Our challenge is big, the places we confront it in don’t have to be.
Small venues are just as good as big for educating and enlisting new members, according to Extinction Rebellion (XR).
Ahead of a planned international day of non-violent civil disobedience on 15 April, an email from the direct action group stated: “Our challenge is big, the places we confront it in don’t have to be.”
Members of the group have experimented with holding talks in homes, which “creates more space for the honest, supportive discussions that we need to take action”, it says.
The XR talk - “Heading for Extinction and What to Do About It” - is kick-starting conversations about why to join XR and how. “It’s bringing an enormous amount of people with energy to our movement, but there’s no reason it needs to be limited to big venues,” XR said.
People who want to take part can request a speaker to come to their house, give the talk themselves, or screen a video of the talk, it said.
XR used the example of Swedish feminist community organiser and co-founders of the Swedish political party Feminist Initiative (F!) Gudrun Schyman, who built her whole campaign around “Homeparties” about feminism, politics and the party.
Schyman spoke at around 1,000 home parties, and a year later in 2014, her party received 3.1 percent of the vote in the country’s general election, according to XR.
XR says that its event on 15 April will be a “full-scale rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on climate change and ecological collapse”.
“Join us as we engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world. This is not a one-off march - we will keep going for as long as we have to, shutting down cities day after day until our demands are met,” it says.
The rebellion will see independent XR groups, allies and protestors take to the streets, while a small number of conscientious protectors and activists from XR affinity groups will carry out peaceful civil disobedience “to disrupt the business-as-usual which is sending our species on a one-way track to extinction”, the organisation said.
Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.