So many glorious actions happened in London, its hard to know where to start! This video gives a fantastic overview. Here is selection of some of the actions that may or may not have involved rebels from the South West. We couldn’t possibly comment.
The London Rebellion kicked off on September 1st with four marches from different locations converging on Parliament Square. One march from Tate Britain featured XR Scientists carrying signs warning of a 4 degree world. For the following 9 days protests took place across central London, in Westminster and in front of several Government departments.
Highlights of the week for South West rebels included a Parliament Square die in organised by Doctors for XR (with rebels from several South West groups allegedly hidden under white shrouds) and a blockade of four of the main entrances to Parliament which forced the PM to use a side entrance (cheeky). Watch an interview with Bath rebels in Parliament Square from 1st September.
Other amazing actions with South West involvement included, a marine extinction march to the International Maritime Organisation organised by Ocean Rebellion and “Can’t bare the truth” - a brave and inspiring bare breasted lock-on outside parliament.
The action which really caught the imagination of the press though was the successful blockade of several printing plants including the Murdoch printworks at Broxbourne which prevented The Sun, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Times from reaching news stands all over the country. Finally, the national media sat up and took notice of the London Rebellion, undoubtedly spurred on by a sense of personal affront and an overwrought reaction from Priti Patel. There were multiple national and even some local news items. See for example https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/exeter-xr-activist-arrested-newspaper-4490527
During the course of the week, hundreds of rebels were arrested including seven rebels from XR Bath arrested in Parliament Square while Ecologist and XR Scientist, Emma Smart, was arrested mid-sentence outside the Department of Health and Social Care while telling the truth about the link between the pandemic, habitat loss and animal agriculture. We thank you all.
The London finale in Parliament Square needs no introduction..suffice it to say South West rebels were involved in this too.
The story is far from over and we must be ready to keep up the pressure, in our communities and across the country. So, the rebellion continues.
The Future is Now : Cardiff Rebellion Highlights
1st-5th September 2020
Cardiff will be under water by 2050 if we don’t halt carbon emissions now. Whilst many South West rebels headed to London to target Westminster, some gathered in Cardiff in solidarity with the most vulnerable city in the UK. Four intrepid climbers kicked off the Cardiff Rebellion, when they scaled the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales to hang the biggest banner we’ve ever seen, covering 5 storeys of the building with the famous words: ‘If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?’. See here for glorious drone footage of the scene!
Other highlights of the week in Cardiff included: a creative Rising tide protest to highlight Cardiff’s vulnerability to flooding, a Tell the Truth media show outside BBC Cymru, a blockade of the Viridor incinerator plant in solidarity with a local campaign to prevent further incineration plants being built in the city and a movement of movements social justice march with local justice groups.
It’s time for a permanent Bank ‘Holiday'
Monday 31 August
The world of dirty finance should be taking a permanent ‘holiday’ from destructive dealings and propping-up polluters. We do not want our money to support ecocide at a time of climate and ecological emergency.
Polluting businesses and industries need to be ‘Closed For Good’. Today we will take action against the finance industry, using the bank holiday to outreach in our communities to TELL THE TRUTH about where our money goes and how we can all switch to cleaner money solutions which invest in a safer, sustainable future.
Planned actions include:
XR Exeter are taking to Exeter High Street to inform locals about ‘cleaner’ banks who don’t invest in dirty fossil fuel industries.
In Tavistock and Liskeard rebels will demand HSBC and Barclays clean up their act and inform the public about switching to ethical banks.
XR Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland will accompany rebels to the four worst polluting bank and financial organisations.
The CEE Bill
The tragic, life-changing Covid crisis shows we CAN do things differently! We must come together and seize this moment to seriously evaluate our toxic systems NOW, while we have the chance. We're running out of time - the CEE Bill the UK Government’s opportunity to take decisive action to avoid a total climate and ecological emergency.
