Extinction Rebellion is an international grassroots mass movement which uses non-violent direct action to force governments to act on the climate and ecological emergency. We want governments around the world to commit to achieving net zero greenhouse emissions by 2025 and we have three specific demands which are listed below.
For the past three decades, the approach governments have taken to environmental activists demanding action on the climate emergency is to ignore them. That is why all the science tells us we are on the brink of irreversible damage. Extinction Rebellion famously causes disruption to the public so that governments cannot ignore us. We are doing this to protect everyone because our governments have failed to do this themselves.
A key principle of Extinction Rebellion is that of autonomy. Local groups operate in towns, cities and areas across the UK. Extinction Rebellion East of England - or XR EoE - supports local groups working across the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
We make three demands of the UK government:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Our Principles & Values
We have 10 Principles & Values which all rebels agree to. Any action taken in accordance with these Principles & Values is considered to be an Extinction Rebellion action.
That doesn’t mean every rebel has to agree to every action carried out in the name of Extinction Rebellion - but we do respect that actions carried out in line with these Principles & Values are Extinction Rebellion actions. Actions that break any Principle & Value are disowned by the movement.
These are the 10 Principles & Values:
1. We have a shared vision of change. Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.
2. We set our mission on what is necessary. Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – using ideas such as “Momentum-driven organising” to achieve this.
3. We need a regenerative culture. Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.
4. We openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system. Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.
5. We value reflecting and learning. Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.
6. We welcome everyone and every part of everyone. Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.
7. We actively mitigate for power. Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.
8. We avoid blaming and shaming. We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.
9. We are a non-violent network. Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.
10. We are based on autonomy and decentralisation. We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.
Why we cause disruption
For over three decades, activists have been calling for action on climate and environmental breakdown through conventional means. We have marched in demonstrations, written letters to our MPs, signed petitions, even carried out direct action against the organisations actively contributing to the crisis and targeting infrastructure such as power stations and oil rigs. Many people have sought to make a difference through individual changes, reducing their environmental impact through their transport choices, by insulating their homes and recycling.
Despite this, we are on a cliff-edge. David Attenborough says “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” Greta Thunberg says “the science doesn’t mainly speak of great opportunities to create the society we always wanted. It tells of unspoken human sufferings, which will get worse and worse the longer we delay action – unless we start to act now”.
While the environmental movement has done incredible, vital work over the past decades, Extinction Rebellion (XR) recognises that this is not enough to stop environmental catastrophe. Only government action to change the system we live in can save us – and new tactics are needed to force the government to sit up and listen. Polluters barely notice a power-station shut down, big infrastructure projects continue in spite of protesters physically impeding construction work, and the work of activists barely registers on the public consciousness.
Think back to the April’s International Rebellion, which in the UK consisted of five major roadblocks in London, which lasted just under two weeks. This dominated headlines across the UK and transformed public opinion in regards to the climate and environmental emergency. While highly targeted actions have proved ineffective in getting the issue of climate breakdown high up the agenda, 71% of the British public now think climate change is a more pressing issue than Brexit, according to a ComRes poll. Google searches for “climate change” spiked enormously on April 15 when the XR protests began and search performance for this term remains strong (see below). At the same time, the government is at least pretending to take the issue seriously and the Labour Party placed the climate and environmental emergency at the centre of its manifesto in the 2019 General Election, including a net zero target of 2030. Whatever your politics, this would have been unthinkable a year earlier.