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We have understood the science of the climate crisis for over 30 years. The first IPCC report, where the world’s scientific community set out the scale of the problem, came out in 1990. But our governments chose not to act then, and still fail us today.
It is from that failure that protest movements like XR have sprung, and scientists have played a generous role in supporting our rebellion and offering us expertise. But, though integrated with our movement, they have tended to stay away from direct action.
All that changed during the UK’s September Rebellion last year. Two physicists threw green paint over the Royal Society in London, the oldest scientific institution in the world, and called on scientists to engage in civil disobedience. Scientist Rebellion was born.
Scientist Rebellion believes that scientists and their institutions must act like the climate crisis is an emergency – and speaking about an emergency is not enough. Only non-violent civil resistance truly validates the science, and shows people how urgent this situation is.
Now Scientist Rebellion has hundreds of members all over the world, from Australia to Kenya to Mexico. They recently came together for 4 days of global action, which you can read about in Action Highlights. You can also learn about the latest climate science in a specially curated Must Reads.
Elsewhere in this issue we have reports on Poland’s strikingly successful Rebellion Wave, and on the African rebel actions that marked World Water Day.
The Global Newsletter started out as a small section of the UK Newsletter, and was even produced daily during the heady days of international rebellion. Now it has reached its 50th issue. We plan to keep evolving along with this wonderful movement, recording every rebel step on the path to climate justice.
One fine day, we will force our governments to act on the science.
The XR Global Newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels that help new XR chapters grow. Read previous issues here.
- Action Highlights: Scientist Rebellion, World Water Day, Poland Rebellion Wave
- Action Roundup: Global Money Rebellion, Newsletter XTRA
- Upcoming Actions: Rebellion of One, XR Earth Fast
- Announcements: XR Muslims, Plastics Rebellion, Bank.Green…
- Must Reads: Climate Science Special
- Book of the Month: Doughnut Economics
- Scientists of XR: Biologist Dr. Nana, Germany
Scientists of the World Rebel
25 – 28 MAR | Worldwide
Over 100 scientists around the world engaged in direct action to expose the terrifying extent of the climate crisis. The 4 days of disruption marked the first Global Scientist Rebellion.
The rationale for the rebellion was that unless those best placed to understand our emergency behave like we’re in one, the rest of the world will not. Or as Einstein put it; “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act”.
Scientists went on hunger strike across Europe and in Djibouti, Mexico, Australia and the US. The hunger strikes lasted from 4 days to over 2 weeks in the case of a software engineer in Djibouti.
In cities across Spain, Germany and Switzerland, scientists plastered the walls of universities and research centres with scientific papers warning of the severe destruction to come if climate science is ignored.
In London, 2 scientists were arrested for throwing paint at the News Building, the headquarters of Murdoch’s media empire. His newspapers and TV news channels have persistently misled and misinformed the public about the climate crisis.
Political buildings were also targeted. In Berlin scientists tried to plaster climate crisis papers to the Federal Ministry of Food & Agriculture, but were quickly intercepted and fined by police. It took 3 hours, a specialist team, and over a dozen police officers to cut away one scientist who locked himself to the gates of Downing Street where the British Prime Minister resides.
Meanwhile, in lecture halls and campus spaces rebel scientists held teach-ins where the normal syllabus was replaced with lessons on the climate crisis. The tactic of civil disobedience was clearly endorsed.
Scientist Rebellion is just 6 months old but has academic activists in 20 countries. Plans are already underway for the 2nd Global Scientist Rebellion from June 21st – 28th.
To be a part of Scientist Rebellion and learn more about the group’s demands visit their website.
World Water Day in Africa: The Crisis Already Here
22 MAR | Africa
Extinction Rebellion groups around the world marked World Water Day with more than 50 unique actions. But in Africa, rebel groups in 11 countries came together to highlight what it’s like to live under constant water stress right now in the present day.
XR Université de Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo denounced plastic pollution and lack of access to clean drinking water in a powerful street performance, with two dancers in costumes made from discarded plastic bottles.
