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Extinction Rebellion: the leaders against climate change

Written by Science

Extinction Rebellion has caused mass disruption in London and cities across the globe to rebel against the world’s governments lack of action in tackling the climate and ecological crisis.

Extinction Rebellion, abbreviated as XR, is an international campaign group and activist movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to highlight issues relating to climate change. Through the use of disruption, the movement aims to force governments to declare a ‘climate and ecological emergency’ and take action in order to avoid tipping points identified within the climate system. The movement was established in the UK in May 2018 but has since spread worldwide, with recent disruption occurring in Sydney, Berlin and New York. The movement uses a logo of a circled hourglass, known as the extinction symbol, which serves to represent how time is running out for many species and how immediate action needs to take place if we are to avoid mass extinction.

“Extinction Rebellion have stated that many of its protesters are prepared to risk their liberty to stand up for the planet”

Commencing on 7th October, Extinction Rebellion have held demonstrations across London in an attempt to force the government to do more to tackle climate change. Activists have congregated in locations across the capital, with large groups amassing at Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and the BBC’s headquarters. The climate protests have caused significant disruption across the city, with the first week of demonstrations seeing more than 1,300 people arrested. Extinction Rebellion have stated that many of its protesters are ‘prepared to risk their liberty to stand up for the planet’, adding that many young people are getting involved due to ‘eco-anxiety’, a feeling of being overwhelmed due to the existential challenge of climate change.

During this two-week long ‘International Rebellion’, acts of protest have varied in both style and impact. At London City Airport, disruption resulted from Paralympic cyclist, James Brown, climbing onto a British Airways plane, whilst another man delayed a flight by almost two hours after refusing to sit in his seat. Government buildings have also been a target, with protesters gluing themselves to the Department for Transport building and the underside of a lorry outside the Home Office.

Similar demonstrations have occurred across the globe, with protesters in New York pouring fake blood over Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue. This demonstration mirrors an act carried out by London activists in early October, where a fire engine was used to spray fake blood over the Treasury building.

Last modified: 28th October 2019

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