Will disruption push governments to take action against climate change?
“Disruption is our last resort” said a 50-year old mother as she chained herself during the Extinction Rebellion Bamboo Tripod Action at Oxford Circus in London. She realized that although she has been lobbying locally, signed the petition and donated to Greenpeace no concrete action has been taken by the UK government since she first started flighting global warming and its brutal consequences on the environment more than 20 years ago.
That’s probably how Extinction Rebellion was born (first in the UK then globally) as an international movement that uses nonviolent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse. They are now active in over 60 countries with over 350 local groups working relentlessly to build the XR movement.
Extinction Rebellion started massive protests around the world on October 7, 2019, where they were the largest acts of civil disobedience in some cities in recent years and it’s only the beginning.
It has been successful at drawing attention to the climate emergency with analysis of the “uprising” indicating that the movement was mentioned more than 70,000 times in online media reports.
Why don’t governments listen to scientists who have been saying we are on the brink of massive extinction because we’ve “abused” mother earth, increasing the use of fossil fuel relentlessly to serve an economy where children are choking on pollution and animals dying because they are ingesting plastic both on land and at sea.
Governments have been avoiding listening to scientists as far as 1992 when the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” letter was issued, calling on humankind to curtail environmental destruction. In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth.
Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.
To prevent widespread climate change and catastrophic biodiversity loss, nations across the globe must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists more than 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning.
We know why…it’s because of greed and short-term vision and that’s why we need to look at the bigger picture. We need to change our extreme consumerism to make sure we leave a viable planet to generations to come.
Sustainability was just a “word” a couple of years back but with the recent campaigns and protests, sustainability seems to be getting around. Communities are looking at solutions to reduce their consumption of anything from food to fashion clothes, reducing their use of single-use plastic, rethinking recycling and giving a new life to what the previous generations considered as “let’s just buy a new one!” items.
Governments will have to start paying attention to the citizens of the world and create platforms to discuss what actions need to be taken in the very near future. They can no longer ignore the voice of the street as it’s called. Let’s remember that strikes make it possible for trade unions to be created and wars to be ended which means the power of the people should never be ignored.
As a conclusion, it was time for all people concerned to apply the only possible strategy: non-violent, disruptive protest and disobedience.
It’s time for all of us including governments to roll our sleeves and take action!