As inhabitants of London, the movement Extinction Rebellion may have gained some familiarity to you in recent weeks. On Saturday five of London’s central bridges were blocked and occupied by approximately six thousand people, one hundred of whom were arrested and all of whom had come together in support of and affiliation with the expanding movement known as Extinction Rebellion. Firstly, I would like to make one thing clear: this movement is not merely a group of angry hippies making a commotion. No matter what your social background and affiliations, be that involving gender, class or ethnicity, this cause is applicable and essential to us all.
The fact that we are facing one of the biggest ecological crises in our lifetimes is not new information. The UN recently released a report, backed by extensive scientific evidence, stating that a percentage increase of just one degree Celsius globally will have catastrophic effects, and if we do not act now, the implications of climate change will become irreversible. In a nutshell: failing to address the issue will lead to rising sea levels, higher occurrence of flooding, droughts and other natural disasters; mass crop and resource reduction and the extinction of many species which are already under threat. Ultimately, this will have a catastrophic impact on human populations.
Extinction Rebellion is a movement set up by activist group Rising Up, in order to tackle this threat head on. Through acts of continuous civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action, the aim is to force the government to recognise this, as a national and international crisis and implement the appropriate procedures in order to take the vital action needed. The group is calling on the government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a “citizens assembly” to devise an emergency plan of action, similar to that seen during the second world war.
Considering the severity of the imminent threat posed by climate change, the government are committing criminal negligence against our whole population by not acting. Conflicts surrounding Brexit and the refugee crisis will become insignificant if we continue to ignore the consequences of continuous ecological destruction. Climate change will not discriminate in the same way that those in power do, it is a case of universal urgency, and therefore it is every person’s duty to engage in this movement. In only two weeks Extinction Rebellion has amassed global recognition, with thousands of people already committing their time, energy and resources. This will continue until those in power meet these crucial demands and the severity of the situation is given appropriate attention and action.
Words & images, Talia Woodin – @taltakingpics