from our Mistakes.
Create Peace and Happiness.
Interact with No Harm.
Teach through Kind Action.
Experience Wilderness Quiet.
Kelly's Sacred Rites
Flagstaff, AZ (46 mins)
Dance and Song.
Protect and Care.
Recycle, Reuse and Create
Save Our Wild Earth, Her Animals,
Land, Plants, Water, and Air
|XR Earth March: the Last Leg (fb)|
If you’d like to perform on one of our stages: sign up here
As a speaker or workshop leader sign up here: sign up here
Flags and Banners Gathering April 15th 11.30am, Parliament Square - Join us with your own colourful flags and banners to demand that the government creates a Citizen’s Assembly, to deliberate decisions about the most effective way for the UK to become carbon-neutral by 2025. The united banners will reflect the diverse geographic spread of the movement and give a strong message to the world.
Dead Canary Emissary April 15th 11.30am onwards, Parliament Square - The Irish prime Minister said “If we were miners, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries”. In honour of all the canaries that died in mines during the industrial revolution and to symbolically present the government with an image of mass extinction, please bring a puppet of a dead canary with you. Or sponsor one to be made. All the canaries will be placed in an enormous pile in Parliament Square. If you can’t be there at 11.30am, bring your canary during the day!
Skeletons for Rebellion April 15, time tbc
Join us for a Funeral Procession parading images of extinction through the streets. Bring puppets of skeletons of extinct or endangered species, including humans. Or take part in the funeral procession (dress in black) with a soulful marching band.
Join the facebook group to see instructional videos on how to make your skeletons.
Species Graveyard April 15th
Print out these placards to raise awareness of the minimum 200 species going extinct every year. Here’s a link to the PDF and PPT on how to create the graveyard as a pop-up installation which can be replicated and brought out to protests: https://we.tl/t-VpgnLjJKPu
Street Art April 15th-17th, location tbc
Bring your artwork to the rebellion! Please mount or frame your work as you'd like it displayed. Write your name and contact details on the back. Your work must be easily transportable on foot.
Sounding the 12 Years April 15th - 17th, time tbc
Churches will be ringing their bells during Rebellion week, 12 times to signify the number of years the UN have told us we have to make a positive impact on our climate.
Bring an instrument to bang or ring, such as a small bell or a cooking pot and a spoon or an air-raid siren! Our sounds will kick off the Rebellion and create a voluminous cacophony twelve times to signify the number of years the UN have told us we have to make a positive impact on our climate.
The Silence Ends: A Chorus of Voices April 15th, time tbc
Add your voice to sound the opening of the rebellion and end the silence about the climate emergency. This will be huge - we need all of you to join this powerful spoken word event. If your group would like to join in, print out the words off the FB event or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Performance Training for Activists
Join these liberating and inspiring training sessions with Lucy Hopkins. Watch this space for videos coming next week - so you can spread the game through Rebellion!
Cosmo Sheldrake (musician) is brewing a sound-based action which requires lots of people to bring a portable speaker that can jack into their phone (bring a lead - Bluetooth has a lag). The app is in development and will involve a chorus of Birdsong.
Callout for actors to perform a monologue written by April de Angelis, to be performed at various locations during the Rebellion. We are offering workshops with the experienced practitioner, Anna Birch. The workshops will be held near Euston from 9.30am- 2pm on Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th April. If you would like to join a workshop please email: email@example.com
Alarm! This BRILLIANT ACTION can be rehearsed and replicated by affinity groups. Make some noise, and amplify it from your phone by carrying a portable amplifier. Watch the video on how to prepare for this action: Dorking, Sound the Alarm
Earth Speaks April 15th
Spoken Word, Rap, Poetry and Song will speak for the Earth, using the ancient art of oration to alert others to the current climate crisis. Artists will have designated stage time and amplification to perform their work. If you’re interested contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Earth
Here’s a reminder of our ongoing call to cultural organisations, writers, artists to lead the change in Culture Declares Emergency by writing their letter to the earth. Bring it to read out during Rebellion.
REBELLION - WARM UP
Fashion Action & Family Bee Swarm - Friday 12th April Oxford Circus, London
Join the Fashion Circus - dynamic sustainable fashion show in the street at Oxford Circus on 12th April then swarm to Buckingham Palace to demand a response from the queen (bee)! Families and all children welcome. This is a fundraising event with all proceeds to XR!
