This page answers some of the questions you might have.
We are facing an unprecedented global emergency of our own making. The sustained rise of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly disrupting the complex climate system, unchallenged by insufficient mitigation efforts. Consequences are already felt in multiple parts of the world, and heatwaves, floods and droughts will continue becoming more frequent and more intense. The Earth’s atmosphere is already over 1.1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and the chance of staying below the 2°C limit set in the Paris Agreement is tiny. Worldwide pledges and efforts put us on course for 3 degrees of warming and probably much higher. There is an increasing concern over the risk of abrupt, runaway climate change, triggered by the passing of key tipping points in the climate system. The planet also finds itself in the midst of a 6th mass extinction, with up to 1M species threatened by extinction due to human activities.
Floods, wildfires, extreme weather, sea level rise, crop failures and shortage of drinking water threaten us and our children directly, but they will also put our societies under increasing pressure and could lead to societal breakdown and increased global conflicts. The effects of climate change are projected to lead to 120 million more people being pushed into poverty by 2030.
There is a wide range of estimations on the amount of sea level rise to be expected this century. In a 2°C scenario, the ipcc estimated that sea levels could rise by 0.3 to 1m by 2100. Studies focused on worst-case, unabated emissions scenarios, consider up to 3m sea level rise. Even if greenhouse gas emissions halt and temperatures stabilize, sea level is likely to continue rising after that time due to the continued melting of ice sheet, and could reach up to 15m in the following centuries, raising important issues as to the viability of the Dutch delta in the long term. In the nearer future, the issue is not purely sea level rise but compound risks such as increased storm surges that would add on raised sea levels and cause more frequent floodings. Dikes built to resist 1/10000 years storms would only resist 1/100 storms. Rotterdam’s harbour protections would have to close more and more often causing important damage to the economy. The need to raise dikes, replace hydraulic structures and ensure increased sand replenishment would considerably raise water management costs. With increased precipitation inland, rivers would flood more often, and the evacuation of water would be made more difficult by raised sea levels, increasing the risk for dramatic flooding.
With the Paris agreement, states pledged to aim to limit global heating to 1.5°C and to remain well below 2°C by 2100, a level of warming that would cause much more dramatic consequences. To reach this goal, each country is responsible for formulating and achieving its own target. However, as for now, those targets are not even on track to meet the 2° scenario, and the Dutch goal, which is joint with the European Union, makes no exception. For the moment, the EU committed to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels in 2030 and is currently reviewing longer term commitments, the most ambitious of which aims for carbon neutrality in 2050.
We need to ask for stronger commitments and to ensure that they are not only lip service but result in actual policies. Despite the signature of the Paris agreement, global emissions are still on the rise with a 2.7% increase from 2017 to 2018, the largest rate of the last 7 years.
Current governmental policies lack a sense of urgency, while we are running out of time.
When it comes to environmental policy, the Netherlands is not the role model it pretends to be. Contrary to most EU countries, the Netherlands did not manage to reduce substantially its CO2 emissions since 1990. Total greenhouse gas emissions went down by only 14.5% between 1990-2018, far from the 20% reduction by 2020 target of the European Union, and even further from the 25% reduction target of the Urgenda ruling. Most of this reduction is from methane emissions, but the energy industry remains very carbon intensive, and CO2 emissions are nearly at the same level as in 1990. Proportionally to its population, the Netherlands is one of the worst greenhouse gas emitters in the EU, with emissions per capita 34% higher than the EU average. Far from understanding the urgency of this issue, the government carries on with subsidizing fossil fuels, agreeing to airport extensions and signing free trade agreements.
Despite its green image, the Netherlands is not on track to meet its 2020 renewable energy EU target of 14% renewable energies. With only 7.4% in 2018 it is in fact one of the European countries with the lowest share of renewable energy in its total consumption!
