Extinction Rebellion: here to stay
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is barely a year old, but it is clear that the group are here to stay. In the UK they burst into the national consciousness in April, occupying strategic sites in London for over a week, and helping to drive media coverage of climate change to an all-time high. As they embark on a second phase of major protest, with actions in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Glasgow, the latest sign that the group are going to play a big role driving climate action is the announcement that a group of US philanthropists are to launch a Climate Emergency Fund, to support XR, and the school strike groups. XR have already been successful in crowd-funding money to support its action, but the mobilisation of charitable money in support could allow action at a whole new scale.
This growing direct action, and overwhelmingly positive public response is one of the things that gives me greatest hope in my work on climate change. They are motivated, highly visible and have been hugely effective in cutting through to public and politicians alike on the urgency of the issue. If climate change is sometimes depicted as a 'boiling frog' problem, XR and the school strikers are the people standing at the side shouting: 'er, guys, it's getting pretty hot in here!'. How we as professionals working on climate change engage with and support groups like Extinction Rebellion is really important as we try to move to a world with rapidly falling emissions and strong capacity to adapt to the changes we're already seeing.