Samba for Rebellion
Join an XR Samba Band! We are going to have at least two Samba bands and there will be workshops for new players the weekend before Rebellion Sat 13 - Sun 14th April, likely near Euston. If you already play Samba and then get in touch so we can allocate you a drum and space.
We hope you feel inspired to share your creativity in this celebration of life and rebellion against extinction. If your group has already got a creative idea on the go then we can’t wait to see it!!!
Get in touch
If you’re in London on the 14th of April, please consider coming to support our incredible Earth Marchers as they make their way into London. Some of them have walked from as far away as Land's End, and deserve every bit of welcome we can give!
Marchers will be staying at sites around the edge of London over the night of the 13th, and on the 14th will enter London in earnest, converging for a welcome reception at Hyde Park.
The reception at Hyde Park will include speeches, music (details to come), dancing and food. Marchers and rebels alike are encouraged to set up tents to stay in Hyde Park overnight, ready to join the rebellion as soon as they rise in the morning!
We'll see you there!
document provides practical information for anyone interested in
joining the Rebellion in the UK. If you are an international group,
please feel free to adapt this information for the rebellion in your
own country. |
This is it! From 15 April we hit the streets to demand emergency government action.
We are focusing on capital and major cities where the government and big business are based. Those of us unable to be in the capitals will take action in other localities.
We will block streets every day to build up pressure on the authorities. We’re committed to giving what it takes as everything’s at stake. We are here to Tell the Truth and Act as if it’s Real. Book two weeks off work from 15th April.
Civil Disobedience works when it’s disruptive, peaceful and respectful and undertaken on a mass scale. We don’t want to disrupt people, but our governments’ criminal negligence over 30 years leaves us no choice. If we had functioning democracies we wouldn’t need to. We’ve tried petitions, marches, letters, reports, papers, meetings, even direct actions. They’ve failed. Emissions continued to rise. Governments prioritise the short term interests of the economic elites, so we have to disrupt the economy to get their attention. To get our three demands met. To save all we love.
We need thousands of people to take to the streets, so spread the word. From the first night, we’ll start a wide diversity of cultural events – music, theatre, visual art, speakers, trainings. The more we do the more people we will attract. As more join, we will grow bigger, faster, and have a wider effect.
Action is now taking place all around the world. Join us. This is it! Extinction Rebellion.
From 11am Monday 15 April Parliament Square London
Keywords: Come to stay. Take two weeks off work. Bring a tent.
Non-Violent Direct Action
Police & Arrests
Changes On The Day
At 11 am on Monday 15 April we are inviting you to gather in Parliament Square. We will take our message to the British Parliament and the Government asking for a meeting to seriously discuss our demands for emergency action. If there is no response we will set up camp in Parliament Square and several other key locations in Central London. Please bring a tent and food. This is a peaceful, alcohol & drug-free event.
If there is still no agreement to meet we will split into groups and sit down in numerous roads going into central London, effectively blocking road access into the centre of the city.
A programme will go live, welcoming all to join online. Londoners will be able to come down to the occupations and join the party.
What We’ll Create at Each Site
We’re currently planning and creating:
Amazing visual art installations for each site, helping to Hold the Vision and generating curiosity – ‘you’ve got to go and see…’
Music, theatre and other performances – starting with Big Public Performances at 6pm 15th April– not to be missed!
Public Assemblies– modelling the Direct, Deliberative Democracies of Citizen’s Assemblies – a chance for us all to learn, share, deliberate…
Tours and Actions spinning off from each site – bringing the Rebellion to other parts of London, guiding people to all our sites and to other key sites for learning and disruption.
Themes – each Site will have a theme Holding the Vision of the 3 Demands and the world we’re creating.
Some Days will also be themed – linking with particular partners, allies and movements. E.g. food on World Peasants Day e.g. fossil fuel free day when friends and allies from diverse movements will join us.
Sites will have:
Learning Spaces – lots of interactive workshops, teach-outs, and inspirational speakers.
Wellbeing Area– where we can support ourselves emotionally and physically.
Kids’ Space– not a crèche – kids under 12 must be supervised.
Activities Area: lots of games and activities – fun for all the family!.
