Extinction Rebellion: vital new emergency service

September 24, 2020

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Olivia Opara reports on the demands and activities of movement dedicated to saving the planet

This year has seen a rise in social unrest resulting in public demonstrations such as protests. From BLM to Free Palestine, there has been a surging momentum with the public speaking up and, in some cases, ‘rebelling’ against government mandates.

With Australia burning at the start of the year to America’s surge of wildfires, Extinction Rebellion has made headlines with their unique demonstrations. The most recent being their blockade, that resulted in the delayed publications of papers like The Sun.

Who are the Extinction Rebellion?

Founded by both Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a global movement that aims to pressure governments – internationally – to acknowledge the climate crisis that the world currently faces through ‘nonviolent civil disobediences’.

Having been founded in the UK with very specific aims, their main objective is ‘ecological justice’. They demand transparency from the government through a declaration of a ‘climate and ecological emergency’. They want active governmental participation on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with a conservation of biodiversity.

According to XR the High Speed 2 railway project is committing what is deemed an ‘ecocide’

Additionally, they would appreciate a ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ on climate to be organised by the government that will liaise with government officials about climate change and environmental issues.

As their vision and aims grew popular, XR then took base in the US. Shortly after the new found US group added an additional aim that was more applicable to their circumstances:

“We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of colour and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a liveable, just planet for all.”

Alongside their propositions, XR also have a list of principles.

In 2020 it has been two years since the creation of XR so why are they becoming more noticed and publicly penalised?

In 2010, following the last Labour government, the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway plans were ‘disclosed’ to the public. Ten years later, and most certainly behind schedule, the construction for this new and improved train-line began. But, at what costs?

According to XR Cambridge sources, the HS2 project is committing what is deemed an ‘ecocide’ leading to the assured destruction of ‘108 ancient woodlands’ and ‘wildlife habitats’.

“HS2 are committing wildlife crimes on a daily basis. They are destroying thousands of species, many of which are protected, such as bats and badgers. They are ignoring the laws put in place to protect nature.”

From what I can remember from GCSE Biology, biodiversity is essential to the maintenance of any ecosystem. Also, as I can recall, don’t we humans depend on the prosperity of the ecosystems that surround us? Aren’t we dependent on nature as she is in turn dependent on us?

The most memorable recent demonstration by XR was that of the blockades that targeted right wing press

If so, why are we destroying natural habitats that are homes to animals and non-human species?

If this is not startling enough, apparently, the HS2 project will cost approximately £106 billion of taxpayers’ money.

This is money that could be reinvested into the current transport services to help make them more affordable for all and improve them. It could even help put a stop to the suggested ‘Zapping of the Zip’ oyster, ending free travel for under 18s in London. You can read more about this in my article here.

The most memorable recent demonstration by XR was that of the blockades that targeted right wing press. On the 5th of September, XR used trucks and scaffolds to block roads outside of printing facilities. As expected, this caused a massive disruption to the production and distribution of national newspapers such as The Sun and The Telegraph.

The prime minister then boldly accused XR of limiting the public’s access to the news. Kier Starmer also added:

“The free press is the cornerstone of democracy and we must do all we can to protect it. Denying people the chance to read what they choose is wrong and does nothing to tackle climate change.”

Oh the hypocrisy of British politicians!

Here they are, accusing XR of impeding the public’s right to a ‘free press’ when they silence independent journalists such as Assanage by imprisoning him without any medical care despite the pandemic.

But I digress.

Given everything that 2020 has been, is it too farfetched to want to preserve our woodlands? Many types of woodlands across the globe are being wiped out, endangering many animals and displacing many indigenous peoples, all in the name of industry and business.

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