Getting started at Extinction Rebellion
This page is for new rebels, and it gives you all the information you need to get started at Extinction Rebellion. There are different ways you can contribute to Extinction Rebellion. Do you have a bit of time to spare each month? Then you can already help us on the street with actions, or behind the scenes!
Join the actions
Extinction Rebellion is known for non-violent civil disobedience actions. Do you want to find out what actions entail? Then read the following sections on this page in this order:
A – A common ground: demands & core values
B – Actions: preparation & taking part
Helping behind the scenes
Would you prefer to help behind the scenes, rather than be on the street? There are also lots of ways you can do this: To find out more, read the following sections in this order:
A – A common ground: demands & core values
C – Behind the scenes: how to help
D – Everything that happens behind the scenes
E – Decision-making, division of tasks & practices
F – Digital tools: communication & document management
G – Finding your group: local, national and community groups
We understand that you want to get started right away, but it helps if you can first spend a bit of time reading up on how we are organised before you get in touch with a group. If you’ve finished reading after a while, save this page and continue reading later.
Do you have any questions? We’re always happy to answer them via email@example.com
Extinction Rebellion makes the following demands of the Dutch government:
- TELL THE TRUTH
about the climate and ecological crisis that threatens our existence and communicate the urgency for change
- ACT NOW to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 in a just and fair manner
- LET CITIZENS DECIDE by establishing a Citizen ‘s assembly which takes the lead on climate and ecological justice
- CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR ALL
A growing number of rebels within Extinction Rebellion are demanding a just transition that centres the needs and voices of those on the frontline of climate change and holds to account those most responsible for ecological breakdown. Extinction Rebellion is in the process of deciding whether we should incorporate this demand movement-wide. You will find more information on www.demand0.nl.
Our core values
Extinction Rebellion has ten basic principles & core values. Anyone who acts according to these principles and core values can take action:
We Have a Shared Vision of Change
a world that is fit for generations to come.
We Set Our Mission on What is Necessary
Mobilising a significant part of the population to achieve system change.
We Need a Regenerative Culture
Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.
We Openly Challenge Ourselves and This Toxic System
Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.
We Value Reflecting and Learning
Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.
We Welcome Everyone and Every Part of Everyone
Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.
We Actively Mitigate for Power
Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.
We Avoid Blaming and Shaming
We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.
We Are a Non-violent Network
Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.
We Are Based on Autonomy and Decentralisation
We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.
Anyone who supports these demands and wants to follow these core principles may call themselves a rebel and take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.
The next step
Are you interested in joining actions? Then continue reading under the heading Actions: preparation & taking part. Are you more interested in organising behind the scenes? Then continue reading under the heading Behind the scenes: how to help.
Extinction Rebellion takes peaceful action, often in the form of civil disobedience. By taking this action, we are targeting the government and big polluters and demanding the necessary change. Although arrests are a central part of our strategy, you don’t have to get yourself arrested to join our actions. We need everyone who is willing to stand up for a liveable future to join us.
The first step: follow an Action Training
Taking part in an action for the first time can be both exciting and a bit scary. If you are thinking of joining an action, it is essential to follow an action training, also known as an NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) training. Various aspects are discussed in this training, including:
- What is considered non-violent?
- How do you manage the risks of getting arrested?
- What does getting arrested mean in practice?
- What are the legal consequences of getting arrested?
- The Action Consensus
Action trainings are organized on an ad-hoc basis by various local, national or community XR groups.
If you are interested in joining actions, then following an action training is the next step. So find an action training near you and sign up now!
Our Action Consensus
When joining an action, it is important to abide by the action consensus, so that everyone, from yourself to fellow rebels to the general public knows what behaviour to expect from rebels at Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. You will find a short version of the action consensus here:
- We show respect to everyone – to each other, the general public and to the government and police.
- We do not engage in any violence, either physical or verbal.
- We carry no weapons or sharp objects.
- We do not carry or use any alcohol or drugs.
- We hold ourselves accountable for our actions.
A more detailed version can be found here.