Kitchens serving freshly prepared food
Toilets and Washing facilities
Non-Violent Direct Action
We insist on nonviolence – the showing of respect to each other whatever our background and to the public and police. We are here to non-violently pressure the government to undertake action to protect the public and will not be distracted from this clear and singular aim.
An Affinity Group is a support group for doing actions. If you are not a member of an affinity group, please join a non-violent direct action (NVDA) training (information on the Extinction Rebellion Facebook Events page) where you can form or join one.
Before April 15th, affinity groups across regions of the UK will be assigned responsibility to block different areas of the city centre. They will make decisions on how best to do this themselves. They can decide to swarm – block streets until arrest looks possible and then move to a new location, or stay until they are arrested. Affinity groups will be asked which tactics they wish to adopt.
Police and Arrests
We will speak to the police to ensure that public safety is prioritised and to ensure any arrests are carried out in a civil and lawful way. XR will respond to such assurances by ensuring that police are treated with respect and everyone involved in the rebellion remains nonviolent in their actions and communications. Our opponent is the government not police officers.
If the authorities decide to move or arrest rebels we will sit peacefully on the ground – we will not assist or resist arrest. We will then set up camp again at a pre-planned alternative site. If we are arrested and detained then, once released, we will return to blocking the streets. We will call on the general public to join us in this escalation of mass participation civil disobedience.
Changes on the day
Decisions on when and where to move locations will be made by Extinction Rebellion Action and Logistics teams on the basis of views from the people taking part and a strategic assessment of how to achieve our aims. The organisation of the camps will be based upon the organisation of small groups. One person from each group will meet together in various decision-making spaces so there is participation in the site organisation.
Those of us coming from outside London, where possible, will walk, cycle, train and bus to arrive by 9am on 15 April, to be ready to meet at 11am at Parliament Square.
However, if you would like to join the Earth March for their final leg, please join us in Richmond Park on the morning of Sunday 14. Stay tuned to the Facebook page for updates – more details to follow.
We are intending to occupy our street locations until the Government heed our cry of Rebellion. We need as many rebels as possible to camp out.
So come with your camping gear, and join the hundreds of Earth Marchers and cyclists who will have been camping on their way to London. Bring tents, sleeping bags, ground-mats, headtorch, waterproofs, toilet roll & other camping essentials. Large bags of food and instruments are also very welcome. Please read through this guide:
Tents may get confiscated by police so free/cheap tents are available online, at festivals, car boot sales, charity shops, etc. Each Local Group is encouraged to bring as many tents as possible and let us know numbers.
Please note that taking part in the rebellion may result in arrest and all those taking part need to be aware of this. The most likely reason for arrests for sitting in the road is “obstruction of the highway”. This is a minor offense and if the authorities decide to take you to court you are most likely to get a conditional discharge or a small fine. For full information click here.
If you plan to camp, we strongly recommend arranging back-up accommodation. If you have friends and family in London, please ask them to host you, so we can all take breaks to ensure our Rebellion is sustainable.
If you can’t camp, please ask London-based friends if they can host you, or arrange accommodation yourself. If you are unable to camp and don’t have contacts in London, we can help organise accommodation.
Click here to request/offer accommodation or any kind of indoor space in London for the rebellion Please complete this form by 31 March.
If you have a big tent/marquee/dome tent please get in touch.
Questions and Answers on 15th April
What is the situation with Climate Change and Ecological Breakdown?
We are facing the extinction of millions of species including humans. Governments are allowing carbon pollution into the atmosphere faster than at any point in history. This is warming up the Arctic and the ice will be all melted in a matter of a few years, maybe this year. Once that happens there will be no cooling system for the earth, temperatures will soar and weather chaos will destroy crops. The result will be mass starvation and the breakdown of society. This process is one of many which are presently set to destroy our ability to eat and live as the global ecological crisis takes hold. Governments need to take emergency action now. It’s real. It’s happening.
What is Extinction Rebellion?
What is happening on the 15 April?
We are starting a rebellion against the British Government for criminal inactivity on the climate and ecological emergency. We are going to central London and will sit down and block streets each day and all day until the government agrees to meet with young people to seriously discuss our demands for emergency action. We are prepared to be arrested and detained. If we are released we will return to blocking the streets until the government responds. The rebellion will start at 11 am Monday 15 April in Parliament Square London. See Extinction Rebellion social media for daily gathering and assembly points after Monday.
