On Friday 21 April Extinction Rebellion (XR) invited everyone to Unite to Survive at ‘The Big One’, a four day action bringing together people from all groups and movements to gather throughout Westminster and at the Houses of Parliament. 

Lauren, one of our partners at Sail attended the 4 day protest and also volunteers for the Newcastle XR group. We wanted to share a low down on the weekend (which we will be discussing further at Sail, to learn how we can be better for a kinder planet). Watch this space for further insight from Lauren.

XR is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse. Extinction Rebellion campaigns against the heartless, loveless and lifeless delusion of seeing Earth as dead matter; against patriarchy’s domination and control of women and the Earth, against heterosexism that condemns the beauty of diverse love, against the militarism that destroys living lands, wages war for oil and kills those who protect the green world. Their vision stretches beyond their own lifespan with a dedication to restoring our planet’s integrity for future generations.

Their demands are as follows:

1. Tell the truth: Governments must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

2. Act now: Governments must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

3. Go beyond politics: Governments must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

The aim of the four days of activism was to: 

  • raise awareness of the crisis we are facing
  • build relationships across coalitions
  • call out the Government to stop the search for new fossil fuels
  • establish “emergency citizens’ assemblies” to determine how to bring an end to the use of fossil fuels

Each day had a different focus; Unite to Survive, Earth Day, Running Out of Time! And Choose Your Future. The demonstration gained support from over 200 organisations as well as notable charities including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Fossil Fuel London.

The Government did not respond to the demands set out by XR and missed the 5pm deadline. As a result, XR co-founder Clare Farrell stated that campaigning will be stepped up.

“The government had a week to respond to our demands and they have failed to do so.” 

“Next we will reach out to supporter organisations to start creating a plan for stepping up our campaigns across an ecosystem of tactics that includes everyone from first-time protesters to those willing to go to prison.”

Although the Government have not yet responded, the protest had a great attendance of an estimated 60,000 people. Coverage included BBC News, The Guardian and The Evening Standard to name a few, gaining more exposure for the demonstration. 

How you can get involved

Spread the word

Find your nearest XR group

Volunteer

  • View the latest XR roles here

Donate

  • Support local groups to grow, with outreach materials, training and budget for community talks etc
  • Contribute to expenses for the skilled campaign team, who’ve left paid work to volunteer their time to XR UK
  • Fund legal support for volunteers at risk of arrest
  • Pay for advertising and marketing – essential for getting the message out

…and so much more

Donate here

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/24/climate-protests-london-xr-the-big-one-fossil-fuel-deadline

https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-big-one/#

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/the-big-one-extinction-rebellion-xr-climate-protest-london-houses-of-parliament-b1075081.html

https://www.euronews.com/green/2023/04/24/the-big-one-climate-protest-who-were-they-and-what-did-it-achieve