May 11, 2022
From Extinction Rebellion (UK)
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In response to the Public Order Bill tabled in the Queen’s Speech yesterday, Extinction Rebellion has announced plans to bring millions of people onto the streets from the 10th of September this year. 

The Bill, which seeks to reintroduce the curbs on protest recently thrown out of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill by the House of Lords, is an attempt to curb protests by Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain calling for the government to take proportionate action on the climate crisis. On the same day that the Public Order Bill was tabled UK Met Office researchers said that there’s now around a fifty-fifty chance that the world will warm by more than 1.5C over the next five years. [1]

The move by Extiction Rebellion comes as a Yougov poll reveals that disruptive protest is increasing the numbers of people in the UK willing to take climate action, with around 1.7 million adults in the UK saying they would consider engaging in climate action over the next 12 months. The poll also found that: “When asked about satisfaction with the efforts of the UK government, only 26.1% of UK adults thought the government was doing a lot to tackle climate change, with 46% disagreeing with this statement.” [2] 

Charlie Waterhouse from Extinction Rebellion, said: “It is foolish to think that announcing new curbs in the Queen’s Speech will stop people taking to the streets to demand their government act to ensure a safe future for people in the UK and around the world. 

“As we in Extinction Rebellion know full well: what we do works. It’s worked countless times before. It has worked to give us weekends and the vote, human rights and freedom. And it will work again. Faced with a government incapable of anything other than a desperate attempt to shore-up its own power and cover-up its criminality it is the only thing we can do. To be a bystander is not enough.

“​​When juries are asked to sit in judgement of their peers, they are acquitting. The Government’s increasing reliance on private injunctions shows that they know they cannot rely on the courts, because the courts agree with us.”

“So Boris Johnson and Priti Patel, we thank you. Our organisations were set up to break the law to drive positive change. Your actions show that we are winning.”

Extinction Rebellion’s announcement comes as increasingly extreme climate impacts are being felt around the world this spring, with over 400 killed in deadly flooding in South Africa and unprecedented 50 degree heatwaves in India and Pakistan leading to critical water and electricity shortages as well as crop failures. [3] [4]

Following the failure of the COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow last autumn, Extinction Rebellion announced plans to mobilise two million people in 2022, equivalent to 3.5% of the UK population. [5] The figure is taken from the work of Harvard political scientist and public policy professor Erica Chenoweth, whose research identified active engagement of 3.5% of a national population as a critical tipping point for major social change. [6] 

Work began in January 2022 on a nationwide doorknocking campaign, Project 3.5, aimed at mobilising a critical mass of the public in the UK. Over 6000 doorstep conversations have since taken place from Teeside to Richmond to rural West Cornwall, and 8000 people took to the streets of central London in April this year, with over 80% of those taking part in Extinction Rebellion actions for the first time. The group is scaling up the outreach campaign with a summer of doorknocking planned to spark millions of conversations between neighbours about the climate crisis and how people power can turn the situation around. 

Notes to editors 

[1] Climate change: ‘Fifty-fifty chance’ of breaching 1.5C warming limit:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-61383391

[2] Just Stop Oil protests might be encouraging more climate action, survey reveals:

https://www.socialchangelab.org/survey

[3] South Africa flooding death toll nears 400 as rescuers search for missing: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/16/south-africa-flooding-death-toll-nears-400-as-rescuers-search-for-missing

[4] ‘We are living in hell’: Pakistan and India suffer extreme spring heatwaves: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/02/pakistan-india-heatwaves-water-electricity-shortages

[5] Extinction Rebellion announces plans for April 2022: ‘The COP process has failed, it’s up to all of us now’: https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2021/11/23/extinction-rebellion-announces-plans-for-april-2022-the-cop-process-has-failed-its-up-to-all-of-us-now/

[6] The ‘3.5% rule’: How a small minority can change the world: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world

ABOUT EXTINCTION REBELLION

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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Source: Extinctionrebellion.uk