On Sunday, local groups, affinity groups and communities came together in parks, open spaces and online as a movement to discuss the interconnected global crises – racial injustice, Covid-19, climate and ecological collapse - it’s all connected. We came together to reflect and discuss solutions. As an organisation we’re inviting the wider community to find out more about the climate and ecological emergency and why XR exists in order to grow together and take on this climate crisis as one.
We focussed on demonstrating a future democracy through widespread people's assemblies. We shared our vision of a better world through outreach events and activities. Talks and trainings were delivered to empower and upskill existing and new rebels as we practice our regenerative culture and visioning for a safe and sustainable future.
Highlights of the day include:
Mass cycle ride along the A40: Gloucestershire XR organised a mass cycle ride from Gloucester to Cheltenham, highlighting the 140 cyclists who are killed or injured each year on Gloucestershire's road, and the need for the government to invest in healthy active lifestyles and a healthy planet!
Lost Children: Extinction Rebellion Exeter held a lost children event to honour the children who have and those who will lose their lives due to climate catastrophes and ecological breakdown. Seven black pushchairs holding only flowers stood in a semicircle, symbolising the seven generations to come, blighted by climate change and species loss. It was followed by a socially distanced, family friendly ‘Trust the People’ picnic in Belmont Park, publicising the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (www.ceebill.uk).
Fete of the Planet: Trust the People: North Devon XR had a big ‘Protestival’ with stalls from Plastics Free North Devon, 361 Energy, Doughnut Economics, Breastfeeding for Climate, puppet shows, samba bands, Mrs Recycle, discobedience and a big pink boat. Oh and not forgetting a People’s Assembly on local flooding and what we can do about it. Phew!
World in our hands procession. The Green Spirits and the Totnes/Exeter Samba band put in appearances at Teignmouth and Paignton promenades. The theatrical processions provided a wonderful spectacle. “Really moving and beautifully done - great to be a part of." Jessie, Teignmouth
No going back
Saturday 29 August – Airports and Aviation
As the world returns to ‘business as usual’ we see governments, airports, airlines and the media increasing efforts to fill the skies to pre-pandemic capacity. There should be NO GOING BACK for industries like aviation that make such a huge contribution to the climate and ecological crisis.
The cancellation of Heathrow Airport expansion sent a ‘clear sky’ signal; this is an industry that needs to be scaled back, not promoting and propping up with bailouts.
This is a sector which needs to drastically reduce emissions yet governments are sending a very different signal by allowing increasing flight numbers, airport and runway expansions and no strings attached airline bailouts.
From Bristol to Cornwall local groups are gathering today and marching in a series of creative and non-violent protests to raise awareness of the dangerous impact of the aviation industry on the climate.
“The negative impact of airport expansion in Bristol falls most strongly on those who use airports the least, and if the airport expands it will further blight the local area with noise, traffic and air pollution along with its health impacts. Locals have had a taste of flight free skies and can see how it could be.” Kim Creus, Bristol resident.
Today's actions include:
Chew Valley XR, together with a host of community groups and campaigners from across the West and South West are marching from Felton Common to Bristol Airport in a single file socially distanced funeral procession. The funeral theme reflects the many deaths that would be caused by further airport expansion. As well as threatening democracy, Bristol Airport's planning appeal threatens clean air, quiet, good health and well being. It hastens the death of biodiversity and of people around the world from pollution and climate change. This is a HUGE opportunity to tell the Airport loud and clear that expansion will not be tolerated by local communities: NO to increased pollution and congestion from Airport road traffic, NO to further pollution from flights, NO to greater mental health problems from increased night flights, NO to further destruction of the environment.
In Cornwall teams of rebels are interacting with members of the public to raise awareness of plans by Richard Branson to build a Spaceport in Newquay. Many Cornish residents are unaware of these plans and even more unaware that Cornish Council have pledged £12m in support of this project. This action includes gathering support for a petition to Cornwall County Council.
In West Cornwall a creative climate crime scene protest is taking place against the Heliport which is currently exceeding noise pollution limits and adding to increasing air pollution levels.