The klimaatakkoord sets targets for the Netherlands as a response to the Paris agreement. It calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 49% by 2030 and proposes a set of concrete policies to achieve that goal. These policies concern electricity, industry, mobility, agriculture and built environment. They were agreed following a two year long negotiation along the “polder model” process, involving environmental organisations and politicians, but also industrial groups and lobbies, including heavy polluters with a long history of hindering climate policies, such as Shell. By the end of the negotiation, environmental organizations walked out, considering that the agreement did not contain the structural changes necessary to tackle climate change.
We also consider this set of measures to be incommensurate with the urgency of the situation and the scale of the reaction needed. After decades of inaction, time is running out. We do not have the time anymore for an incremental transition within the existing political and economic system. According to the IPCC, we only have a bit more than 10 years of current emissions before reaching carbon concentration levels incompatible with a limitation of global heating to 1.5°C. As the history of climate agreements reveals, setting out far away goals and betting on green growth and the good will of industries is not effective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly and in a fair manner.
No, we don’t mean that the government is lying to us but that they are not acknowledging the extent of the current climate and ecological crisis and are failing to communicate proactively enough the urgency for change. The government has a duty to inform citizens about dangerous situations and protect them, even if this means difficult trade-offs. But so far, environmental issues have consistently been marginalized as secondary concerns that should not compromise economic goals or were integrated within positive narratives such as “green growth”. Instead of recognizing the need for fundamental changes on systemic level, citizens were held responsible for saving the planet through individual actions. It is time that the government openly recognizes the extent and priority of the environmental crisis we’re facing.
For decades, climate scientists, activists and politicians were advised to tell a positive story about the climate crisis and ecosystem breakdown, because citizens would fall into apathy if told how dire the situation actually is. According to the popular narrative, we might be facing ecological challenges sometime in the future, but nothing unmanageable. But this positive story gives us a false sense of safety and prevents us from mobilizing at the scale needed to avoid the disastrous environmental impacts we are already starting to see. Because the public is not aware of the urgency for change, governments face popular backlashes to uncomfortable environmental legislations. History shows that, when confronted with an emergency, people can shift their priorities, they can mobilize, they can act. To do so, they need to comprehend fully the scale of the crisis we’re facing, and this is why we made the decision to tell the plain truth in our communication without sugar coating it in false hopes.
The rampant destruction of nature and soaring emissions of greenhouse gases pose an unprecedented and existential threat to our societies and human civilisation as we know it. Individuals and entire states have responded to similar situations – such as wars or breaking dykes – by putting their survival at highest priority and by mobilising all the resources at their disposal to fight the threats that they are facing. They switched into emergency mode.
Climate and ecological emergencies have been declared in more than 500 municipalities around the globe, and in some countries such as the UK. It is not solely a symbolic act: By declaring a climate and ecological emergency, the Dutch government would acknowledge the immediate and existential threats that we are facing and would commit to direct its full attention to eradicate greenhouse-gas emissions and halt biodiversity-loss.
When law-makers defined what powers the Dutch government should have in times of emergency, they did not envisage the types of threats that we are facing today. The climate and ecological crisis does not fit into the traditional categories of disaster or war, which can trigger emergency laws granting the Dutch government additional powers. It follows that by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, the government would NOT invoke the emergency powers that are granted to it by law. Instead, it would actively communicate that we are facing unprecedented, existential threats through ecological breakdown that require the full attention by the government and us citizens.
Yes, we are! This is the reason why we demand a Citizen Assembly to take the lead on the just transformation of our societies. Time and again, governments have abused the language of “necessity” to seize power and burden people unfairly. By putting citizens at the heart of decision making and by providing them the necessary information and power to make meaningful decisions, justice can be upheld in these times of crises.
Our current way of life has major impacts on the planet and its ecosystems, and many of these are intertwined. For instance, deforestation directly increases carbon emissions and decreases biodiversity; the increase in carbon ejected into the atmosphere increases ocean carbon uptake, which causes acidification affecting ocean ecosystems. Another example is industrial agriculture, which is an important emitter of greenhouse gases, but is also responsible for deforestation, water pollution, biodiversity loss as well as numerous social issues. We want the government to address all those impacts simultaneously.