Why are you rebelling?
Look at it this way. You go to the doctor and she tells you have cancer. You have a choice – do nothing and you will die – or radically change the way you live your life and have a chance of surviving. It the same with climate change – except with one big difference. If you don’t change your children will die as well – and all the human race – everyone will be gone forever. That’s what will happen if we don’t act. We must rebel until the government takes the emergency seriously.
We don’t want to be arrested but are prepared to do so to highlight the total emergency we now face. Being arrested shows how strongly we feel. We are prepared to lose our liberty to wake up the public and the government. Previous great movements for change broke the law, and involved mass arrests and imprisonment. This is how we won our rights in the past. There can be no radical change without disruption and sacrifice. This is the only we can challenge entrenched political power. It’s just the way it is. We are over standing by and letting our world be destroyed. We are now doing what is most effective – mass civil disobedience.
You are just going to upset people. How will that create change?
Yes, we will upset people and yes this is how to create change. There are three main ways to create change. You can do conventional campaigning – send emails, give donations to NGOs, go on marches. We have tried that for 30 years and it has been a total failure – that is why we are in our dire state today. You can choose violence – that causes disruption and gets attention but destroys democracy and the relationships which we need to respond effectively to the crisis. The third option is mass participation in civil disobedience. We create mass disruption but through our respect to the authorities, we keep open the channels of communication needed to resolve the crisis. This is not a pretty process and is not meant to be. People do not change the habits of a lifetime through information and persuasion. They have to get upset and mad at you. And then some, enough change, because they know deep down you are right. As Gandhi said – first they ignore you, then they laugh at you then they fight you then you win. We are ready for the fight because we need to win.
What will you do if the government agrees to talk to you?
We specifically want three things – that the government and media come clean with the public and tell then the truth on how dire things really are, that they transform the economy and society to get us to net zero carbon emissions by 2025, and lastly they set up an independent national citizens assembly – of ordinary people to deliberate what specific policies are needed to reduce carbon emissions. We are democrats – we believe the people of the country have a right to decide their future – not the politicians who have been corrupted by the influence of the rich and powerful. We will decide whether we are to live or die. That is why we are rebelling.
Will emergency vehicles be able to get through?
The authorities will be fully briefed on this action allowing opportunity for rerouting. Ambulances will have access to the blockade zones.
Okay, so how do I join?
Come down to Parliament Square 11 am 15 April. Come to stay. This is the most important thing in the world right now. So let’s do it. If you are unable or unwilling to participate in the action please consider supporting us via funding or volunteering on our back-office support teams.
All people who join the space will be required to take part in a short briefing which will explain Extinction Rebellion principles, rules, and practices. A written briefing will be handed to all participants.
Indy Radio Video Commentary
and b.s. Corporate News
Off Grid News
Music and Peace Festivals
Miscellaneous and Reference
It's Now Official!
The Plan for a Green New Deal
Introduced Feb. 7, 2019,
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)
WITNESS BOX STATEMENT – Angie Zelter, Hendon Magistrates Court 25th June 2019 - Extinction Rebellion
Words – 4,451 words. Time to read out – 30 minutes max
I am now 68 years of age but when I was 21, in my final year at university, I read the January edition of ‘The Ecologist’ magazine, called ‘Blueprint for Survival’. This had an enormous impact on me as it introduced the major problems then facing the world – war, poverty, acid rain, ozone depletion, desertification, deforestation, species loss, civil and military uses and abuses of nuclear power, pollution, population growth, consumerism and climate change.
I had been through a university education and been unaware of these major problems. I determined to educate myself and devote my life to helping solve these problems. After spending 3 years in Cameroon, learning about the long lasting impact of British colonialism and racism, the deforestation for timber, oil palm production and other cash crops, and the exploitation of the rich resources of Africa to the detriment of locals and enrichment of corporations and western societies, I returned home to the nuclear weapons Cold War crisis.