Friday 28th August : Banner drop and fossil fuel protests announce the start of rebellion
Local groups, affinity groups and communities have begun this Rebellion with a visual show of solidarity to demand ACTION. The slogans vary from location to location but the message is united, ACT NOW. In Bath and Weston Super Mare on behalf of Doctors of Extinction Rebellion, rebels flyposted warning labels on petrol pumps raising awareness of the damage wrought by fuel extraction and emissions.
Banners, placards and billboard messages were displayed in over 60 roadside locations across the south west today as Extinction Rebellion groups participated in a series of creative, non-violent direct actions to draw attention to the existential threat that we face – the climate and ecological emergency. Bank holiday motorists were greeted with banner messages demanding urgent climate action from the government, an end to fossil fuels and asking MPs to back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
The highly visible locations selected include bridges over many of the main holiday routes into the south west as well as town centres and seaside piers. The routes covered will include the M5 and M50 in Gloucestershire, the M3 in Hampshire, the A303 through Wiltshire and Somerset and the A30 and A38 through Devon and Cornwall.
Messaging highlights include:
On the A303 near Stonehenge a big pink banner reading “2100: Stonehenge Still There… Are We?’ and further on another reading “Are We There Yet?’”
On the A338 heading into Bournemouth the existing “Welcome to Bournemouth” and “Safe Journey” messages will be replaced with “Welcome to Extinction” and “No Safe Journey to Climate Chaos”
Melanie Clarke, 60, a home care worker and grandmother of 2 from Bath said
“I got involved with the banner drop because I was worried that the Covid crisis was distracting everyone from the much bigger climate and ecological crisis. We still have a long way to go to transition to a zero carbon economy. It’s past the time of what we can do as individuals, the governments of the world need to act quickly to avoid the extinction of life on Earth as we know it.”
Pension divestment protests
Extinction Rebellion groups across 5 counties in the south west took part in a series of co-ordinated actions targetting their local authority pension funds for fossil fuel divestment. Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are all counties whose local authority pension funds are managed by the Brunel Pension Partnership (BPP) under guidance from County committees. Extinction rebellion, along with other local organisations delivered letters to local authority Pension Fund Committees demanding that the BPP Fund cease investing in the production and distribution of fossil fuels.
Today's actions will be followed by three days of creative local community actions, including marches and picnics announcing the start of a nationwide rebellion which will then continue on 1st September in Cardiff, London and Manchester.
Ask your MP to back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill this September.
Climate and ecological breakdown is already upon us, and only system change is going to get us out. The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill does just that, calling for a just transition via a government-mandated citizens' assembly.
But to stand any chance of passing, the Bill needs the backing of a majority of OUR MPs. So let's call them and make our voices heard - they need to back the Bill!
What is the Bill?
The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill has been developed with members of Extinction Rebellion alongside members of the successful Big Ask campaign that led to the Climate Change Act in 2008. The CEE Bill has been written with contributions from prominent scientists and academics and is based on trusted science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlining what Governments around the world need to do in order to avoid devastating climate change.
What does the Bill call for:
A serious plan to deal with the UK’s fair share of emissions and to halt critical rises in global temperatures.
Our entire carbon footprint be taken into account – in the UK and overseas.
The active conservation and restoration of nature here and overseas, recognising the damage we cause through the goods we import.
Those in power not to depend on future technologies to save the day; technologies that are used as an excuse for us to carry on polluting.
Ordinary people to have a real say on the right way forward in a Citizens’ Assembly with bite.
What you can do to push this Bill forward via your MP:
Find out even more ways you can get involved with the CEE campaign.
Historic bridge sends warning to the world
Extinction Rebellion Bath suspends shocking pink banners across the World Heritage site of Pulteney Bridge to call attention to the Climate Emergency and the lack of Government commitment to BUILD BACK GREEN.
Bath woke up on 16th July to find three giant pink banners strung across the river Avon at the World Heritage site of Pulteney Bridge, displaying CLIMATE CRISIS, WE’RE UP SH*T CREEK and BUILD BACK GREEN. The banners were hung alongside the weir at dawn today by Extinction Rebellion activists in kayaks.
