After Extinction Rebellion, Australian politicians are on notice – change is coming

(The Guardian, 2 May 2019) Spurred by global movements to fight climate change, the federal election shows that if major parties won’t change, voter habits will.

If I were in London over Easter I would have been at Waterloo Bridge or Oxford Circus or Marble Arch, the protest sites for the Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a movement of tens of thousands of people that has for a week blocked traffic across the UK in simple but powerful acts of civil disobedience. These have ranged from activists gluing themselves to a pink boat in Oxford Circus to a string quartet playing in the middle of Waterloo Bridge. The aim is to force a national and global conversation about climate changes.

Their demands are for governments to tell the truth about climate change, to reduce carbon pollution to zero by 2025 and to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee the whole process.

After more than 30 years of climate campaigns, international negotiations, policy change and practical action, climate pollution is still rising. Meanwhile humans have wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970 and species are dying at unprecedented rates. Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and severity. Mozambique has been flattened by two devastating cyclones in two months. Last month a cyclone flattened the city of Beira, killing more than 1,000 people, and in the last two days, Cyclone Kenneth has hit the northern province Cabo Delgado, where 30,000 people have been evacuated. Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change launched a report that said we only have 12 years to halve our global climate pollution.

So it’s not surprising that XR is taking the climate movement to the next level, not just in the UK but around the world. And XR is not alone. In the past six months we have seen the rise of climate campaigns that are bigger, bolder and more organised than anything the world has ever seen.

External link

The Guardian, 2 May 2019: After Extinction Rebellion, Australian politicians are on notice – change is coming