The second step: find an action to join
Once you have followed an action training you are ready to take part in your first action. Various groups within Extinction Rebellion organize actions, on various scales. Not all actions are communicated publicly, in order to avoid police interference before we can even start the action.
If you don’t know where to start, an easy way in is to join a publicly announced action. These actions are shared in a Telegram broadcast. So install Telegram now and add yourself to the group by clicking on this link: t.me/XRNLactiebroadcast. You can find out more about Telegram under the heading Digital tools: communication & document management.
Right now, there are several active campaigns that share their actions publicly. A campaign is a repeated action for a specific objective, such as the A12 road blocks against fossil fuel subsidies and the Kappen met kolen (Quit Coal) campaign. You can find more information about the campaign and sign up to join an action via the website.
Before an action takes place, briefings are usually organised in order to discuss the plan and form small groups so that no-one goes to the action alone. When joining actions that are not publicly shared, you must make sure that the organisers have your contact details and that they trust you. This is why we recommend contacting your local group, for example, and going along to a meeting to get to know them and letting them know that you would like to join when an action is organised. You will find the contact details of all the groups under the heading Finding your group: local, national and community groups.
So you want to help behind the scenes at Extinction Rebellion? That’s great news! Before we go into everything that needs to happen, how you can find out how to help and how to contact us, it’s a good idea to have a think about your motivation and expectations.
Motivation: fear and anger or fun
Most rebels come to Extinction Rebellion out of concern, fear and/or anger about the future and the climate. Of course we have more than enough reasons for this. But sometimes it means that we make choices that aren’t right for us, for example doing things we feel are important, but that cause a lot of stress, or which create a heavy workload for us. So find something that you can do that you also enjoy. Make sure that you can have fun at Extinction Rebellion. This is healthy for you and for the movement. The motivation you get from having fun is sustainable, even if you’ve never done something before or you’re not really very good at it, because there is always someone who will want to teach you.
Communication and information
According to core value 10, Extinction Rebellion is a decentralised organisation, arranged in all kinds of independent groups. This means that we have over thirty local groups in the Netherlands, for example, and also over ten national working groups (also known as circles). What’s more, anyone can start up their own working group.
The benefit of this is that we are organised very fairly, and that we can also quickly deal with changing circumstances. There is no management that you need to wait for in order to decide what to do. The flip side of this decentralised organisation is that each group is a little bit different and communicates slightly differently. So you will come across a number of different communication tools (alternatives to WhatsApp) and forms of document management (alternatives to Google Drive). You might also find out-of-date information and/or contact details sometimes.
Due to the decentralised organisation which sometimes leads to information being dispersed, Extinction Rebellion might seem overwhelming or frustrating, and therefore inaccessible, to start with. Remember: this isn’t because of you. Take the time to get familiar with everything and ask for help if you can’t manage. We’re happy to help you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking the initiative
Another consequence of not having a management that tells you what to do is that your own initiative is important. We try to put as little pressure as possible on each other. If a person in a group doesn’t make an active contribution, we assume that this person has good reasons for this. Do you want to make an active contribution? Then it helps to show initiative yourself. You don’t have to have a detailed plan, but taking on smaller or less complicated tasks with the help of one or more experienced rebels are good ways to get to know the movement. After a while you will probably have some ideas yourself!
The next step
Now that you know roughly what is involved in being active behind the scenes at Extinction Rebellion, it might be good to get an idea of all the things that happen behind these scenes. To find out more, continue reading under the heading Everything that happens behind the scenes.
You might not need to read this section. Do you already have an idea of what happens behind the scenes, or would you rather find out in practice? Then go directly to Decision-making, division of tasks and practices.
So much more happens behind the scenes than what you see in the news. In order to give you an idea, here we’ve set out what we are trying to achieve as a movement and what needs to happen in order to achieve it. It’s impossible to summarise everything that thousands of independent rebels do in just a few headings, but we think we’ve had a good go at it.
Read through the list below and take note of the things you might enjoy doing. This can help you to find your way in our movement. Don’t see anything that’s a good fit for you right away? Don’t worry, when you find a group later on there are always people who can help you work out what would be a good fit for you within that group!
