Extinction Rebellion activists will cause disruption for five days this week. They are calling on the UK government to Act Now to halt biodiversity loss and cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
The Bristol occupation, supported by rebels from across the South West, will be part of a national rebellion called the ‘Summer Uprising’, taking place in five UK cities.
The Bristol occupation will be joined by synchronised actions in Cardiff, London, Leeds and Glasgow. Each city will focus on a different aspect of the ecological crisis.
The focus of the Bristol action is rising sea levels. This reflects the city’s maritime history and its risk of floods, which NASA research warns are likely to be a regular occurrence by 2050 if climate breakdown isn’t urgently addressed.
In Bristol, thousands of residential properties will be at risk and flooding is likely to affect power stations, leading to frequent blackouts.
XR rebel, Bristol resident and mechanical engineer Leo Green, said: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience we’re causing here in Bristol, but given that our children’s future and the stability of the entire planet is at stake, we feel this is proportional action.
"We are demanding our government acts now to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, otherwise floods, wildfires, extreme weather and crop failures are only going to get worse, leading to mass migration and societal breakdown.”
Alongside the disruptive actions, Extinction Rebellion Bristol will use the occupation to hold lawful Solution Zones with talks, workshops and family-friendly events that Bristol residents can take part in with their children.
XR rebel, Bristol resident and business owner Lindsay Berresford said: “As a mum of three young children, it has been really hard for me to face up to the full reality of our climate emergency. However it has become impossible to ignore, as very credible people tell us that there is a real threat of complete societal breakdown.
"I want my children to have a future, a beautiful one at that, and I feel compelled to do what is in my power to make that happen.
"I know that there can be additional barriers for parents to get involved - it’s not easy to find the time to devote to activism alongside looking after my kids and running a growing business - but I really hope that lots of families will come and join us at the Summer Uprising.”
In April, Extinction Rebellion drove the climate crisis to the top of the news agenda by occupying five sites in London: Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Marble Arch, Parliament Square and Piccadilly Circus, with the simple message: this is an emergency. Over 1,100 activists were arrested, including many Bristol residents.
The response to the protests, backed by leaders of the environmental movement such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, was overwhelming and led to Parliament declaring a climate emergency. Bristol City Council had previously made a similar declaration in November 2018. Both the Council and the national government have yet to take the urgent action this crisis demands.
Extinction Rebellion follows the science, shown in last year’s landmark IPCC report, to the conclusion that the only way to avert climate catastrophe is to act now and make an urgent transition to a renewable energy economy.
But from fracking to building a third runway at Heathrow to Britain’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years at Copeland, the government is continuing to back ecologically damaging developments. Human activity is also having a catastrophic effect on plant and animal life, which, in turn, threatens human survival.
Follow the hashtag #ActNow from 15 July to see the Summer Uprising unfold in real time.
This article is based on a press release from Extinction Rebellion.