I joined the Greenham Common protests, founded the Snowball Civil Disobedience Campaign and then later Trident Ploughshares which won the Right Livelihood Award in 2001. Alongside the nuclear crisis that still haunts us today, I became involved in work on climate change. Lecturers in Climate Science at the University of East Anglia provided expert witness statements for me when defending my nonviolent direct actions against nuclear weapons. And this is how I was first acquainted with the nuclear winter that would result if only a very few nuclear warheads were used. I learnt that everything is connected and that it all has an impact on the climate, on biodiversity and on the sustainability of life on earth. I discovered more details about how our reliance on fossil fuels was causing the greenhouse effect and soon joined with climate scientists and local environmentalists, to start a group in Norwich that tried to educate the public about greenhouse gases and climate change.
We had maps up of how much of East Anglia and London would be under water as temperatures soared and the sea levels rose. This was in the early ‘80’s – almost 40 years ago. We concentrated on what individuals could do to lower their carbon footprints, by putting up solar panels, changing our light bulbs, recycling and re-use, eating less meat, using public transport and giving up our cars, shopping carefully and locally, and consuming less.
After discovering the impact that UK timber imports was having on the loss of old growth forests and their biodiversity I even got involved in carbon sinks and sustainable forest management. I was part of the UK Forest Network and worked with major UK timber importers to persuade them to stop importing old growth timber stolen from indigenous reserves in South America and Asia and was part of the process that set the UK standards for the Forest Stewardship Council.
But of course this was never going to be enough. Governments had to get involved and make systemic changes. Individuals changing their personal lifestyles was not enough. However, very few people and governments listened to us. We were considered Cassandras, doom mongers, nihilists, mad. But if Governments had acted then we would not be at crisis point now.
I will not go into more details about my personal activities over the last 40 years, but I hope it shows that my actions during the week of 15th to 20th April this year were not taken spontaneously or lightly but came out of lifetime concerns and that I have tried everything I could think of to create the changes necessary to combat climate change and prevent catastrophic collapse.
The basis for my belief that there is a Climate Emergency
I will now quickly present some evidence of the materials that have had most impact and influence upon me and the basic information that was in my possession and which I was aware of before my action. These will show why I believe that without urgent and systemic changes in our society it is likely that civilisation will collapse along with global ecosystems. They will also explain my motivation for refusing to leave a protest area on 17th April.
1. We are already living through a mass extinction of other species and it is now clear that this is due to human activities. If we do not change, our own species is likely to suffer the same fate.
2. In the very near term we are less at risk in the UK than in other parts of the world. However, many here are already feeling the impact, in particular the young and the old. The 2003 heat-wave, attributed by researchers to climate change, caused the loss of 70,000 lives across Europe, including in the UK. Homes in parts of the UK, such as Carlisle and Manchester, are already uninsurable due to flood risk. Tens of thousands of lives are lost every year in the UK due to air pollution attributable to fossil fuels, with children’s lungs badly affected.
3. Carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change, stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and much of the change we’re experiencing is now already ‘locked in’.
4. There is mounting evidence that we are accelerating towards runaway climate change and a ‘hothouse earth’, leading to conditions that will no longer support human life.
5. In October 1988, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the United Nations Environment Programme Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) issued a report based on their research project, co-ordinated by the Stockholm Environment Institute. It was to establish appropriate limits for global warming and concluded as follows:
“Temperature increases beyond 1.0 °C may elicit rapid, unpredictable, and non- linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage ….”
6. By 2018 the 1˚C limit had already been breached.
7. Let’s clarify the concept of “non-linear responses”. At a certain point feedback effects in the climate system will lead to a ‘tipping point’, beyond which the world will continue to warm rapidly, even if human emissions of greenhouse gases were to cease altogether. Ice, for example, reflects heat away from the earth’s surface. As the world warms, sea ice melts, to be replaced with dark water which, instead of reflecting heat away from the earth’s surface, absorbs it, speeding up the process of ice melt, in a vicious cycle of warming. With rising temperatures forest fires increase in frequency and severity. Trees which were absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, instead release it, further compounding the warming process.
8. Lord Deben (the current Chair of the Committee on Climate Change) described the ‘tipping point’ in the following terms (in a 2007 report for the Shadow Cabinet): “Tipping point This refers to the point at which these changes in the climate system lead to runaway global warming.
