“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course,” said The Union of Concerned Scientists in their Warning to Humanity issued in 1992. Last October, thousands gathered to peacefully occupy five major bridges over the Thames in London.
“We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,” activists chanted, superglued to the gates of Buckingham Palace. A letter was read to the Queen announcing a declaration of rebellion against the UK Government. This was the catalyst of Extinction Rebellion (XR).
XR has three demands:
- Governments must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency and working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Governments must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Governments must create and be led by a citizens assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Extinction Rebellion’s website states that it is an “international apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade the government to act on the climate and ecological emergency.”
The Warning to Humanity predicted that without drastic changes, we will experience increased global temperatures, rising sea levels, melting of the poles, air pollution, loss of the ozone, water shortages, mass extinction and loss of biodiversity. These have escalated in the years following the release of the warning, painting a frightening picture of our possible future.
The Paris Agreement, drafted in 2015, brought world leaders together to establish goals for rising to the climate challenge. However, even if the agreements were kept, they meet only the the bare minimum to avoid the worst case scenario. As the UN Secretary General pointed out “What we still lack–even after the Paris Agreement–is the leadership and ambition to do what is needed.”
We don’t have time for an administration that denies climate change. We don’t have time for governments and institutions that are passive or outright negligent regarding the climate emergency. Our systems have failed us and unless we act now, we are heading for a global catastrophe.
Despite the plethora of warnings, the climate and ecological emergency has been shuffled into a raffle of popular political topics brought up and disputed then filed away for another administration to deal with.
This is no time to assume a spectator position. This is no time to carry on with business as usual. We simply can’t afford to. “The science is clear. We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. We are in a life or death situation of our own making. We must act now”(XR).
International momentum is building. All around the world, people are mobilizing to rise up in open rebellion against the systems and practices that threaten life as we know it. There have been continuous actions worldwide to draw attention to the devastation of our present course. On Oct. 7, there will be a massive occupation in the UK, where thousands are planning to peacefully disrupt until they are arrested. Activists have every intention of overwhelming the system until the three demands are met.
Anyone has the power to initiate this kind of rebellion in their local community, and to peacefully take direct action. 2020 is fast approaching. It is time to alter our course and take on the work necessary to prevent our extinction.We must act with the urgency and ambition we have yet to see in our leaders. “ We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
Consider this the call to action. What we do now will determine whether or not we have a future at all. To learn more or get involved go to
Jenny Stamps is a self initiated activist, world traveler, and writer from Tahoe, CA. She has lived in the Olympia area for three years, working on projects inspired by her travels.