Rebels in Sudan protested the fact that nearly half their people don’t have access to safe drinking water. Groundwater can be salty and rural communities often depend on rainwater collected in small pits and ponds which tend to dry out over summer. Drinking water then has to be laboriously transported on donkey carts over great distances.
South African rebels in Vaal produced a video about people’s relationships to water, covering sewage problems and how a local coal mine’s excessive use of water left local residents without an adequate supply.
XR Sierra Leone meanwhile made it onto national television. Together with a national school club, rebels raised awareness on proper water management, and linked their regional water crisis to climate change and migration.
Other groups, including one in Uganda and another in South Africa, used World Water Day to launch ambitious tree-planting actions. Many more actions took place in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Senegal.
XR COP, the rebel group focussing on the upcoming climate summit COP26, organized a special fundraiser to support these African World Water Day actions. In their view, the water issue is not discussed enough among activists in the global north whereas for African activists it is a very real threat to their daily lives.
Days later, the group hosted ‘The Water Crisis IS the Climate Crisis’ – a webinar featuring frontline activists and which connects the two crises via issues such as fracking, mining, changing weather patterns and water privatization.
Polish Rebels Take Risks & Get Rewards
24 – 27 FEB | Poland
XR Poland has relaunched itself as a movement. Over four days of rebellion across 11 cities, rebels engaged in actions that have set a new disruptive benchmark for the region.
The Polish rebels locked, glued, and chained themselves to government buildings, media outlets, and across major roads. The result has been an unprecedented amount of media attention and an influx of new recruits.
The rebellion wave started in Warsaw with rebels silently tying ribbons to barricades around the Polish parliament. As police insisted they move on, each rebel had a letter of the phrase ‘Time to Rebel’ painted on their backs.
The solemn ceremony marked the passing of a deadline that XR Poland had set 3 months before – a deadline for the government to announce a climate citizens’ assembly. Rebels knew it would not be met. Their government is led by a man who boasted of having 200 years’ worth of coal at a climate summit. But XR Poland set the date more for themselves.
Until now, rebel actions in Poland were mostly artistic and performative, but XR Poland wanted this rebellion to be more disobedient and disruptive. Within a few hours it was clear that their wish had been granted.
In Warsaw, a rebel glued herself to an entrance to Parliament, eventually choosing to release herself with the help of a fellow rebel and some acetone, after police and firefighters puzzled over her predicament for 5 hours. The next day, a dozen rebels braved heavy rain to stay locked together across a major road for 8 and a half hours – a national record.
In Krakow, rebels blockaded an Orlen gas station. As well as refining oil and selling petrol, Orlen’s CEO owns most of Poland’s local newspapers, all of which have remained silent about the climate crisis.
In Wrocław, police used an electric saw to cut through the D-locks of road-bound rebels, and things got dicey. No ear plugs were provided, and one of the locks was still bound to an operating street light. Thankfully, nobody was electrocuted.
One rebel was seriously injured in Bydgoszcz though; local police didn’t understand that the pipes joining the arms of a dozen rebels were genuine locks and tried to wrestle them apart.
While arrests were minimal overall, many rebels were brought into police stations to present their ID cards. This could lead to court hearings and potential fines. The judicial process is slow though. Hearings for the September 2020 Rebellion are still to start.
XR Poland is thrilled by how well it met its own deadline. The movement is now bigger than ever and seen as radical by a much more interested media. As for interest from the public – XR Poland has been forced to upgrade its Zoom software. Onboarding meetings keep exceeding the 150 attendee cap that comes with a free account.
Learn more about XR Poland’s upcoming actions by visiting their website.
Global Money Rebellion: No More Fossil Fools
1 APRIL | Worldwide
Paris, France. The Bank of France gets a makeover to match its dirty oil investments.
Turin, Italy. A money feast outside Intesa Sanpaolo headquarters, Italy’s biggest banking group. Best served with a bottle of vintage crude oil.
Sydney, Australia. Rebels block the National Australia Bank & tell it not to nab their future.
Brussels, Belgium. A number of European financial institutions were targeted with a simple message – stop funding ecocide. XR Belgium’s efforts got a lot of media coverage.
