Fossil Riot


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Source: Extinction Rebellion

After nearly a decade in power, Australia’s coal-loving, climate-denying government has finally been replaced by a party pledging to make the country a renewable energy superpower.

Without the tireless actions of XR Australia and other eco-groups, this growth in voter climate-consciousness might never have happened.

But while a mighty battle has been won, the region’s climate wars continue. The new government has already greenlit a gigantic gas project, showing that it’s no real threat to the fossil fuel industry. Luckily our movement is made of sterner stuff.

In Action Highlights we report on fossil fuel focused rebellions in Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. In each, rebels launched sustained actions that disrupted fossil fuel facilities, highlighted fossil fuel subsidies, and pushed for an immediate switch to renewable energies.

We also have a special report from Sri Lanka, which is being rocked by price shocks, power cuts, mass protest, and outright political turmoil. Find out how the country’s dependency on fossil fuels has exacerbated the crisis in Action Highlights.

There’s been so much to report on this month that we’ve moved most of our Action Roundup section to our online supplement Newsletter XTRA. Click the link to find out how rebels have been hijacking fossil fuel AGMs, infiltrating fossil fuel summits, and even enticing fossil fuel executives to resign and switch sides!

This newsletter has now been running in one form or another for three mighty years. We have big plans for its future, but we want to hear what you want from it too.

Tell us what you’d like to see more of, or less of, as the Global Newsletter enters its fourth year by emailing the team at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

Subscribe to the Global Newsletter and get it in your inbox every month! The Global Newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help new XR chapters grow through grants, training, and tech-support. Read previous issues here.

We are in a crucial phase of human history, and we need money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.

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Contents

  • Action Highlights: Denmark’s Turning Point, Finland’s Overconsumption Uprising, Sweden’s Fossil Rebellion, Netherland’s Rebellion, Sri Lanka’s Crisis.
  • Action Roundup: India, Democratic Republic Congo, and much more in…
  • Newsletter Xtra: Italy, Bangladesh, Austria, Cameroon, France, UK, Canada, Korea, Poland, Argentina, Israel, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Norway…
  • Upcoming Actions: Brussels Rebellion, Debt For Climate.
  • Announcements: Write For This Newsletter! Join Global Support, XR Art…
  • Must Reads: The Tyre Extinguishers, 350.org Resources, Solarpunk Shorts.
  • Book of the Month: The Practice of the Wild, by Gary Snyder

Action Highlights

Danes Demand A Turning Point

6 – 13 MAY | Copenhagen, Denmark

XR Denmark wanted to inspire a turning point in their government’s attitude to the climate crisis, and organised a packed week of rebellion in their capital to do it. 240 rebels were arrested over the campaign, and it became the country’s biggest climate protest since COP15.

The action started in style, with hundreds of rebels surrounding the island on which the Danish Parliament building stands. All nine bridges to the island were blockaded, and became sites for speeches, music, and artworks expressing rebel despair over Denmark’s stagnant climate politics.

More than 130 people were arrested on the day, including a celebrated Danish author, and the action ended up attracting a lot of media attention.

The next day, rebels marched through the city to demand justice for climate refugees around the world, and for Danish politicians to take responsibility for those people already displaced by their inaction on carbon emissions.

Rebels also targeted Copenhagen Airport, where plans to build a new airstrip will destroy the surrounding natural area. While some activists blockaded the departure hall, others walked right out onto the tarmac.

During the final days of the rebellion, Copenhagen hosted climate ministers and other representatives from nearly 50 countries for a special pre-meeting of COP27. Danish rebels seized the chance to end their week as boldly as it began.

In the morning, rebels blockaded key roads so that the arriving officials were forced to walk through the protest. Gabon’s Foreign Minister stopped to speak with the rebels, and later two rebels were invited inside to talk to the Egyptian Foreign Minister (the nation hosting COP27 in November).

But real change must come from below, which is why XR Denmark also organised a workshop on citizens’ assemblies led by specialist researchers in the field. Rebels called on their government to update Danish democracy with a legally binding Citizens Assembly on climate policy.


Finland Faces Up To Its Overconsumption

6 – 21 MAY | Finland

Rebels block the security gates of Helsinki Airport.

Terminal T2 of Helsinki Airport experienced some technical issues last month. Namely 60 rebels blocking its entrance and 30 more protesting outside the building.