The IPCC 2018 report highlighted the dramatic increase in negative impacts between 1.5 and 2 degrees of global heating. However, even 1.5° of warming would have dire consequences for the biosphere and our way of life, meaning that we have to fight for each 0.1°, and that the earlier we curb carbon emissions, the better. The IPCC 2018 report looked into different scenarios that would maybe allow less than 1.5° of global warming in 2100, most of which are consistent with halving emissions by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality around 2050. There are however several issues with those scenarios, such as their reliance on carbon dioxide removal techniques that are not yet developed and their optimistic assumptions about the date of global emission peaks, usually set as early as 2020. Such scenarios are based on the amount of carbon that could still be released in the atmosphere before reaching certain temperatures, referred to as carbon budgets. The IPCC 2018 report calculated a carbon budget corresponding to a bit more than 10 years of current emissions to have two chances on three to stay under 1.5°C of warming. Uncertainties around those figures are however very large. For instance, taking into account earth system feedbacks such as permafrost thawing would cut that budget by a few more years. Moreover, even within the range of warming set by the Paris agreement, there’s a risk of setting off tipping points, such as permafrost decay or the mass dieback of the Amazon, that could cause runaway global warming.
Aiming to get to net zero emissions by 2025 might not be politically acceptable and easily implementable, but we need to focus on what is safe and necessary. Twenty years ago, we had time for a smooth transition. But instead of taking immediate actions, governments consistently treated climate change and the ecological crisis as side issues. Unwilling to rethink established political and economic principles, they failed to design effective climate policies. It is now too late for small steps and the ecological question must become a top priority. We realise that aiming for carbon neutrality in 2025 is more than challenging and therefore we are pushing for massive scale mobilization and an emphasis on democracy via the citizens assembly. A number of countries such as Finland (2035) and Norway (2030) have already set targets for reaching net zero emissions on ambitious timescales and is more than time that the Netherlands join them.
We do not have the luxury to wait for other countries to act first. It is inevitable that some countries take the lead to inspire others to follow. EU countries, which are responsible for most of the historic emissions, have the duty to pave the way towards a decarbonized future. The Netherlands, as a country which already has expertise in developing renewable energy infrastructure, should be at the forefront of this movement.
The Netherlands might be a tiny country and therefore only contribute to a small share of global emissions, but it is among the highest greenhouse gases emitter per capita, with more than 30% more than the rest of Europe and more than double than the world average. Moreover, the Dutch lifestyle influences carbon emissions elsewhere as it requires services and goods produced in other countries, such as China. Regulations leading to changes in our consumption patterns and reducing the unnecessary shipping of goods would influence greenhouse gas emission levels throughout the world.
The government still acts as though there is no connection between economic growth and climate change. Unfortunately, there is no empirical support for the notion that ‘green growth’, where economic growth is decoupled from rising emissions, is possible. It is impossible to sustain the current economic system, because the Earth has biophysical limits that cannot facilitate indefinite economic growth. In order to reach the goal of net zero emissions in 2025, we need to significantly focus on maximizing well-being and reducing both consumption and production. We must adapt our economy to ecological imperatives rather than adapt climate policies to economic imperatives. So yes, implementing radical climate policies will not go without a massive transformation of our economy and job market. This is why the role of the Citizens’ Assembly is so critical. They will have to ensure that climate policies are implemented in a way that is fair for everyone.
The ecological and social crisis are different symptoms of a single toxic system, and they should both be addressed. The environmental crisis are going to worsen social crisis as they will disproportionately affect the poorest and most fragile of us: crop failures will lead to the increase of food prices, relocating in areas less affected by extreme events be more difficult for some than others and there will be inequalities in the ability to protect oneself and belongings from those events.