At this stage, what little influence we had on the climate system will no longer have any effect on the outcome. Runaway global warming could lead to mass extinction.” (emphasis added)
9. In 2008, when the UK’s Climate Change Act became law, the “absolute temperature limit” of 2˚C was used as the goal for UK targets, as noted by the House of Commons Environmental Committee in its review of the Climate Change Bill:
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed to us that the Government was still completely committed to limiting global warming to a rise of 2˚C. By stressing the dangers even of this level of warming, he emphasised the reasons why the UK and EU were committed to holding a rise in temperature at no more than 2˚C: ‘Just to put that in perspective, I was told … that with a two-degree average change it will not be uncommon to have 50˚C in Berlin by mid century, … and I think that is quite a sobering demonstration because 50˚C is beyond our experience….Climate change is on a different scale from any other political challenge. Its potential effects could be both physically and economically devastating. It is not just the size but the timing of these effects that poses such a challenge …”.
10. From about 2010, however, there was increasing recognition that the 2˚C limit was inadequate and dangerous.
11. In 2011, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change warned:
“Two degrees is not enough – we should be thinking of 1.5˚C. If we are not headed for 1.5˚C we are in big, big trouble.”
12. In 2013, Lord Stern, whose 2007 Review informed the setting of the 2050 Target, gave a presentation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, in which he said:
“Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought… This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential.”
13. In May 2015, the Structured Expert Dialogue, commissioned by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in 2012, issued its Final Report, which concluded:
“The ‘guardrail’ concept, in which up to 2˚C of warming is considered safe is inadequate … Experts emphasised the high likelihood of meaningful differences between 1.5˚C and 2˚C of warming regarding the level of risk from … extreme events or tipping points …”.
14. In December 2015, the 197 Governments which are parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change united in rejecting the 2˚C limit as dangerous and inadequate, by adopting the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which reframes the limit as follows:
“Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”.
15. Leading research concludes that beyond the Paris Agreement limit, a tipping point may be crossed leading to runaway climate change and a ‘hothouse earth’:
“This analysis implies that, even if the Paris Accord target of a 1.5 °C to 2.0 °C rise in temperature is met, we cannot exclude the risk that a cascade of feedbacks could push the Earth System irreversibly onto a “Hothouse Earth” pathway… Hothouse Earth is likely to be uncontrollable and dangerous … it poses severe risks for health, economies, political stability … and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans…Where such a threshold might be is uncertain, but it could be only decades ahead…”
16. It is evident from numerous authoritative sources, including the UK Government itself, that we are rapidly heading beyond the Paris Agreement temperature limit and into the zone of extreme danger for all humanity and the rest of life on earth.
17. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, provides the definitive synthesis of all peer-reviewed science on climate change. Its last full report in 2014 concluded that:
“In most scenarios without additional mitigation efforts … warming is more likely than not to exceed 4 degrees C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.” (emphasis added).
18. In November 2016, the United Nations Environment Programme published its “Emissions Gap Report” asserting that ‘urgent action’ was necessary to ‘avert disaster’:
“This report estimates we are actually on track for global warming of up to 3.4 degrees Celsius. Current commitments will reduce emissions by no more than a third of the levels required by 2030 to avert disaster. So, we must take urgent action.”
19. In October 2017 the Government published its Clean Growth Strategy:
Without significant reductions in emissions, the world is likely to be on course for average temperature rise in excess of 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and possibly as much as 5°C for the highest emissions scenarios, by the end of this century … Scientific evidence shows that increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts on people and ecosystems. These climate change risks increase rapidly above 2°C but some risks are considerable below 2˚C.” (emphasis added).
20. The scientific evidence is clear and unequivocal: an urgent and radical change of course is required if the Paris Agreement temperature limits are to be respected and disaster averted.
21. In June 2017, a coalition of eminent scientists, diplomats and policy-makers, published a comment piece in the leading scientific journal Nature headed “Three years to safeguard our climate”. This showed that in order to meet the Paris Agreement temperature limit, global carbon dioxide emissions would need to peak by 2020, and collapse to ‘net zero’ within twenty years, explaining:
“The year 2020 is crucially important for another reason, one that has more to do with physics than politics. When it comes to climate, timing is everything … should emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the temperature goals set in Paris become almost unattainable.”
