Submitted by Deborah Willis
What is Extinction Rebellion?
Extinction Rebellion a group of concerned and hopeful citizens of the earth who aim to use civil disobedience and non-violent action to protest climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the real and imminent risk of social and ecological collapse. Extinction Rebellions (XR) is an international movement that began in the U.K. with a declaration of rebellion in May 2018 and is now a global phenomenon that includes Sunnyhill Housing Co-op! Belle Auld, Kris Demeanor and Deborah Willis are members of XR and this article is meant to inform others in Sunnyhill about this organization.
What are XR's goals?
XR has 3 clear demands:
1) The federal government of Canada must tell the truth about the climate emergency.
Government must share with citizens a realistic appraisal of the situation based on the latest scientific consensus of the triple threats facing us: climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental destruction. Government must clearly state the implications of a failure to address these threats.
2) The federal government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
The Government must enact legally-binding policies that include what individuals, communities and businesses need to do to halt biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada to net zero by 2025, and remove the excess of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
3) The federal government must create a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
A citizens’ body is needed to hold elected politicians to account for climate action on a day-to-day basis, separately from and in addition to the normal electoral process.
How does XR aim to achieve these goals?
Inspired by grassroots movements such as the suffragettes, Ghandi's Satyagraha, and the civil rights movement in the U.S., XR wants to rally support worldwide around a common sense of urgency to tackle climate breakdown. To do this, a number of activists in the movement accept the possibility of arrest and imprisonment, while others do the work of supporting these activists and ensuring that the movement is sustainable in all ways—environmental, emotional and practical. XR promotes disruption and civil disobedience because we believe it is necessary. However, despite the fact that XR aims to disrupt, we believe that non-violence is always the most effective and moral choice. XR organizes in small groups, and these groups are connected in a complex web that is constantly evolving as we grow and learn. We are working to build a movement that is participatory, decentralized, inclusive and that adheres to our core values:
We have a shared vision of change: to create a world that is fit for generations to come.
We set our mission on what is necessary: we aim to mobilize 3.5% the population, the number necessary to achieve system change.
We need a regenerative culture, one that is healthy, resilient and adaptable.
We openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system, leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.
We value reflecting and learning, following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. We learn from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.
We welcome everyone and every part of everyone. We work actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.
We actively mitigate for power, breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.
We avoid blaming and shaming—and this is especially important in Calgary. We believe that we live in a toxic system, and no one individual or entity is to blame. We welcome everyone to this movement.
We are a non-violent network and know that non-violent strategies and tactics are the most effective way to bring about change.
We are based on autonomy and decentralisation, collectively creating the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.
How can you become involved?
XR Calgary is gearing up for its first action on September 20th, 2019, an event that we hope will be community-oriented and joyful rather than disruptive—a way to introduce XR to the city and other hopeful and concerned citizens. We plan to have music, dancing and art, and anyone in the Sunnyhill community is welcome join us. For more information about this event, which is still in the planning stages, please contact Deborah, Belle or Kris. And to be involved in the planning of this action and others in the future, you are very welcome to attend the ongoing meetings on Thursdays, 5:30-7:30pm (location TBA, though often these meetings take place at the Central Library. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text Deborah at 403-875-5818 for the location).
Welcome to a hopeful, cooperative, and sustainable future. Welcome to the rebellion!