Elokapina (XR Finland) staged the protest against the country’s largest airline Finnair, whose HQ is in the airport, and their government, who are majority-owners. Rebels demanded that the state reduce air travel to a sustainable level. The state reacted by taking 28 of them ​​​​​into police custody.

Elokapina activists lock-on to train tracks leading to the Neste oil refinery.

The action was part of the Overconsumption Uprising, a campaign which had kicked off the day before with a 400-person roadblock in the busiest part of Helsinki. There, Global South collective Somos Sur gave a rousing speech about the importance of decolonization to the climate protest movement.

The Overconsumption Uprising made two demands of the government. First, that it include consumption-based emissions in its climate goals (ie. count the carbon footprint of goods used by consumers in Finland but not actually manufactured there). Second, that it reduce national resource and energy use to sustainable levels.

This year, Finland’s Overshoot Day (the day resource and energy demands would exceed sustainable limits if the whole world mirrored that nation) was March 31st.

To close the Overconsumption Uprising shopping centres in 10 Finnish cities saw actions like this one in Tampere. The fast-fashion garland echoes a local fresco.

The two weeks of rebellion included more than 10 actions, with highlights including a guerrilla gardening team transforming a Helsinki tram stop into a pollinator oasis, and the brave blockade of the state-owned Neste oil refinery that continues to process Russian fossil fuels.

The uprising ended with a wave of anti-consumerist actions in shopping centres across the land. Elokapina thanked their rebels for a great campaign, and are already preparing for the next one – the Utopia Rebellion in June!


Fossil Rebellion Stuns Stockholm

25 – 29 APRIL | Stockholm, Sweden

Hundreds of Swedish rebels swarmed their capital for five fabulous days of disobedience, the longest campaign in XR Sweden’s history.

The Fossil Rebellion saw protests pop up in Stockholm’s streets, Parliament, airport, health authority, and Russian Embassy. In the process around 130 rebels were charged with offences, and the city’s police force came close to being overwhelmed.

The rebellion’s main demand was an end to fossil fuel subsidies. The Swedish government gives the fossil fuel industry and other climate-damaging industries over $3 billion each year. Meanwhile it spends less than half of that on environmental budgets.

Rebels occupy Stockholm’s busiest junction, XR medics sit inside their national health agency (sign: Climate Crisis = Health Crisis), rebels blockade Bromma Airport, Red Rebels mourn outside it.

The week of action started with traffic blockades in the city centre. 150 rebels set up camp in Stockholm’s busiest junction, and used glue, tripods, and a sparkling pink boat to hold it for three hours. A jazz band played as police carried the rebels away.

The short-sightedness of Sweden’s politicians was highlighted by a mass die-in outside Parliament. A small group of rebels entered the building and shouted at the politicians from the public gallery before being dragged away by security.

The next day rebels returned to Bromma Airport (following up on an amazing nationwide anti-aviation campaign back in February) to drop banners from its roof, blockade its security gates, and rally in its departure lounge. A small group tried to make it to the runway but were intercepted by police.

Stockholm’s police required regional reinforcements to cope with the sustained action.

A group of rebel psychologists and health professionals staged a sit-in at the National Board of Health and Welfare. The government agency is meant to safeguard the nation’s health, but doesn’t recognise the climate crisis as a health crisis. With extreme weather causing five million deaths globally every year, and climate anxiety in young people skyrocketing, rebels told the agency to wake up and take the issue seriously.

Finally, to highlight how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was funded by fossil fuel exports (mainly to EU countries like Sweden), rebels converged on the Russian Embassy to sing songs and put on a protest performance. An anti-war song by a Soviet dissident was included to show solidarity with those brave Russians standing up to their own government.


Dutch Disrupt Fossil Fuel Industry

19 – 24 MAY | Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The city of Rotterdam is home to Europe’s largest petrol and coal port, making it the perfect setting for a week of actions targeting the fossil fuel industry.

The Rebellion Against the Fossil Fuel Industry started with a big procession through the city that combined marching with lots of artivism, music, and speeches.

Rebels were up bright and early the next morning to blockade the local BP refinery, and occupy roads to ExxonMobil facilities as well as the head office of dredging company Boskalis, whose exploits recently devastated Indonesian fisherfolk.

Dutch activists also staged a demo outside SBM Offshore, an oil and gas platform builder, and orchestrated a massive banner drop from a Shell oil tanker.

Over the weekend there was a regenerative community programme to help rebels recharge and reconnect between the action days. Workshops and talks about regenerative cultures and climate justice were mixed with more practical sessions, like how to make seed-bombs.

