Extinction Rebellion

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Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion, green placard (cropped).jpg
Named afterAnthropocene extinction
MottoFight for life
Rebel for life
Formation31 October 2018; 39 days ago (2018-10-31)
TypeCivil society campaign
PurposeClimate change mitigation
Nature conservation
Environmental protection
United Kingdom
MethodsNonviolent direct action
FieldsConservation movement
Environmental movement
AffiliationsRising Up![1]

Extinction Rebellion (sometimes shortened as XR) is an international social movement that aims to drive radical change, through nonviolent resistance in order to minimise species extinction and avert climate breakdown.[1]

Established in 2018 with about one hundred academics signing a call to action[2] and launched at the end of October by Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook, Simon Bramwell and other activists from the campaign group Rising Up!.[3] In November 2018, various acts of civil disobedience took place in London.[4] The movement is unusual in that a large number of activists have pledged to be arrested and are prepared to go to prison,[5] similar to the mass arrest tactics of the Committee of 100 in 1961.

Citing inspiration from grassroots movements such as Occupy, Gandhi’s independence movement, the Suffragettes, Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, Extinction Rebellion intends to rally support worldwide around a common sense of urgency to tackle climate breakdown.[6][4]



Extinction Rebellion's website states its aims as:[7][1][8]

  • "The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
  • The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
  • A national Citizens' Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose."

Principles and values[edit]

As presented on the Extinction Rebellion website:

  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 this 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 decentralization – 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 RisingUp!"[9]


On 26 October 2018, about one hundred academics signed a call to action about the ecological crisis:[2]

The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible, and it is unconscionable to us that our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of an unprecedented disaster of our own making. [...] Our government is complicit in ignoring the precautionary principle, and in failing to acknowledge that infinite economic growth on a planet with finite resources is non-viable. [...] When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and to secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship. The “social contract” has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself. We therefore declare our support for Extinction Rebellion, launching on 31 October 2018. We fully stand behind the demands for the government to tell the hard truth to its citizens. We call for a Citizens’ Assembly to work with scientists on the basis of the extant evidence and in accordance with the precautionary principle, to urgently develop a credible plan for rapid total decarbonisation of the economy.

The ten first signatories are:[2]

Other signatories include:[2]

Other supporters:


Extinction Rebellion protest on Blackfriars Bridge (17 November 2018).
'Swarming roadblocks' (23 November 2018).

On 17 October 2018, activists from Extinction Rebellion held a sit-in at the UK headquarters of Greenpeace, the direct action environmental organisation, "to encourage their members to participate in mass civil disobedience as the only remaining alternative to avert the worst of the catastrophe" and join in future activities of Extinction Rebellion.[1][15]

An assembly took place at Parliament Square on 31 October 2018, and drew more than a thousand people to hear the "Declaration of Rebellion"[16] against the UK government and speeches by Donnachadh McCarthy, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl "on strike" from school over her own government's climate inaction,[17] Julia Bradbury, and Green MEP Molly Scott Cato in the square.[16] After a motion was proposed and agreed, the assembly then moved to occupy the road, where Caroline Lucas, George Monbiot, and other speakers and singers, including Seize the Day, continued from the reclaimed street directly in front of the Houses of Parliament.[16][a] Following this, 15 campaigners were arrested for deliberately continuing the sit-in in the roadway.[16]

In the first two weeks of the movement in November 2018, more than 60 people were arrested for taking part in acts of civil disobedience organised by Extinction Rebellion.[4] People blockaded and spray-painted slogans on the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 12 November.[18] Activists unveiled a "Climate Change... We're Fucked" banner over Westminster Bridge[19] and glued themselves to the gates of Downing Street on 14 November.[20][21]

On 17 November 2018, in what was called "Rebellion Day", thousands of people took part in a coordinated action to block the five main bridges over the River Thames in London (Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, and Lambeth) for several hours, causing major traffic disruption.[4][22][23][24][25] The Guardian described it as "one of the biggest acts of peaceful civil disobedience in the UK in decades".[4][14] YBA artist Gavin Turk was one of the activists arrested for obstructing the public highway.[26][27] Internationally there was an action by the XR group in Stockholm,[28] as well as rallies in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Belfast. Copenhagen, Berlin, Madrid and New York.[29]

From 21 November 2018, beginning a campaign known as 'swarming' roadblocks (repeated roadblocks of approximately 7 minutes each), small groups of Extinction Rebellion activists carried out protests by occupying road junctions at Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridges, Elephant and Castle, Tower Bridge and Earl's Court, causing serious disruption to rush-hour traffic and continuing throughout the day.[14][30][31][32][33][34] Similar actions continued for the next two days in London,[35] with one group moving to Oxford Street on Black Friday afternoon.[36]

On 23 November, in a first action outside London, an Extinction Rebellion group in York stopped traffic on Coppergate, Clifford Street, Pavement and Ouse Bridge, as well as holding a demo outside West Offices of the City of York Council.[37][38] An Oxford XR group also blocked traffic on Botley Road the same day.[39]

A week after the first, "Rebellion Day 2" saw Extinction Rebellion block the roads around Parliament Square, before a mock funeral march to Downing Street and then onto Buckingham Palace.[40] Gail Bradbrook read out a letter to the Queen and one activist superglued herself to the gates of the Palace, before the procession returned to Parliament Square.[41] On 24 November there were actions outside London by XR groups in Manchester,[42] Sheffield,[43] Machynlleth[44] and Edinburgh.[45]