Citizens Assemblies are institutions in which randomly selected citizens deliberate on public policy or law. From Ireland to Iceland, from Canada to India, Citizens Assemblies have been used successfully to end political stalemates and find solutions to problems of long-standing controversy. Citizens’ Assemblies represent diverse social groups and take political decision-making out of the realm of political power games and lobbying. They are ideal tools to tackle this climate and ecological crisis democratically.
Citizens Assemblies are run by an independent organization. The members of a Citizens Assembly are chosen according to demographic quotas (sortition). This ensures that the Citizens Assembly represents a cross-section of society in terms of age, gender, place of residence, level of education, et cetera. The members of the Citizens Assembly then hear balanced information from experts and stakeholders that are selected to represent all available knowledge on the ecological crisis and its causes. After this learning period, they deliberate the pros and cons of different policy options in small, facilitated groups. Finally, they draft and vote on a policy recommendation, which Government implements.
Citizens Assemblies are mini-publics that represent a cross-section of the population, rather than a political elite. This predisposes them to make decisions that take into account the needs of all. Taking into account the needs of all is important because, changes in the environment like droughts, storms, and floods, will put enormous pressure on society through crop-failures, losses of livelihoods, migration, and poverty. Our society’s adjustment to this emergency will create extreme challenges and demand difficult trade-offs. Industries and associated jobs will change or disappear. Investments in infrastructure and fossil-fuel industries will lose their value. In this situation, it is important that every voice in society is heard, and that no group dominates the societal decision-making process determining our common response to this emergency. If properly organised, Citizens Assemblies can protect decision-making from excessive interference by organised (economic) interest groups. In this context, an important feature of Citizens Assemblies is that their participants do not strive for re-election. They are not part of the political power games and don’t have political career considerations. This makes them more independent. It empowers them to make decisions that would be ‘too hot to handle’ for politicians – decisions that include difficult trade-offs, decisions that the effective tackling of this climate and ecological emergency undoubtedly requires.
First of all, history shows that, despite better knowledge, the Dutch government has failed to tackle climate change: Since the 1990s, it has failed to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions. The Netherlands currently has the third-highest CO2 emissions per capita in Europe and doubles the world average. It has the second-lowest renewable energy share in Europe. In contrast, however, it subsidizes the fossil fuel industry with an estimated average of €7.6 billion per year. Last but not least, it refuses to comply with the Dutch Courts’ 2015 and 2018 Urgenda rulings to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020. The responsibility to protect citizens’ lives from ecological collapse can no longer be left solely to the hands of a government who has been failing to do so for 30 years! Second, corporate interests play heavily into political decision-making on the climate crisis on both national and EU level. The seemingly inclusive polder model of the Netherlands that is meant to allow for broad citizen participation favors economic issue-framings and empowers industries rather than civil society. For example, the government allowed Shell a seat at the the klimaattafels although it has been shown that, for decades, the company actively mislead society on the existence of climate change and stalled policy-responses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US and the EU. Third, parliamentary democracy in the Netherlands shows weaknesses in terms of inclusivity. Not only parliament but also the informal consultations, wherein many policy decisions in the Netherlands are made (‘polder model’), are filled with representatives that have a higher educational background, while other backgrounds are marginalized. Finally, parliamentary representatives in the Netherlands find themselves in a 5-year electoral cycle, after which they want to be re-elected. This prevents them from making the rapid and substantial, yet potentially unpopular, decisions that are indispensable to tackle this climate and ecological crisis, and protect citizens in the long-term.
Assemblies of common citizens are surprisingly good at taking common interest decisions. Participants combine their own needs and life experiences with the input of experts, they listen to each other and deliberate rationally, before voting on recommendations. The sortition process ensures that they are representative of society. By approaching the problem differently than traditional representative assemblies, citizens can provide original solutions or debate on controversial and sensitive subjects. Contrarily to a popular belief, studies have shown that participants to citizen assemblies tended to take more cosmopolitan and egalitarian decisions .