The final day of the rebellion happened to be the biggest, with more than 350 rebels involved in blockades across the port and central Rotterdam. In the port, rebels chained themselves to both the railroad and main conveyor belt of the Onyx coal plant.

Meanwhile in the city, rebels targeted Shell’s Dutch HQ as they blocked a major thoroughfare. 175 rebels were arrested on the day, but none were held overnight.

The rebellion was a great success for XR Netherlands, with the actions receiving widespread media coverage that made the movement much more visible nationwide. Videos of the major actions can be seen here.


Rebels Add Climate Breeze to Economic Storm

APRIL/MAY | Sri Lanka

The people of Sri Lanka are suffering. A perfect storm of bad governance, global price rises, and Covid-depleted tourism has caused a major economic crash, severe shortages of food, fuel, and medicine, and mass protest across the country.

Members of XR Sri Lanka have been a part of these peaceful protests, whose main demand is the removal of the country’s corrupt President. But the rebels are also trying to highlight how this economic crisis is connected to the climate crisis.

Despite having sunshine all year round, Sri Lanka has failed to transition to renewables and remained dependent on imported fossil fuels. The war in Ukraine and the rising oil price was the final nail in the coffin for the country’s import-heavy, debt-ridden economy.

‘GotaGoGama’ protest camp in Colombo where rebels co-run an environmental stall.

This economic crisis has always been deadly, with reports of elderly people dying as they queued for essentials. But in April the protests started turning violent. Police shot into crowds, and pro-government mobs beat protestors and burnt their tents as the police looked on. Activists have been killed, paralyzed, and severely injured.

Since 2019, XR Sri Lanka has been highlighting their government’s numerous eco-crimes, including wanton deforestation and mineral mining with no regard for the environmental impacts. But direct action has long been difficult in a country whose repressive political atmosphere has only worsened over recent months.

One rebel was arrested with friends during a peaceful demonstration outside Parliament, and only released when a large group of lawyers came to their rescue.

Activists paint an ecocide-themed mural at the ‘GotaGoGama’ protest camp.

Awareness of climate issues is very low in Sri Lanka. With basic survival still the priority for many, now is a difficult time to spread the word.

Nonetheless, at GotaGoGama, a major protest camp in a park in Colombo, there is an environmental stall co-run by rebels, with programs about the environment, biodiversity and climate change available to those who are interested.

Get updates and help support Sri Lankan rebels by following them on Instagram


Action Roundup

9 MAY | Chhattisgarh, India: Local people have been protesting against multiple coal mine projects which were recently greenlit by their regional government. Previously a no-go area for development, the area’s thick forests sustain livelihoods and a huge amount of wildlife, but are now being cleared for the mines.

25 MAY | Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo: On Africa Day, activists raised the alarm about French oil giant Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s imminent construction of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline. EACOP will run through the heart of Africa, displacing communities, endangering wildlife and tipping the world that much closer to full-blown climate catastrophe.

So many actions happened this month we can’t fit them all into one newsletter. Head over to Newsletter XTRA to find out about actions in Austria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, USA & more. Newsletter XTRA: A feast for the eyes and extra fuel for the soul!

Newsletter XTRA


Upcoming Actions

Brussels Rebellion: One Week Away!

19 JUNE | 10:00 | Outside EU Parliament

We are rebelling in Europe to save our common home. The EU has to criminalise ecocide and save our forests, oceans and soils.

Rebels from all over Europe are coming together. Indigenous leaders from Brazil will join us to stand up against the destruction of our ecosystems.

In 2019 the European Parliament declared the climate emergency, but since then the EU has continued with deadly politics.

We need fair policies that are decided by the people, not by corporations and their well-paid lobbyists.

Together we are powerful. Together we’re unstoppable. Join us in Brussels!


Debt For Climate!

26 – 28 JUNE | Global

We will bring together workers unions and social movements of the Global South to show how social justice and climate justice can be delivered hand in hand.

We are a global team planning to pressure wealthy countries into paying their Debt For Climate. How do they do this? By renegotiating the financial debts that burden Global South countries, so the money can be spent on a just transition.

With the stroke of a pen, we can keep trillions of dollars worth of fossil fuels in the ground and free impoverished nations from debt. We must take to the streets all over the world and build the necessary pressure to bring it about.

