A new global wave of non-violent, environmental activism has begun.
Greta Thunberg challenged the world to take notice of climate change with her solitary school strikes, joined by 1.5 million world wide; an IPCC report warned that humanity only has 12 years to change course to limit temperature rise to below 1.5°C – a figure beyond which some scientists say would lead to the collapse of civilization.
Add in soil degradation, pollinator die off, deforestation and a plethora of other convergent ecological problems, and humanity today has got a lot on it's plate.
This photo essay traces the grassroots response to existential threat. We look at their human journey so far, as they prepare for their next move.
Reclaim the BBC
21 December 2018: Extinction Rebellion mounted a lock-on, blocking BBC offices in Central London.
Their actions called on the BBC to ‘tell the truth’ about the accelerating breakdown of natural systems, it’s causes and consequences.
XR insisted the BBC must fulfill it's National duty by reporting at the scale needed to communicate the severity of current threat to the biodiversity that provides conditions for human life.
17 November 2018: A rebel flies a scarf in the wind on occupied Westminster Bridge, as two police officers stand watch.
6000 people attended XR’s first Rebellion Day last November, double what was expected.
Five bridges were held in Central London, before protesters rallied on Parliament Square as a response to political and economic inaction on the climate and ecological emergency.
17 November 2018: Lucy holds her six-month old daughter on Southwark Bridge as part of Rebellion Day One.
Lucy joined others who traveled from the South West to London to take part in the non-violent direct action, peacefully blocking roads. She told of her deep sadness and anger: “It could be different. I want decisions to be made that protect the Earth for our children, and other non-human beings.”
XR has three demands to UK Government, which include a citizens assembly to guide policy change for preventing ecocide.
24 November 2018: A rose lays upon prints of photographs from Gideon Mendel, after a group of Extinction rebels ceremoniously presented a coffin bearing the words ‘Our Future’ outside Buckingham Palace.
Mendel's Drowning World series “is a visual attempt to capture the magnitude of climate change, through portraits of flood survivors taken in deep floodwaters, within the remains of their homes, or in submerged landscapes, in the stillness of once lively environments.”
Teach the truth
22 February 2019: Schoolchildren stand outside the Department for Education in London, having participated in an action where the words 'Teach the Truth' were sprayed by a secondary school teacher in washable chalk paint.
Youth in XR are supported by parents and guardians to publicly share their feelings and thoughts on preventable extinction, such as through the collage art piece they hold.
24 November 2018: A young person cries in Parliament Square, as their fellows sing in honour of those who have already suffered and been killed by climate and ecological collapse and pollution.
Extinction Rebellion promotes a 'Regenerative Culture' to get people past political divides; encouraging a reconnection to each other through empathy.