Participatory democracy has already been very successful at local levels. One of the most renowned example is the participatory budget of Porto Alegre, which allowed rapid increases in the quality of sanitary facilities and the number of schools, and a substantial decrease of infant mortality. Citizen’s involvement in the process grew year by year, helped to tackle clientelism, rebuilt trust in institutions and even lowered tax avoidance. On the national level, Citizens Assemblies are sometimes created to deal with specific issues, such as the one that lead to the lifting of the Irish abortion ban.
Citizens Assemblies do have a legitimate democratic mandate. Their mandate does not rely on elections, but on sortition. If constituted according to sortition, Citizens Assemblies form ideal bodies of democratic representation, because an assembly of randomly-selected citizens represents the population better than representatives elected by a fraction of society. This is how democracy worked in ancient Greece (at the time excluding women and slaves).
Moreover, it is normal for democratic representatives to delegate part of their decision-making to specific decision-making bodies. Citizen Assemblies are not supposed to completely replace representative democracy but to aid it. We need to think less in terms of oppositions (i.e. representative vs. deliberative democracy) and more in terms of combinations.
We are in an all-time-exceptional climate and ecological crisis that might expose us to severe hunger and health damages, and even cost our (or our children’s) lives. No means should be too expensive to tackle this crisis. Compared to the damages this climate and ecological crisis will soon cause us (and already causes us), this measure is cheap. In 2008, for example, the Dutch government bailed out Fortis (ABN Amro) with more than 16 billion euros and injected more than 10 billion euros into the bank ING Group in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Compared to this, the cost of a Citizen Assembly is peanuts!
It is true, referendums and Citizen Assemblies are similar in the way that they let normal citizens make potentially far-reaching decisions. But this is also where the similarities end. Citizens Assemblies do not involve people in isolation but instead put the process of information gathering (consultation of experts and stakeholders) and subsequent deliberation at the centre. What is more, Citizens Assemblies do not ask simple yes/no questions but instead require people to frame problems themselves and come up with the solutions that are necessary to face it.
Opinion polls capture ad hoc reactions, rather than informed opinions. Because they lack elements of public learning and deliberation, they are low-quality means to grasp an approximation of population’s average long-term interest. While it is true that opinion polls (if well done) are a good measure to capture a cross-section of the population’s will at a given moment in time, these polls have a major weakness: they capture the will of citizens that neither had the opportunity to inform themselves beforehand about a specific matter of concern, nor had the opportunity to deliberate about this matter with co-affected fellow citizens. For example, if a poll would ask urban citizens whether they agree with a tax on car driving, many of these citizens would probably agree, because many of them do not have a car. Had these citizens been given the chance to inform themselves and deliberate with people, who are living in rural or suburban areas, they might have considered that other citizens rely on their cars to reach work. Hence, they might have come to a different conclusion. They might, for example, still agree with a tax on car driving, but only under the condition that this tax be used for the improvement of nation-wide public transport. Opinion polls do not give citizens such a chance to inform themselves, deliberate and come to a considered judgement. They are thus a poor measure to capture what is truly in the interest of the entire population of a country.
Our primary goal is to raise the alarm and pressure politicians to finally take the path that many paved before us. The solutions are already out there and have been worked out extensively by organizations such as Urgenda. The only thing missing is the political will to apply them. We do not consider ourselves legitimate to say exactly what the government should be doing. We would rather focus on the necessary goals the government should set and advocate for the creation of a Citizen’s Assembly to ensure that necessary measures are taken and applied in a way that is fair for everyone.
We know the task ahead is daunting and the likelihood of success may seem slim, but the stakes are so high, the risks of continuing down the ruinous path we are on, so dire, that doing nothing, even doing only what we’ve done before, is unthinkable.
Some of us are non-violent for tactical reasons and some for moral reasons. According to research on conflicts between non-state and state actors around the world between 1900 and 2006, it was found that 53% of nonviolent campaigns were successful as opposed to 26% of campaigns that used violence. Moreover, of the violent campaigns, 95% had descended into dictatorship or totalitarian rule within five years. This is essentially because non-violent protests allow to mobilize a more diverse share of the population (families, elderlies) and to confront a power too strong to be defeated violently, while keeping a large support within the general population. Violence from demonstrators can be instrumented by the media whereas non-violent strategies highlight violent responses from the authorities, creating outrage within the general public.