Extinction Rebellion events are planned in 27 other countries including Ireland, Australia, Canada, France, Sweden, Germany, Colombia and the United States.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Matthew Taylor (26 October 2018). "'We have a duty to act': hundreds ready to go to jail over climate crisis". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Alison Green; et al. (26 October 2018). "Facts about our ecological crisis are incontrovertible. We must take action". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Extinction Rebellion campaigners arrested in London". Green World. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Matthew Taylor and Damien Gayle (17 November 2018). "Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  5. ^ Rinvolucri, Bruno; Lamborn, Katie; Guardian, Source: The (22 November 2018). "'We can't get arrested quick enough': life inside Extinction Rebellion – video". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  6. ^ Farand, Chloe (23 November 2018). "Extinction Rebellion eyes global campaign". The Ecologist. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Extinction Rebellion". rebellion.earth. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  8. ^ Roger Harrabin (12 November 2018). "Climate change protests leads to '22 arrests' over blockade". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Who We Are | Extinction Rebellion". rebellion.earth. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  10. ^ Will Humphries and Ben Webster (17 November 2018). "White collar eco-warriors to spread chaos". The Times. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  11. ^ Damien Gayle (14 November 2018). "Social media influencer urges young people to protest over environment". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  12. ^ Louise Griffin (18 November 2018). "Caspar Lee is all here for 'civil disobedience' as he attends climate change protest". Metro. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  13. ^ George Monbiot (14 November 2018). "The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Gayle, Damien (21 November 2018). "Avoid London for days, police warn motorists amid 'swarming' protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  15. ^ Molitch-Hou, Michael (19 October 2018). "Climate Activists Occupy Greenpeace UK Headquarters—Wait, That Can't Be Right". Common Dreams. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d Taylor, Matthew (31 October 2018). "15 environmental protesters arrested at civil disobedience campaign in London". the Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  17. ^ Germanos, Andrea (31 October 2018). "'This Is Our Darkest Hour': With Declaration of Rebellion, New Group Vows Mass Civil Disobedience to Save Planet". Common Dreams. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  18. ^ Harrabin, Roger (12 November 2018). "Climate change protest sees '22 arrests'". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  19. ^ "The 'new' climate politics of Extinction Rebellion?". openDemocracy. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  20. ^ "Protesters glued to Downing Street gates". BBC News. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  21. ^ "Fifty arrests as climate change activists descend on London again". Evening Standard. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  22. ^ Roger Harrabin (17 November 2018). "Extinction Rebellion protests block London bridges". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Climate change protesters block London bridges on day of civil action". The Independent. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Hundreds block central London bridges in protest over climate change". Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  25. ^ "'Rebellion Day' activists plan to block five London bridges". Sky News. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  26. ^ Laville, Sandra (18 November 2018). "Artist Gavin Turk arrested in London climate change protest". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  27. ^ Turk, Gavin (20 November 2018). "I was arrested at a climate change protest – it was worth it | Gavin Turk". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Klimataktionsgrupp blockerade gator i Stockholm - DN.SE". DN.SE (in Swedish). 17 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  29. ^ O'Brien, Tim (17 November 2018). "Fine Gael criticised for 'self-congratulation' on climate change - Extinction Rebellion Dublin rally hears calls to 'stand up and fight' for the environment". Irish Times. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  30. ^ Ebury-Jones, Tom; Sommerlad, Joe (21 November 2018). "Climate change protesters are 'swarming' major London roads to stop rush hour traffic". The Independent. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  31. ^ Rose, Eleanor (21 November 2018). "'Swarming' protests by Extinction Rebellion stop London traffic". Evening Standard. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Nick Ferrari Grills Climate Change Protester Blocking Roads In London". LBC. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  33. ^ "Environmental activists form human road blocks in effort to bring London to a standstill". Talkradio. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Climate protesters block London bridges". BBC News. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  35. ^ Rose, Eleanor (23 November 2018). "Extinction Rebellion 'swarming' protests block traffic for third day running as angry commuters slam them as 'pests'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  36. ^ Searles, Michael (23 November 2018). "Commuter chaos: Extinction Rebellion causes central London gridlock". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Extinction Rebellion protest blocks bridge in York". Minster FM. 23 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Extinction Rebellion protesters block bridge in York city centre". York Press. 23 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Protesters block traffic on Botley Road". Oxford Mail. 23 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  40. ^ Murphy, Simon (24 November 2018). "Environmental protesters block access to Parliament Square". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  41. ^ Clifton, Katy (24 November 2018). "Police make 14 arrests after thousands of activists descend on London". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  42. ^ "EXTINCTION REBELLION HITS MANCHESTER WITH CLIMATE CHANGE ROAD BLOCKS, DIE-IN, MARCH AND ARRESTS". www.salfordstar.com. Salford Star. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Extinction Rebellion put climate in a coffin for 'funeral' and parade it around Sheffield | Forge". forgetoday.com. Forge Press. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  44. ^ Gedge, Antony (24 November 2018). "Action demanded to prevent climate change". Cambrian News. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  45. ^ Spowart, Nan (25 November 2018). "Climate change rebel group rally in Edinburgh for Scottish launch". The National. Retrieved 26 November 2018.


  1. ^ XR Declaration from 1.39.15 see External links

External links[edit]