Environmental activists want to force political leaders to take urgent action in the face of the climate emergency.
Just 12 months ago, news that hundreds of environmental activists had been arrested for engaging in peaceful civil disobedience would have seemed unthinkable. Now, as evidence of the climate crisis mounts, it is becoming the new norm. This week, Extinction Rebellion activists once again blockade central London and other cities around the world. But why are they protesting? Can your key demands be met?
Why is Extinction Rebellion protesting this week?
Extinction Rebellion activists want to force political leaders to take urgent action to address the climate emergency, and thousands of them have taken to the streets of cities around the world this week in an attempt to do just that. So far, in London, they have had 11 key sites and carried out a series of "actions", from sticking to government buildings to locking themselves in a hearse parked at a junction in Trafalgar Square. There have been more than 300 arrests and activists say civil disobedience will increase as the week progresses.
Organizers say they plan to hold the protests for at least 14 days, or until their demands are met.
Zuhura Plummer, a participating 36-year-old charity worker from Oxford, said: “As we discuss Brexit, the planet is burning. I don't want to be doing this, I just want the government to listen to science and act. … The time to act is now, not 2050 ”.
What are the Extinction Rebellion demands?
The UK group has three core demands:
1) tell the truth
The government must tell the truth about the magnitude of the ecological crisis by declaring a climate emergency, "working with other groups and institutions to communicate the urgent need for change."
2) Zero net emissions by 2025
The UK must dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, reaching net zero by 2025.
3) Assembly of citizens
The government must create an assembly of citizens to listen to evidence and devise policies to face the climate crisis. Citizen assemblies bring together ordinary people to investigate, discuss and make recommendations on how to respond, in this case, to the ecological emergency.
In the United States, activists have added a new demand: “A just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable and indigenous sovereignty [and] establishes reparations and remediations led by and for black people, indigenous people, people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice. "
1) Tell the truth
Partly due to pressure from Extinction Rebellion and the school strike movement, dozens of councils and local authorities in the UK have declared a climate emergency, as has the Labor Party. In the wake of the Extinction Rebellion protests in April, the UK Parliament followed suit. But despite the growing number of politicians, certainly in the opposition benches, recognizing that this is the greatest challenge facing humanity, little has changed in terms of action. "We have not seen any truth or action," said Extinction Rebellion, which said it had approached the government departments of BEIS, the Department of Transport, Defra and the Ministry of the Interior about their plans to deal with the emergency. "We wait your answer". But the Conservative government seems increasingly hostile. Boris Johnson, who has rarely mentioned the ecological crisis since taking office, dismissed the protesters as "uncooperative scabs" who should stop blocking the streets with their "hemp-scented bivouacs."
2) Zero emissions by 2025
Reaching zero net carbon emissions by 2025 would require a complete overhaul of the way we are organized as a society in just six years, fundamentally changing everything from transportation to domestic and industrial energy systems, food production and levels. general consumption. The UK government has set a net zero target for 2050. Labor backed a much more ambitious 2030 target at its recent party conference. The transformation required to meet these goals will be challenging, but experts say that in itself would be overshadowed by the chaos resulting from not acting now.
3) Assembly of citizens
An assembly of citizens, according to advocates, would help give public legitimacy to what will be a radical transformation of the economy and our society. They have been used successfully in several countries, from Ireland to Canada. This month, a panel of 150 French citizens, from the unemployed to pensioners to factory workers, will begin advising President Emmanuel Macron on how France can reduce its carbon emissions to cope with the climate emergency.
If you want to know more about the movement visit https://rebellion.earth/
More information (in English)