22. In 2018 the Foreign & Commonwealth Office referred to climate change as an ‘existential threat’.
23. On 9 October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its final report into the implications of crossing the 1.5˚C temperature limit and concluded that:
a. the implications for humanity of exceeding the 1.5˚C threshold were extremely severe
b. at current rates of emissions that threshold was likely to be crossed at some point after 2030
c. avoiding such an outcome demanded urgent and radical action to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.
24. The BBC reported the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conclusions under the headline: “Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe”.
25. In the face of all these dire scientific warnings the UK Government should immediately communicate to the public the danger and start building a democratic mandate for the urgent and radical action that is required, which is why these were, and still are, part of the Extinction Rebellions demands.
26. The Government is not only failing to inform the public about the exceptional risks of climate breakdown and a hothouse earth but is in fact carrying on as usual. Rather than taking urgent action to reduce emissions it is, for example:
1. Expanding aviation, which is one of the most polluting forms of transport, with Chris Grayling MP, the Transport Minister, claiming that the Paris Agreement was “irrelevant” to plans to expand Heathrow Airport;
2. Encouraging ‘fracking’ for shale gas, contrary to the advice of leading climate scientists;
3. Providing the highest fossil fuel subsidies of any country in Europe.
27. Leading experts, including the Government’s own statutory advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, have noted the conflict between the Government’s climate obligations and its actions.
28. In October 2018 The Guardian newspaper wrote as follows:
“One of the world’s leading climate scientists has launched a scathing attack on the government’s fracking programme, accusing ministers of aping Donald Trump and ignoring scientific evidence. James Hansen, who is known as the father of climate science, warned that future generations would judge the decision to back a UK fracking industry harshly … The science is crystal clear, we need to phase out fossil fuels starting with the most damaging, the ‘unconventional’ fossil fuels such as tar sands and ‘fracking’.”
Belief leading to Action
The information I have presented to you is a dry summary of only a minute fraction of the information that has come my way. It has left me feeling frustrated, depressed and, at times, hopeless. I cannot really understand why those ‘in power’ have refused to act. After all it is their world too. I know politicians are relentlessly lobbied by the fossil fuel and extractive industries, that there is a revolving door from politician, civil servant to CEO’s of the oil and aviation industries etc. But when our society and ecosystem collapses around us, none of us will be able to eat, drink, or breathe money.
We collectively know what to do to halt climate change but it is not being done. But to be depressed and to lose all hope only makes the problem worse. I am fearful for the future for myself, for my family and for all living creatures on this fragile planet. I believe there is a real and substantial threat to all our lives, and that, in accordance with the science, urgent and systemic changes to our society must be taken now to mitigate the danger. That is why I took action on 17th April with Extinction Rebellion.
There had been countless scientific reports, letters from concerned scientists, marches, petitions, and promises. But the government was not acting responsibly and enacting the policies that are needed to address the climate emergency. I therefore took non-violent direct action as a matter of last resort.
In December 2018, Sir David Attenborough told the United Nations:
“Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change … If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon … The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead.”
Following the wave of actions in London that commenced on 15th April, I believe that the necessity for the actions, and their success in raising the alarm, are now widely acknowledged. This was reflected in the following articles across the political spectrum in the mainstream media:
“Extinction Rebellion protests have WORKED as MPs succumb to calls for change” (Daily Express, 25 April, 2019)
“Jeremy Corbyn forces MPs to vote on declaring climate emergency after Extinction Rebellion protests over political inaction” (The Daily Mail, 28 April, 2019).
Like most people, I do not like being arrested. I did not want to spend 3 days in police cells refusing what I considered to be unreasonable bail conditions preventing me from returning to the protests. I do not enjoy spending time in courts nor do I wish to spend scarce resources travelling from Wales to London for the hearings.
If the Government had done its job of acting in the public interest by providing the public with honest information about the scale and urgency of the threat, and had addressed the threat instead of compounding it, I would not have needed to engage in non-violent direct action.
Finally, I want to assure the court that all my peace and environmental actions over the decades have been done in a considered, accountable and nonviolent manner and my latest Extinction Rebellion actions were carried out in a similar nonviolent and responsible manner.
The Extinction Rebellion Rebel Code was and still is part of the nonviolence trainings given to participants and not only is it on their website but was repeated at all 5 resistance sites in London. They say:-
1. We show respect to everyone – to each other, the general public and to the government and police. We oppose systems, not persons.
