All roads lead to XR earth march

| 1st April 2019
Cornwall Earth March
Liz Lee Reynolds
Campaigners are marching towards an international day of action on 15 April.

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) seemed to have fallen into relative quiet since it burst into existence at the end of 2018.

But plans have been hatching during these months of relative silence. On 15 April XR will renew its booming demands for government action on climate change with an International Rebellion

Groups from across the country will descend on the capital to engage in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in hopes of averting ecological catastrophe. Thousands will begin their journey on the morning of the 15th, and there are also those who are taking a little more time to make their way there.

International rebellion

Individuals from various corners of England and Wales will spend the weeks leading up the International Rebellion walking together to London, in what have been dubbed Earth Marches.

A group beginning in Land’s End set off more than a month early, with at least 50 people starting their epic walk on 11 March. This is just one of the 16 counties who have organised walks, with over 1000 members nationally. 

Ness Woodcock-Dennis has been organising the walk beginning in Colchester on 9 April. The team leaving the ancient capital will be joined by fellow walkers along the way as well as cyclists from Norwich.

Ness, 45, a public health nurse and educator at the University of Essex, sees the march and subsequent protests as an opportunity to raise public awareness of climate change. She hopes it will urge the government and media - increasingly dominated and distracted by Brexit - into acting and telling the truth on the dire situation the planet faces.

Ness said: “Climate change and the effect this has on our health and the health of our children is an emergency and should be treated as such by our government, who have chosen to ignore robust research. Our government, along with governments around the world need to act now to legislate if we are to avoid ecological disaster.”

Social support

Other walkers from Colchester include a community volunteer working with vulnerable people and children’s play therapist. All have taken time off from their jobs to take part in the walk which will cover an average of 10 miles a day.

As well as raising awareness the walkers will be litter-picking as they make their way to London. They will document the amount of rubbish they collect along the roadsides and footpaths to highlight the human impact on ecosystems.

Despite some negative responses to the walkers already set off from Cornwall, the majority of the interest in the Earth Marchers has been extremely positive.

Ness said: “We have had overwhelming support from people in our communities who are offering us food, drink and rest along our way.” The social cohesion created between the walkers and the communities they come in contact with is an important part of Regenerative Culture, a cornerstone of XR’s approach to direct action.

The Earth March demonstrates the strong social supports it is possible for groups to create as well as emphasising an alternative, more pensive approach to modern life, but this does not mean that they intend to go about their demands quietly.

Join in 

Ness explained: “On arrival in Westminster, we want to make our concerns heard. We are the people government are employed to serve.”

To be part of the Earth March for any distance, join the Facebook group and find out if there are already walks planned near your area.

This Author 

Liz Lee Reynolds is a freelance writer focussing on place and the environment. She tweets @LizzieeLR.

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