We want to grow in order to have more and more impact, which is why:
- We organise welcome talks and welcome activities.
- We make as much information as possible available online.
- We help as many people as possible on a one-to-one basis to find their way within our movement.
We want everyone who can identify with our demands to be able to contribute, which is why:
- We give talks to welcome and inform new people.
- We give trainings to learn new skills, such as facilitating meetings, giving trainings, and organising actions.
- There is no management that says what you have to do, but there is plenty of space for your own ideas.
- Any time you can contribute is welcome, in any role.
We value healthy and resilient communities, which is why:
- We have therapists on hand if you’re struggling.
- We also organise regular social activities within Extinction Rebellion.
- We organise trainings on non-violent communication and well-being during actions.
- We start each meeting by asking everyone how they’re doing.
We want our actions to have an impact, which is why:
- We often try to place individual actions within a larger strategy.
- We feel it is very important to reflect after actions.
We want our rebels to be able to organise effectively, which is why:
- There are rebels who maintain Extinction Rebellion’s IT systems.
- We organise trainings about how you can organise fairly, for example through sociocracy.
- We ensure that funds are raised and budgeted.
We want rebels to be able to carry out actions as safely as possible, which is why:
- We always plan actions carefully.
- We give action trainings to prepare new rebels.
- We often organise an action briefing for each action in order to explain it.
- We organise legal support for rebels who have been arrested.
We want our actions to convey a clear message, which is why:
- We issue a press release for each action.
- We are active on all kinds of social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
- We make all kinds of visuals like banners and badges in order to powerfully convey our message.
The next step
Now that you’ve read this you have a picture of everything that needs to happen behind the scenes. In order to get all this done, of course we have to divide the tasks and ensure that our decision-making process is well organised. You can find out how we do this under the heading Decision-making, division of tasks & practices.
Each autonomous group within Extinction Rebellion tries to organise according to the core values and thus limit power structures as much as possible and create a good, regenerative culture. In order to do this, we have a number of practices in the fields of decision-making, division of tasks and meeting practices. Here we use elements of a form of administration known as sociocracy. Because these practices are probably a bit different to what you are used to, it’s important to get an idea of them. So read through this section carefully. It makes sense that you might not remember everything, and we don’t expect you to.
Decision-making: consent rather than majority voting or consensus
In our democracy, the majority decides for everyone. Because this leaves out the interests of minorities, not everyone is considered, and not all input is used. Another way of taking decisions is seeking a proposal that everyone prefers (consensus). This is often very difficult and takes a long time.
This is why, within Extinction Rebellion, we make decisions based on consent rather than majority voting or consensus.
There is consent for a proposal when no rebel in the group has an objection. Any rebel can share their concerns about a proposal with the group. The group will discuss the issue and improve the proposal until everyone gives their consent. Working with consent prevents everyone from focussing on their own personal preferences, thus making it easier to make a decision as a group.
Division of tasks: Roles & Circles
In order to organize effectively, it is of course important to divide the tasks and know who is responsible for what. In order to do this, we use the sociocratic idea of circles and roles.
A circle is a group that is allowed to make decisions about a certain topic (for example: the content of our social media messages). If you want to help with this, then you can join this circle. By not joining a circle, you consent to the decisions in that circle being made without you. Circles may also have sub-circles in order to divide all the tasks further.
Not all groups are organized in circles, as some local groups manage without them. All national matters are divided into national circles.
In order to divide the tasks further within a small group or circle, we often use roles. A role is a task (for example: secretary) with a clear description (for example: taking notes and maintaining the administration).
To avoid power accumulation within a small group of people, rebels are elected for a role in a sociocratic election, often for a limited time (usually 3-6 months).
Each independent group, such as a circle or a local group, can decide which roles they need. Most groups have at least a facilitator, a coordinator, a representative and an integrator. Detailed role descriptions (in Dutch) can be found here. Below you will find short descriptions of the roles that we recommend having in a group.