Extinction rebellion is a grassroots movement relying on mass civil disobedience, bringing thousands of people in the streets to create massive disruption and force the government into listening to our demands. Our approach is different from the one chosen by most organizations: we tell the hard truth about the multiple environmental crisis threatening us instead of sugar coating it in false hopes, and we act accordingly by putting our bodies on the line. This strategy was successful in the UK during the April international rebellion and managed to bring climate change on top of the agenda by attiring a lot of media coverage, leading to debates in parliament and invitations by politicians.
We’ve done marching. We’ve done petitioning. We’ve written pamphlets and books, we’ve made funny videos and given dramatic talks. For decades scientists have been warning of the immediate need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our footprint on the planet. For decades we’ve been shouting in the desert. We’ve tried everything we were allowed to. Conventional campaigning has failed. We are now on the brink. The only option left is non-violent civil disobedience, disruption of the ordinary working of things, so that decision makers have no choice but to take our revendications into account.
Unfortunately, history has shown that disrupting business as usual is the only way to ensure meaningful progress. We would prefer not having to do this, and we sincerely apologise to all of the people that will be affected by our actions, but we are left without a choice. This crisis is already affecting people and ecosystems all over the world and if we fail to act quickly it will become worse and worse.
What is legal is not always the right thing to do. Subsidizing fossil fuels is legal. The structural avoidance of taxes is legal. Denying the ecological crisis to continue exploiting as much oil as possible is as well. Turning forests into mines and arable lands into supermarkets still is. We are acting out of despair. Over the last 40 years, the science has been clear. The current system has brought us on the way to Extinction. We have no other choice but to disrupt business as usual.
We wish organizing large scale civil disobedience actions was not necessary and it is not something we do lightly. However, after years of unsuccessful campaigns and government inaction, we are running out of time.
We run trainings to ensure that everybody taking part in non-violent civil disobedience in defence of the planet, whether experienced or not, understands the risks they are taking and the potential consequences. People then make their own choices depending on the risks they could face given their own specific situation and always have the possibility to take part or support our actions in a legal way.
Getting arrested allows to draw attention on how dire the crisis is and on how serious and determined we are on not giving up. If we are really on the verge of extinction, we have to act accordingly, applying our first demand, Tell the truth, to ourselves.
Law abiding citizens, people you know from school, work, sports, put their bodies on the line. They get arrested for asking the government to take action against a crisis that concerns us all, forcing a reaction from the public. It is a very strategic tool to generate crisis moments so that the topic comes high on the agenda. Arrests and court hearings create a lot of media coverage, that can be used as platforms to spread a movement’s ideas.
This strategy creates a dilemma for the police and the government, who have to choose between not intervening (and let activists continue disrupting the ordinary course of events to spread their message) and risking backlash by arresting people (who can then instrumentalize those arrests to mobilize even more people).
Extinction Rebellion considers that answering the climate and environmental crisis are non-partisan issues that should be a priority regardless of political identity, and therefore positions itself above party politics. However, our demands are of course political and in the scope of our actions we sometimes get in contact with politicians either on the municipal or national level. In these cases, we try to always address the full political spectrum as we do not want to be associated with one party in particular, and to remain open and transparent about our interactions with them.
Extinction Rebellion is of course political since our aim is to transform our political and economic system in a way that enables humans to live on this planet, slows down global warming, and halts biodiversity loss. We believe these goals are in the interest of every person, regardless of their political views. However, we are beyond party politics. Extinction Rebellion does not associate itself with any political party. We believe that no party in the current system is able to enact the large-scale changes that are needed in the face of the climate emergency and the 6th mass extinction because of the incentive structure in our society and economy that favours short-term considerations over long-term priorities. The current political system has failed us all. People within the movement hold a wide range of political views, with some describing themselves as anti-capitalists, and others who do not. The problem with these labels is that they often are not clearly defined, have different meanings to different people and often even completely prevent fruitful political engagement. There are currently many aspects of the economic system, i.e. capitalism, that do cause the climate and ecological crisis. However, we believe that a citizens’ assembly should find the right policies to tackle these crises without prescribing any particular economic system.