2. We engage in no violence, physical or verbal, and carry no weapons.
3. We wear no masks – we hold ourselves accountable for our actions.
4. We bring no alcohol or illegal drugs.
5. We take responsibility for ourselves; we are all crew.
Extinction Rebellion also engaged in extensive police liaison with the Metropolitan police. I met Paolo Enock, of Extinction Rebellion, in the Extinction Rebellion office, before the week of rebellion and was told that Extinction Rebellion held many meetings with leading Police Liaison Officers from the Met as well as with other senior officers in the run-up to April 15th. The sitings of the roadblocks, for instance, were made known to the police in advance in order for diversions and re-routing to take place to allow traffic to by-pass the blockades and to minimise hassle for road users. I was assured that not only were the nonviolence guidelines (the Rebel Code) made clear but that this included moving for ambulances and fire engines. For instance on 5th April 2019, at a meeting held with the Met (at their offices) with a senior ‘Silver Commander’ present, the outline of the non-violent structuring of the planned protests was given and Extinction Rebellion’s presentation included features such as the presence of stewards, of nonviolent communication and de-escalation teams and that an agreement was given that police officers would be accepted and not hindered when circulating on the occupied sites. Concerns were shared about the possible co-opting of the Extinction Rebellion protests by violent factions, and a written reassurance was given by Extinction Rebellion that when any roadblock is approached by a vehicle with an activated blue light (including police vehicles to allow for the eventuality of a terrorist attack) the roadblock would let that vehicle through immediately.
I was later told by him that during the rebellion days Extinction Rebellion had their own team of police liaisons working a shift system across all five occupied sites. These liaisons were in constant contact with police liaison teams during the day and with duty sergeants in the evenings and at night. Paolo himself was in constant telephone contact with the coordinating desk for police liaison during the rebellion days – often on a minute-by-minute basis.
Paolo told me that police vehicles were included in Extinction Rebellion’s bluelight policy. He witnessed two medical emergency incidents on Waterloo Bridge in both of which Extinction Rebellion rebels were proactive in helping with getting the emergency services where they were needed. In the second of these incidents, which happened during a major police arrest operation, a ‘fire lane’ was formed and held open on the northbound carriageway of the bridge for approximately one hour so that ambulances could deal with a medical emergency – a passer-by had suffered a major heart attack on the pavement and required prolonged treatment by medical staff. Not only did Extinction Rebellion stewards and police liaisons alert the police of the emergency, but they collaborated with the police in keeping the emergency lane clear for the full period of the emergency so that ambulances could come and go in both directions.
Paolo said he would be away for this trial date, which is why I have not called him as a witness.
I can testify that I witnessed a beautiful and compassionate atmosphere at all five sites that I visited over the first few days, before being arrested. Local shop-keepers and business people walked through our focal blockade points to get to work and congratulated us on the people’s assemblies, the music and carnival atmosphere, and said they wished traffic was stopped every day as there was less air pollution and it was quieter. Many local shops and cafes enjoyed good business and some offered free use of their facilities as a way of showing solidarity.
I am pleading not guilty, even though I did refuse to move when asked to by a policeman on the 17th April. I am pleading not guilty because I believed I was justified in remaining at the protest in what I considered to be a reasonable and proportionate response to the climate chaos emergency. I believed that my action, along with many of the thousands gathered in London that week, would help avoid disaster and lead to change. And this has been proved to be true. It has opened up a space for real debate about climate change and what practical actions can be taken. Just days after the Extinction Rebellion actions in London on the 29th April, Wales was the first country to formally declare a climate emergency. This was followed a few days later on 1st May by the UK government declaring a climate and environmental emergency .
I have been involved, as have many thousands of others around the UK, in persuading my own Town Council in Knighton to declare a climate emergency and to hold public meetings to decide what practical actions can be taken. I believe that this would not have happened without the creative disruption we caused in central London.
Given that our fragile planet is undergoing massive climate change that will soon, possibly within 11 years, culminate in catastrophic climate chaos that will lead to massive loss of life, I had to do all in my power to bring about the necessary changes to prevent this catastrophe. I hope you will agree that what I did was a reasonable, proportionate and necessary response to the emergency situation that we are in.
I urge the court to find me not guilty. Thank you.
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