- The Facilitator enables efficient and pleasant meetings by making room for everyone, ensuring the agenda is followed and managing the decision-making process.
- The Coordinator (internal coordinator) ensures that the group works well by keeping track of the goals and proposing an agenda for each meeting.
- The Representative (external coordinator) represents the group when decisions need to be made with other groups and brings back input from other groups.
- The Secretary takes minutes of meetings and maintains the administration.
- The Integrator welcomes, informs and supports new rebels.
- The Well-being Rebel ensures a healthy and regenerative atmosphere in the group.
You can find out how the sociocratic election process works here.
Practices for a good atmosphere at meetings
Using hand signals
How often are meetings drowned out by just one or two individuals who do all the talking? Not because the rest have nothing to say, but because these individuals are the most dominant and demand attention. To give everyone room to speak and thus take advantage of our collective knowledge and experience, we use hand signals.
Do you want to say something? Then raise your hand with one finger. The facilitator will give you a turn. Has someone already raised their hand? Then raise your hand with two fingers and you are second in line. There are also some other hand signals, for example to indicate that you want to respond immediately or make a technical point (during a video call: I can’t hear you!). There are a few more. Some of the most commonly used hand signals are explained in the image below.
Using hand signals can feel a little uncomfortable at first, but you will probably get used to them fairly quickly.
Check-in and check-out
Due to our sociocratic and regenerative culture (principle 3), we begin and end almost every meeting with a moment focussing on the people present, rather than the items on the agenda. We call these a check-in (beginning of the meeting) and a check-out (end of the meeting).
We go around the circle and everyone briefly says how they are (really!) doing. Suppose you’ve had a bad day or a rough night or had an argument with someone, then you can explain that, and the others will know why you’re behaving a certain way. On the other hand, it’s also nice to share happy things happening in your life.
The next step
Now that you have an idea of how we are organized internally, it’s almost time to look for a group that suits you. In order to be able to contact this group, it’s important to first briefly discuss digital tools. So continue reading under the heading Digital Tools: Communication & Document Management.
You will come across various digital tools in our movement. We aim for tools that are as secure as possible, and that run on technology powered by renewable energy. This is why we sometimes use tools other than the ones you might be used to. There are quite a few different tools and as a new rebel you don’t need to have them all right away.
Have you only got limited time, or you don’t like computers much? Then you don’t need to have access to all the digital tools right away. In order to communicate with rebels in a group whose contact details you don’t yet have, it is essential to have Mattermost. So go to this page where you can create a Mattermost account. Then you can continue reading under the heading Finding your group: local, national and community groups.
What is a movement without communication? Not much really. At Extinction Rebellion the three most frequently used communication tools are Mattermost, Signal & Telegram.
Mattermost is used to communicate with all rebels from all groups within the Netherlands and even abroad, without needing users’ contact details. For a new rebel, Mattermost can sometimes be overwhelming, but it offers a lot of independence. With Mattermost you can contact the groups and people you’re looking for yourself. This is why we do recommend that every new rebel who wants to help behind the scenes creates a Mattermost account. So visit this page to find out how to create a Mattermost account and use it.
Mattermost is handy if you need to communicate with people whose contact details you don’t have, but it isn’t very user-friendly. This is why many groups also use Signal. Signal is an alternative to Whatsapp and is used for secure communications. Common uses include quickly giving updates on action points and sharing information about upcoming activities. For many groups within Extinction Rebellion, Signal is the default communication app. You can download Signal for your iPhone, for Android (Samsung, Huawei, etc.) and for your PC.
More information about why Signal is more Secure than Whatsapp or Telegram can be found here.
Telegram is used for its broadcast function to send announcements to anyone who may be interested. There are three Telegram broadcast channels:
https://t.me/XRNLbroadcast: A general Telegram broadcast to keep all rebels informed about relevant news.
https://t.me/xrnlactiebroadcast: For action-related updates.
https://t.me/XRNLintern: Updates for rebels actively helping behind the scenes.
