EXTINCTION Rebellion’s inception in 2018 shook up the Climate Change activist scene – before quickly estranging many sympathisers.
Their tactics – initially a blend of mass protests, road blocks and general disruption – quickly launched them into the public eye.
In conjunction with Greta Thunberg’s movement and rising awareness of the climate issue – even in previously skeptic mainstream outlets – it appeared they were on the road to becoming Britain’s loudest – and perhaps most effective – activists.
Their aims are simple and clearly laid out, to their credit – reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025, lobby the government to declare a climate emergency and create a citizens’ assembly on climate justice.
But as time has gone on, their stunts have started to alienate the people they need most.
Whether it be holding a protest at the Cenotaph or carrying out a number of odd rituals during protests, many have been put off supporting an important cause.
A paper released in February said the organisation’s “discourse and activities, overall, have tended to alienate BAME and working-class people.”
Other examples of their folly include blocking a pedestrian footbridge and preventing a train from leaving – with hundreds of mostly working-class commuters left flabbergasted.
Make no mistake – having a fearless vanguard organisation with clear goals to combat climate change is extremely important.
But Extinction Rebellion – though it may mean well – has simply turned possible allies away from the process.
Some may ask Redaction Report how they would effectively lobby our lawmakers to make this drastic change.
After all, uproar in the scientific community has fallen on deaf ears. Generic, non-disruptive protests don’t get the eyes they used to.
The key is intersectionality. The battle for the climate is interlinked with the battle for equality.
Extinction Rebellion leaders have previously dismissed the idea that protests for climate action have anything to do with “socialist ideology.”
But it’s quite the opposite. Corbyn’s Labour, for example, delivered a green manifesto combined with social justice in 2017 and 2019.
Extinction Rebellion’s performative protest isn’t the way to save our planet – concrete proposals like the Green New Deal are.
Extinction Rebellion is, for better or worse, the most famous British environmental activist group – and so they have a responsibility.
If the organisation doesn’t grow up and see the bigger picture, climate change will never be solved.
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