We are calling for the first global mobilisation to happen during the G7 summit in June. The world’s 7 most powerful economies control the IMF and the World Bank, and have the power to change the policies of international lending bodies.

Read this statement of solidarity by XR MAPA and visit our website.


Announcements

XR Global Newsletter: We Want Writers!

Apply Now

The XR Global Newsletter is looking for new writers to join our tremendous team.

If you’re committed to climate action, have great writing skills, and are happy to spend around five hours at the start of each month researching and reporting on rebel actions, then we want to hear from you!

Email xr-newsletter@protonmail.com telling us a little bit about yourself and attaching a non-fiction writing sample.


XR Global Support: Join Us!

Apply Now

XR Global Support helps to launch and grow rebel groups around the world, offering training, resources, tech support, communications, and more.

But we also need rebels to join our global team to help us do this.

If you have access to a computer, a bit of free time, and a strong commitment to climate activism, then we want to hear from you!

Roles are available to suit a range of skills and availability, including in Web Design, Social Media, Fundraising and Press.

If you’re interested, the first step is to fill out this volunteer registration form.

Questions? Email: onboarding@rebellion.global


XR Art: Open Call for Artists & Creatives

New Submission Deadline: 10 SEPTEMBER

In 2021 an international art project was born in Milan that aimed to communicate the seriousness of the eco-climatic crisis in an innovative, incisive and irreverent way.

The next edition of this project is to create a global event with contemporary exhibitions in different cities. The format will be open source: works can be selected, downloaded and printed by anyone who wants to organise an exhibition.

Artists can use techniques of their choice to create works that communicate the urgent need for mass awareness, and the severity of the crisis we are going through.

For more information and an application form check out our website or email: xrartmilano@protonmail.com


XR Global Media Library: Training Sessions

JUNE | Wed 17:00 / Thurs 09:00 UTC | Online

A series of on-line access workshops for people interested in using the XR Global Media Library will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout June.

Come along and find out how to download, contribute, and catalogue your own media. Sessions last 45 mins.

WEDNESDAYS 18:00 BST / 17:00 UTC on June 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th – Zoom link

THURSDAYS 10:00 BST / 09:00 UTC on June 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th – Zoom link


Must Reads

This week we welcome a new activist group who are deflating tyres and making waves in the UK (and beyond). We also have an amazing repository of free training, toolkits, and media for climate activists, and some inspiring Solarpunk short stories to finish.

Vice: Who Are The Tyre Extinguishers?

A new UK eco-group is using lentils, yes lentils, to deflate the tyres of carbon-guzzling, cyclist-killing 4×4 cars. Find out how, why, and more in this excellent feature article.

350.org: Resources Portal

The global climate movement has opened a new online resource centre filled with training courses, art toolkits, and media including climate books and documentaries. It’s all available in 9 languages and completely free. Impressive stuff.

XR Global Blog: Solarpunk Showcase

Two short stories from a teenage winner of the recent XR Wordsmith’s Solarpunk Showcase. These stories offer a vision of what the future could be, not what it will be, and include beautiful original artwork.


Book of the Month

The Practice of the Wild, by Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder’s 1990 book of interrelated essays does not directly mention climate change, yet every page bears upon the crisis and its possible solutions.

The book is a meditation on the meaning of wildness in the world and in ourselves. To defend the planet, he suggests, requires defending something vital in ourselves and each other—and vice versa.

Too many environmentalists see “nature” as a human-free zone. Snyder avoids that racist and ahistorical framing and instead posits wildness as a community that naturally includes humans. He grounds his vision not only in the European-American cultural lineage he was raised in but also in Chinese, Japanese, and Indigenous American cultures—and he does so in a way that feels humble and genuine, not fetishistic.

Snyder vows to fight what he calls the “Growth-Monster” through a personal practice that includes honest, loving, kind participation in that wider, wild community. Extinction Rebellion seems an example of exactly what he was talking about.

Here are a few other books recommended by our team and our readers…

We Thought It Was Oil–But It Was Blood: Poems, by Nnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey is one of many poets from the Niger Delta, a region devastated by the oil industry, who has used poetry to fight colonialism and extractivism. This collection is a call to action from a celebrated activist on the frontline of the climate crisis.

To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa, by Nnimmo Bassey

As Nnimmo Bassey says, the Global North likes talking about what to do for Africa, but not what it has done to Africa—and what Africans can do about it. Here Bassey gives a thorough and eloquent historical overview of the exploitation of the continent.

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