it helping to combat climate change? Here’s everything you need to know about Extinction Rebellion.

What is Extinction Rebellion?

Extinction Rebellion, or ‘XR’, is a movement which protests climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. It works to make the government admit that we’re in the middle of a climate emergency, and start taking action to tackle it, using non-violent techniques to protest, including civil disobedience.

The movement was founded by a group of academics and scientists as a response to the IPCC report which found that there are only twelve years left before the effects of climate change are irreversible.

Their symbol is an hourglass, warning that we’re running out of time to reverse climate change and prevent us from hitting extinction.

When were Extinction Rebellion formed?

Extinction Rebellion was formed on 31 October 2018 by a group of activists, with an aim to rally support and create a sense of urgency about the need to tackle climate change.

What do Extinction Rebellion want?

XR has carefully developed three specific demands which it feels are essential to tackle the climate emergency we are facing. 

It is targeting the government and putting pressure on them to do more about climate change, and to face up to the climate emergency we’re in. They’re also demanding that the government and other organisations and businesses start to act immediately – with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025.

As well as focussing on the government, it’s working to make climate change a problem that can’t be ignored by anyone.

How is Extinction Rebellion protesting?

XR has been hitting headlines over the last few months with their non-violent but effective methods. They've shut roads, delayed trains, blocked the London Stock Exchange, and even disrupted a debate in the House of Commons – all making it impossible not to listen to what they have to say.

Although they have been steadily demonstrating since the start of 2019, in April they launched their biggest effort yet when they occupied five prominent sites in London – Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and the area around Parliament Square.

Oxford Circus was blocked off as activists parked a boat in the middle of the intersection which they glued themselves to, and Waterloo Bridge was shut when protesters blocked it off and set up gazebos, a temporary stage and even a skate ramp!

Over eleven days more than 1,000 people were arrested and the protests received constant press coverage.

What has Extinction Rebellion achieved?

As well as receiving a massive amount of press coverage which has given people no choice but to listen to their demands, XR has also put pressure on many councils and local authorities who have now declared climate emergencies. Many music, culture and arts organisations and some businesses are now declaring a climate emergency – including Ecotricity!

How can you be part of Extinction Rebellion?

Anyone can get involved with XR – and you don’t have to be willing to get arrested! Extinction Rebellion has a great step-by-step guide on their website about how you can get involved, with plenty of videos and info about the movement.

Luckily, XR is based all over Britain, so wherever you live there should be a group you can get involved in, doing as much or as little as you’d like.

You can also donate to Extinction Rebellion, because it is funded mainly through crowdfunding, donors, non-government organisations and foundations.

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