A small team from Extinction Rebellion Bath planned the action to highlight the admission in the Government’s own Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report, published 25th June, that they are woefully short of meeting their own emissions targets by a long margin. The CCC report reveals a staggering lack of progress, with only two of 31 milestones being achieved and only four of the 21 vital measures on track for net zero emissions.
Ros Pears, who came up with the idea said: “We recognise some may be offended by the wording but we wanted a message that would make people sit up and take notice. Time is running out. One of the world’s foremost energy experts has told us we have just six months to act or face catastrophic changes for our planet and every life form on it.”
Why and how did we do it?
What drives a group of ordinary people down in the West Country to undertake a secret and risky mission in the middle of the night, to launch boats and paddle downriver in silence at dawn to escape detection, with a heavy cargo of tools and ladders, clamp themselves to the arches of an historic and iconic bridge and suspend huge banners across the full width of the river, within a few metres of a dangerous weir? We are just ordinary people of all ages driven to extraordinary measures through a united anger at the lack of action on climate change. We are mums and dads: a gardener, a builder, a sculptor, a maintenance man, a tour operator, a graphic designer. A story about XR from the inside.
“The team was careful not cause damage to the bridge. We recognise it’s a World Heritage monument but there is no heritage on a dead planet,” said Extinction Rebellion’s Mat Thomas. “As the Covid crisis continues we mustn’t forget the far larger and growing threat of climate breakdown.”
Along with economists and environmental campaigners worldwide, Bath’s Extinction Rebellion activists want to see the post-Covid economic reconstruction focussing on green jobs and technology which they believe will ultimately deliver more employment than current fossil fuel and carbon intensive jobs - and give us a more secure future on the planet.
Inaction = Death
Over 400 rebels from 22 local groups across the south west joined a wave of protests nationwide to draw attention to government inaction on the climate and ecological emergency.
The actions were timed to coincide with the publication of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) annual progress report to parliament. It shows that, once again, the government has made little progress in carbon reduction or in preparing for the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The report says that the government has only fully implemented 2 out of 31 recommendations made by the CCC for 2019 and 2020 to achieve the net zero target.
Rebels from across the region from Penzance to the Forest of Dean participated. Their actions included:
a crime scene investigation make-over of the office of Environment Secretary George Eustice, MP in Camborne
a heads in the sand beach action at Bournemouth aimed at Dorset MPs and cabinet ministers
a climate catastrophe game show in Penzance
an atmospheric visual action on Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth including giant placards spelling out inaction equals death
a re-enactment of the Hovis advert on Gold Hill, Shaftesbury with homemade XR symbol loaf focusing on 'build back better' and visioning a better post-covid world.
shoe installations in Barnstaple and Totnes
banners and placards outside the country estate of MP Richard Drax in Dorset
a climate change die-in at the office of Somerton and Frome MP David Warburton
slow marches, creative artworks, speeches and singing
The common theme running through the protests was the delivery of letters to MPs asking them to publicly speak out on the government’s failings on the climate and ecological emergency and come clean with constituents that government inaction will lead to the death of millions. The standard letter, which was tailored by local groups is here.
Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to listen to the latest scientific findings including those from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research which demonstrate that carbon emissions need to be reduced to zero much faster than the 2050 target to avoid dangerous global temperature rises.
On 30th May, around 2000 rebels in over 110 locations throughout the UK gathered outside council buildings and MPs offices to deliver a message. 414 of those rebels were in the South West at 32 different sites.
We stood, 3m apart and wearing masks, each of us carrying a positive message about how we want to rebuild the economy after the pandemic. Each of us outlining the stark choice that we face at this moment in earth’s history: we can prioritise profit or prioritise health; we can bailout destructive industries or bailout people and the planet; and we can opt for mass extinction or mass participation. We say it’s time to trust the people! As part of coronavirus recovery, we demand a binding Citizens Assembly on how to rebuild our economy, our democracy and our future.
Although much of the press coverage focussed on the arrests in London, several South West groups were featured in their local papers. Here is a selection of the stories: