One of the most important movements of our time
The planet is struggling to survive with us living for a verity of different reasons and causes, but mostly because of us humans. When we as a society learned how to use fossil fuels like oil and coal to harness the energy, these emit greenhouse gasses out to the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
Stealing Al Gore’s idea on how to explain global warming
CO2 emissions have increased over 400% since 1950, due to human activity. Although there are documents showing there have been natural cycle’s in the Earth’s climate, moving between ice ages and warmer periods. The last ice age was around 20,000 years ago and the global temperature has risen by about 3°C to 8°C over approximately 10,000 years. The rise in temperature documented over the last 200 years can be put down to the higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are now at an incredibly high level, far above the natural cycle of the previous 800,00 years
The impacts on human society due to climate change could be horrific if not we do not try to tackle it now: Sea level rising higher and faster each year, more forest fires, water shortages, and animals will travel to cooler weather.
Extinction Rebellion’s inception
In 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report, it outlines that we as humans have caused 1.0C of global warming since pre-industrial levels (pre-industrial level are the time before 1750, when we went through the industrial revolution and learned how to utilise fossil fuels) most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years. The temperature is set to heighten by another 0.8C to 1.2C. Global Warming is probably going reach heights of 1.5C around 2030 and 2052, that is if the warming continues at its current rate. This could see even more epic weather, far higher sea levels and horrific natural disasters than we are currently witnessing. Extinction Rebellion’s inception was in reaction to this startling revelation.
The movement was started by, Gail Bradbrook and her partner Simon Bramwell who are Stroud based and Roger Hallam and other members of the campaign group Rise Up! Which was formed in 2016 running a wide range of campaigns. Rise Up! formed by Compassionate Revolution which was set up in 2015 during the occupy movement, they wanted to build mass civil disobedience. They are non-violent movement, they hope to evoke change through disruption.
What they demand is for the UK parliament and subsequent governments across the world, as well as news and media companies, are honest with the public about how cataclysmic and imminent the danger of climate change is. For the UK government to transform the economy as well as us as a society so that we can get to net zero carbon emission by 2025, the final demand is for independent national citizens assembly for the average person to discuss and consider the different policies that are needed to decrease carbon emissions.
The Extinction Rebellion movement describes its self as ‘an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse’
Past and planned Protests
Declaration of Rebellion
Their first event was on the 31st October 2018. Over 1000 people went to Parliament square to hear the ‘Declaration of Rebellion’ against the UK Parliament, speakers such as Donnachadh McCarthy, Greta Thunburg and Julia Bradbury. The meeting then moved to occupy the road led by Caroline Lucas MP as well as George Monbiot, the aim was to reclaim the street directly in front of Parliament. 15 people were arrested for occupying the road.
London Shut Down
One of their biggest protest to date was the plan to shut down London! Starting on the 15th April they wanted to shut down the capital for 15 days but ended early on 25th April. Occupying Parliament square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, and Piccadilly Circus, before the shutdown they urged people to bring tents and to take two weeks of work as the protest was not one event but a large scale disruption. The goal of the shutdown was to be heard and bring attention to the imminent changes that need to make to our lifestyles to curb climate change and bring down Carbon Emissions.
Over 1000 people were arrested due to the blocking of bridges and major roads. The biggest blockade was in Oxford Circus, where they installed a pink boat that read ‘TELL THE TRUTH’ on the side
Drones over Heathrow
In a bid to stop the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, the group plans to fly drones over the airport and its runways to disrupt and delay flights. The reasons for protesting the third runway is the added pollutions from a higher volume of flights as well as increased noise pollution
There are many great organisations and movements working toward real change in attitudes towards climate change and how we live on the planet, I have chosen to look at Extinction Rebellion because of how much of an impact they have had while only being around for less than a year.
How you can help and useful links
Reduce waste by using less plastic
o Taking bags with you to the supermarket. You can get loads of fold up bags that fit easily into pockets and handbags.
o Water bottles stop buying water get a reusable water bottle and water filter, charcoal is a natural water filter. Saves you money as well as helping the planet.
o Produce bags try to get fruit and veg from a local grocery shop, it is usually cheaper and has far less plastic since practically all the produce is loose.
o Milk delivery is another way to reduce plastic is to have milk delivered to your door, it is delivered in glass bottles that are recycled and reused.
Reducing Meat Consumption
o One of the biggest things that can be done is to reduce the amount of meat that you eat. I know this may be the hardest one out of all the changes as it is ingrained in us that we need meat, the beef industry is almost single-handed destroying the planet.
Reduce your driving
o Walk or Run to work, depending on your journey to work obviously. My walk to work is about 40-45 minute although I usually opt to run.
o Invest in a bike, if it is a bit too far to walk then cycle. Cycling also gets you places much fast than walking and you can add panniers to help with carrying shopping.
o Both these options have the added bonus of being exercise so they are keeping you healthy as well as helping the planet.