“Rebels for life”, the guys from Extinction Rebellion are here to make you understand that polluting the planet is no joke. The global climate movement, which originated in May 2018 has seen increased spotlight as their protest become more frequent. Their occupation of five key London locations, in April 2019, has been a focal point of debate regarding the support for the movement. Another event of theirs that you might be more familiar with is their blockade of the main road outside Rijksmuseum. The event resulted in approximately 100 arrests and caused a lot of stir on social media. However, if those events do not ring a bell, they also protested at the UvA. At Roeterseiland Campus, they occupied A-hall condemning the University for not taking enough action and responsibility for climate change.
The principal objective of the movement is to get national governments to declare climate emergency. They have three main demands. First, they want public representatives to stop lying about the state of the climate and acknowledge the severity of the problem. They also want the reduction of carbon emissions to net 0 by 2025. Lastly, they propose that there should be an intergovernmental organization to mitigate climate disputes and protect the rights of citizens and the environment. Their website presents a comprehensive account of all the latest environmental developments and their impact on our planet. Like many, I was first confused by the exact operationalization they have of what constitutes as climate emergency. They operationalize the concept based on recent scientifical accounts of declining insect population all across Europe due to intensive agricultural practices.
What you can do
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is maybe joining their talk on Tuesday, to get a better overview of their organization. They are sure to answer some of your burning questions about the practicalities of their proposals and how they plan on getting the attention of world governments. They also provide a “ Rebel Starter Pack” which might offer you an introduction into what their organizational framework. The leaflet presents again the previously mentioned aims and encourages you to take part in their activities. However, the booklet is a bit vague regarding concrete environmental action. Maybe a spot available for you to ask how to get better at recycling or how to make your diet more environmentally friendly.
One thing that has especially left me wondering is how they plan on getting the attention and support of unaware people. It is very hard to get people to change their lifestyle to accommodate environmentally sustainable practices. The talk is a good opportunity to discuss with the representatives their views on spreading their message to all societal groups and how they plan on doing so.
Be sure to join next Tuesday in E-hall to find out more about them and their perspectives.