Do you understand how bad things are? If so what is stopping you from making the changes that are needed? How can you possibly continue subsidizing fossil fuels and accept the expansion of Schiphol airport? We are focussed on developing a mass movement of civil disobedience and we have no intention of stopping until we deal with the crisis we are in. The climate and biodiversity crisis requires urgent and drastic action to decarbonise the economy as quickly as possible in a way that is fair for everyone.
A group of UK activists that have been working together since 2016 in a group called Rising Up! have instigated the Extinction Rebellion but it is quickly becoming a decentralised mass movement belonging to everyone who cares about our future. It now counts several hundreds of local and national groups all over the globe and is present in more than 50 countries.
We are a decentralised organisation – anyone can do things in the name of Extinction Rebellion if they agree with and adhere to our principles and values – people don’t need anyone’s permission on that basis. We have a self-organising system. Power is invested in roles through the use of mandates rather than held by people. It is a creative system that grows in response to the organisation’s needs. We organise in circles focussed on actions, political strategy, outreach, media and communication, finance, and arts. Representatives from those circles form a coordination circle which ensures good communication between the different teams.
No Extinction Rebellion (XR) group in your area? Time to get one started! One of our core principles is that anyone can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion as long as they adhere to our Principles and Values. That means you can take action, and start new groups, without anyone’s permission.
First you need to gather those that are sympathetic or interested in the Rebellion in your area. This can be easily done by creating a Facebook event, putting flyers in local cafes and hosting a public “Heading for Extinction and What We Can Do About It” talk. If you have any questions regarding the set-up of the talk, arranging flyers or anything related to the foundation of a local group, just send us a message via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We like to think we’re realists. We have a clear understanding of the ecological crisis and the climate emergency, and we understand that we have to change the course we are taking as early as possible if we want to mitigate its impacts. So far, our governments have failed to take the radical actions that are necessary for the global systems to stay within safe boundaries. What would be utopian is to continue business as usual and consistently try to convince ourselves that it will always be 5 minutes to midnight or that technology will solve our problems before it is too late.
We live in toxic system that has damaged everybody. We are challenging ourselves and this system but no one can be blamed for being part of it. We believe that the crisis we’re facing cannot be solved by solely individual actions and rather focus on systemic changes.
Our movement gathers people from all walks of life. A lot of us are students, concerned about our future and the one of people around the globe. Others are parents who worry about their children’s life. Most of us have a day job and would have never imagined having to go to such an extent to protect life on the planet.
Some, though not all of us, have a “spiritual” orientation and we welcome anyone regardless of their beliefs. We think that people protect the things that they love and that embracing our love of life and the natural world is not something we should shy away from. That said, we are not naive or uninformed about social and economic justice.
We are a radically inclusive movement, we actively work to mitigate for power. In practice, that means we recognise that oppressive behaviours are socially embedded within us, and privileged people are asked to commit to questioning their privilege and to be open to being challenged. We want everyone, regardless of their background, beliefs, color or gender to be able to join us and contribute to our actions.
We want to welcome a variety of views, rather than adopting positions on controversial topics. We believe a social movement is best built as a “broad church” and that respectful discussions should take place within the movement on a variety of topics, which should of course honour our principles and values of no blaming and shaming. Furthermore, whilst we will point out some facts (e.g. ‘carbon capture techniques are currently not ready to be applied on a grand scale’), XR explicitly does not take any position on specific solutions to the ecological crisis, because we don’t want to claim that type of power. It should be up to the Citizens’ Assembly to come up with a way to deal with the crisis focussing on climate and ecological justice based on being presented with facts from a variety of experts.