New York, USA. Rebels spray-painted and dropped banners from various dirty banks in the city, but when a rebel tragically fell from the side of a JPMorgan Chase building and broke his pelvis all further protests were cancelled.
This roundup was dedicated to Global Money Rebellion – but head on over to Newsletter XTRA (our new name for XR Unchained) to find out about actions in Gambia, Indonesia & more. Newsletter XTRA: A feast for the eyes and more fuel for the soul!
Rebellion Of One
1 MAY | Global
Coming out of this pandemic will be our last, best chance to remake the world, yet governments around the world are throwing it away. It’s terrifying.
We need to do something. In May we will.
Rebellion Of One is a brand-new tactic: a single-person roadblock x1000. Each rebel wears a sign with a simple and emotive message. They sit in the road alone until they choose to move or are moved. But they have an incognito support team hiding in plain sight nearby.
A programme of special training materials has been assembled to help people prepare for the action. We will not be bystanders while the world burns.
XR Earth Fast: It’s Now or Never!
28 AUGUST | Global
On 28th August 2021, XR Earth Fast will start in camps around the world.
Rebels will be fasting for different lengths of time – from a couple of days to indefinite fasts until our demands are met – inspired by the Tibetan Hunger Strike camps and the many brave activists through the ages who have used this form of protest for the greater good.
2021 is the most important year in human history. It’s now or never!
For more info and Global registration, visit the XR Earth Fast website
XR Muslims: Plant-based Ramadan Campaign 2021
12 APRIL – 12 MAY | Worldwide
As part of our Plant-Based Ramadan Campaign 2021, XR Muslims are sharing resources to start climate conversations around the Iftar table. These include a family-friendly quiz, a plant-based recipe competition and 4 online workshops, open to all!
This Ramadan, we want to connect our campaign to as many Muslim grassroots organisations as possible. We’re looking for rebels (of all faiths and none) from XR regional groups to step into the role of Outreach Ambassadors for XR Muslims. They will:
- Visit their local mosques, Islamic centres, Muslim associations
- Hand deliver a ‘welcome pack’ from XR Muslims outlining our Ramadan 2021 Campaign
- Build connections between the organisations, XR Muslims and their XR regional groups
XR Muslims will follow the Outreach Ambassador every step of the way via a Telegram chat group. Feedback at the end of this process will help us raise awareness of the issues affecting Muslims.
How Bad Is Your Bank? Free Tool & Workshop
19 APRIL | 16:00 (UTC) | Online
Bank.Green offers a new tool that shows how your bank stacks up when it comes to funding the climate crisis. If necessary, it will also find you a more sustainable alternative bank.
Bank.Green will be putting on a Zoom workshop to drive consumer action against fossil fuel funding banks with guest speakers from Banktrack and Reclaim Finance.
The Zoom workshop will be on April 19th at 16:00 (UTC) and you can sign up here.
XR Global News LIVE: 1st Episode Aired!
APRIL | Online Now
New episodes will appear every month to amplify global actions. Stay tuned for more!
Plastics Rebellion: The Great Plastics Recycling Swindle
MARCH | Online Now
RECYCLING DOESN’T WORK. Yes, you read that right, plastics recycling is NOT the answer and this livestream event with experts and industry insiders will tell you why.
The plastics industry and its cousin the fossil fuel industry, with help from governments, have misled us about what recycling can do and then exported our plastic waste to countries even less able to cope.
Documentary: The Race To Save The World
22 APRIL | Worldwide
This inspiring feature documentary follows a diverse group of US climate activists all fighting for a sustainable future.
Emmy award-winning filmmaker Joe Gantz brings an urgent and intimate portrait of the protests, arrests, courtroom drama, and family turmoil these activists endure as they push for change.
The director and 3 featured activists were interviewed by Rebel Radio for an XR Podcast special.
Watch the trailer, find out more, and book tickets here.
XR Science Day
24 APRIL | 9:00 & 17:00 (UTC) | Online
Come and have a chat about climate science. Bring your questions. And let’s figure out how scientists and rebels can best work together!