As you can imagine, document sharing is an important method of working together. For example, working together on action plans, reviewing agendas or minutes for meetings, designing posters and much more. Most of our documentation is available in our Nextcloud file sharing environment. Everyone is free to explore our public files on Nextcloud.
You can create a Nextcloud account here. You can then view publicly accessible files here. This means that you can see files, but not edit them yet. If you also want to edit a certain group’s files, or view a group’s private files, then you need to reach out to this group and request permission.
A better-known alternative to Nextcloud is Google Drive, and some groups do use it. If you have a Google account (for example if you have an email address ending with @gmail.com) then you can access a group’s files.
As an alternative to Nextcloud and Google Drive, Cryptpad is the most secure of the online collaboration tools available. This is why it is mainly used to plan secret actions (but also public actions), as it lowers the chances of the plans leaking out. You can create an account here.
The next step
You now have a really good idea of how we are organised at Extinction Rebellion. Great! Now it’s time to find a group that suits you. So read this last essential section: Finding your group: local, national and community groups.
There are three types of groups you can join at Extinction Rebellion Netherlands:
- Local groups, for example XR Deventer.
- Community groups, for example XR Healthcare professionals.
- National circles/working groups, for example XR Collaborations.
You can contribute to different groups at the same time. For example, many rebels are active at both a local and national level. As a new rebel we recommend starting with one group. Below we explain more about the ways you can become active.
Differences between the types of groups
Each group is different. In order to find the right group for you, it helps if you can decide, based on the differences below, whether you would rather be active in a local, national or community group.
- Online or in person Local groups often meet up in person, national groups and community groups meet more often online.
- Level of activity Not all groups are equally active. The more things that happen in a group, the easier it is to make a real contribution with a small task. With groups that are still starting up or don’t have much structure yet, it takes more energy to find a role or task to suit you. If you start in a certain group and realise that the activity there doesn’t really suit you, then you are very welcome to join another group.
- Degree of specialisation Small local groups and community groups are a kind of mini movement in themselves and do everything (or almost everything) themselves, from organising actions to maintaining a social media presence and writing newsletters to painting banners. National working groups are highly specialised in a subject. Do you enjoy programming, for example? Then there’s a national tech circle you can join!
1. Local groups
At the time of writing, there are just over thirty active local groups, spread all over the country. You can find all the local groups here. When you click through, you will find the relevant group page contact information such as the email address, and a short description.
All local groups differ from each other. Each group is autonomous, so it chooses its own way of organising. The size of each group is also different. Especially the groups in the larger cities like Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are quite large and consist of dozens of rebels.
2. Community Groups
A community group is a group of rebels with the same interests or identity, like XR Scientists, for scientists who are part of Extinction Rebellion. The other community groups are: XR NL Families, XR Healthcare Professionals, XR NL Fashion Action, XR Agriculture, XR NL Youth, University Rebellion NL, XR Neurodiversity and XR News Media. More information and contact details for the community groups can be found here.
3. National circles / Working groups
Despite the fact that XR is organised in a decentralised way, a number of tasks can only be done at a national level. Take, for instance, the tasks related to designing and managing our national website and social media channels. These activities involve the movement as a whole and therefore require an effort at a national level. All these tasks are carried out by national working groups called circles and each circle specialises in a specific topic. All the national circles can be found here. It is often best to contact them via Mattermost.
The next step
If you are interested in joining a local group, community group or national circle, look for their contact details via the above links and reach out to them! We really appreciate it when you take the initiative, and we need all the help we can get! It’s great to have you 🙂
Do you want to develop specific skills or learn something new? Then the following information may be of interest to you.
There is no complete overview of all the workshops, trainings and talks that are provided by Extinction Rebellion in the Netherlands, mainly due to the variety of ever-changing needs. Trainings and workshops come and go. Below you will find an overview of the trainings and workshops that are held on a regular basis. When trainings or workshops are planned, they can often be found on the events page.
Heading for Extinction talk
The Heading for Extinction talk is used throughout the global movement and is intended to motivate people to join our movement. It can (and often should) be changed depending on the audience. Scientists are more likely to be motivated by the statistics and facts, whereas parents might be touched more by an emotional approach.