There will be 2 sessions to accommodate rebels in all timezones: 9am & 5pm (UTC)
Hour 1 – two rounds of small random breakout rooms followed by some group feedback.
Hour 2 – voting for breakout topics and self-selecting rooms.
Find out more about this event and sign up here.
XR World Online Festival
8 MAY | 17:00 (UTC) | Online
Join with indigenous activists, experts, artists, rebels from around the world, common people, celebrities – anyone willing to join in or support resisting the destruction of our world and future.
An online mass festival for civil resistance with love, featuring Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein, Jem Bendell, and more.
This edition of Must Reads has been curated by Scientist Rebellion. Most of you reading this will already know our natural world is in dire straits, but these links will make you face that fact in unflinching detail. So brace yourselves, rebels. The truth hurts.
Youtube: 10 Yrs to Transform the Future of Humanity or Destabilize the Planet (8 min)
Scientist Johan Rockström delivers a simple message: the systems that regulate our climate are destabilizing and could make the Earth uninhabitable for our children.
Scientist Rebellion: The Science
A primer on climate science split into sections on climate feedbacks, rising seas, ecological breakdown, food & water security, the human cost, climate solutions, non-violent resistance.
Frontiers: Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future
An article penned this year by 17 scientists that provides a sobering assessment of the state of the planet. It warns world leaders that a ghastly future awaits us if action isn’t taken.
WWF: Living Planet Report 2020
This comprehensive report shows how our destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts on wildlife populations and human health, and calls for an economic system that values nature.
PNAS: Future of the Human Climate Niche
An article that predicts how, over the next 50 years, one third of the global population will experience mean annual temperatures currently only found in the Sahara desert.
BioScience: World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency
11,000 scientists “tell it like it is”. They make a clear case for why the planet Earth is facing a climate emergency and outline political steps that should be taken immediately.
Book of the Month
Doughnut Economics, by Kate Raworth
Is endless economic growth the enemy of our planet?
Turning traditional thinking on its head, Kate Raworth’s radical book argues for a new kind of economics fit for the 21st century. Her model, ‘The Doughnut’, identifies a “safe and just space” for humanity, where humans have everything we need to survive and thrive without exceeding the boundaries of our planet.
The Doughnut marks out a space where foundational human needs like peace, education, and equality are met, without destroying our natural world through pollution, biodiversity loss and climate injustice.
But to enter this Doughnut space, we need to ditch our obsession with endlessly expanding GDP, and move towards a circular economy where we value more than goods and services.
Doughnut Economics has been hugely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses, and political activists. Raworth has also presented it to audiences ranging from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement.
Here is another book recommended by our readers…
Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
“A really inspiring manifesto for facing the huge challenges and choosing the only psychologically viable way forward—getting actively involved in the solutions.” (Alister)
Not only is Joanna Macy a scholar in systems theory and deep ecology, she’s also who conservation scientists seek out for insight on accomplishing change.
Scientists of XR:
Biologist Dr. Nana, Germany
I have just completed my first ever non-violent direct action for Scientist Rebellion and I feel relieved and surprised at how well it went!
More scientists need to step up and use their position to speak out, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Because the conventional ways of influencing government have been exhausted and change isn’t coming fast enough.
That’s why we just stuck giant copies of scientific research papers to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Berlin.
I come from a rebellious family, so those close to me are supportive of what I am doing, although some friends are skeptical it will make a difference. But I am getting their attention, and I am helping to reach more people because I am not really known for putting myself out there like this.
Being part of Scientist Rebellion is about being the kind of person I want to be and showing others you can do something about the ecological crisis. And if I want more of my scientific colleagues to act, first I need to do it myself. Action inspires action!
I have made so many new friends through XR and it is relaxing to be around like-minded people. Even though it can be hard to fit the activism around my job, it is so rewarding and a source of strength because I don’t feel I am alone in trying to help save the world.
As the Climate Emergency is a Health Emergency, I am bringing more of what I am learning into the way I teach to try and prepare medical students for what they will face in the future.
I will definitely get involved with more research paper poster drops and bring more people with me next time!
If you know (or are) a rebel somewhere in the world with a story to tell, get in touch at email@example.com