Introduction to XR talk
This introduction consists of the Heading for Extinction talk plus a simple explanation about how the movement works and how rebels can contribute. It is definitely helpful for new rebels to join this online introduction at the beginning of their integration process. There is more information about the introduction on our website.
To properly prepare rebels for actions, there is an action training or Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) training where rebels learn how to prepare, what to expect and much more. It is particularly important for new rebels to join an Action Training before going to an action, especially if they are taking on a high-risk role.
There is also an NVDA 2.0 training also known as an Advanced Action Training, which allows rebels to practice with various physical blocking tactics such as lock-ons and prepares them for actions with a high risk of arrest.
Regenerative culture is one of the principles and values of our movement. The more rebels know how to acknowledge their own feelings, support others, and draw healthy boundaries, the stronger and more resilient our movement will become. This is why well-being trainings are helpful and encouraged for everyone.
Demand 0 Workshop
Aside from the three demands known throughout Extinction Rebellion (Tell The Truth, Act Now and Let Citizens Decide) there is also call for an additional demand: Climate justice. The goal of the Demand 0 workshop is to discuss if and how this demand can be adopted and implemented throughout the movement. It is a very eye-opening workshop, that we recommend for both integrators and new rebels.
Extinction Rebellion implements sociocracy, a method of organisation, communication and decision-making based on consent, decentralisation, and non-hierarchical coordination. It influences every part of our movement, so it is important that everyone understands it.
Sociocracy workshops and Q&A hours are held regularly by the SOS circle and are easily found in their Mattermost channel.
The Action Training already covers the basics of legislation on demonstrations that is relevant for rebels. The Legal Training goes deeper into these subjects, making it an especially useful training for rebels with an interest in high-risk actions and especially for those who may want to help out as a police liaison at actions.
The Welcoming New Rebels workshop, also known as the Integrator Training, is useful for anyone, as each rebel has the ability to help shape a new rebel’s experience. These workshop can be found on the event page. Alternatively, you can read through all the sources on the integration page.
The three-hour DNA Training is still in development and its aim is to teach rebels all they need to know in order to participate internally within Extinction Rebellion. It is also known as the Organizer Training and can be especially useful to rebels who want to be active behind the scenes.
Action Organization Training
Also known as How to organize an action like it’s your birthday party, this training teaches rebels how to organize an action, who to contact and more. This training is still in the early stages of development and is mostly aimed at Affinity Groups and rebels who want to help organize actions.
Non-violent Communication Training
Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent social movement, so it is particularly important to be able to communicate in a respectful, positive, non-violent way. The Non-violent Communication Training teaches you how to handle emotions that come up, ground yourself, connect through empathetic listening and much more. It’s an especially useful training for anyone in the movement, especially integrators and all those actively interested in helping out in regenerative roles.
It’s not essential for new rebels to read the following, but it offers some background information about Extinction Rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a global movement that fights the climate and ecological crisis and its terrible consequences. Rapid climate change and the loss of biodiversity are causing the collapse of ecosystems, and the death and endangerment of life on a global scale. Many who are not at fault or very little at fault for this crisis are already suffering the worst of its consequences today.
Extinction Rebellion exists because our governments refuse to introduce the necessary policies to keep us safe. We, a group of ordinary people, take creative, peaceful, and disruptive action, in the tradition of civil disobedience, to compel our local, regional, and national governments to take the necessary measures.
You can read more about the background of the climate crisis here. A 15-minute video about the climate crisis and the need for civil disobedience can be found here.
Extinction Rebellion’s history
Extinction Rebellion was founded in the UK in May 2018. The Dutch chapter, XR Netherlands, was founded a few months later, in December 2018. Extinction Rebellion is now active in over 80 countries. You can find out more about the global movement here.
Since the Dutch chapter was founded, many actions have been organised. You will find an overview of the actions organised here.
More than 30 local XR groups now make up the backbone of the movement. With support from rebels acting nationwide, they organize actions on various scales to stimulate changes in politics, business, and society as a whole.