18th December 2018
“We are running out of time. 2019 should be the year to declare climate emergency”, said Liz Mckelvey, 55, from Extinction Rebellion. 2019 is a crucial year for the environmental crisis. During 2018, Earth has suffered some of the most devastating natural phenomena it has ever been. Exctinction Rebellion Demands to declare Climate Emergency
Earthquakes in Indonesia, insects dying, fire in the U.S. or the heatwave here in the UK, last summer. Some scientists reports warning that global warming is rising up faster than it was thought. The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2018 gathered in Katowice, Poland, only agree to set rules to put in practice the 2015 Paris agreement.
Mckelvey is an activist in the protest group Extinction Rebellion Manchester. This group was born in spring in London in 2018. From there, the group spread all around the UK, Europe, North America and Australia.
This group was born under the umbrella of Rising Up, an organisation aiming to be a social movement to calling for a change of the political and economic system. They published a letter signed by hundred academics, between them was the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
This letter claims “We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with about 200 species becoming extinct each day.”
On the Extinction Rebellion website, there are three clear demands.
“The Government must tell the truth about the climate 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 (The Deadline according to the Paris Agreement is 2050) and to reduce consumptions levels.”
“A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose. With it devise an emergency plan similar that seen in a period of war.”
Extinction Rebellion has a horizontal structure. The original group is in London and the coordinator of each local group is in contact to organise common actions. These actions need to be non-violent civil disobedience such as block some bridges in London or when the protester glue themselves to public buildings in November 2018.
Police arrested eight environmental protesters after block Oxford Road on 24 November 2018. The trial will take place on 30 April, 1 May and 2 May. The district judge, Sam Goozée, said the defendants were unlikely to face prison.
The disruptions worth it
Against the criticise on this kind of protest are more annoying for regular people than useful, Mckelvey says the citizens listen to what they have to say. “It is like fish jumping out of the sea (…) some people walk right across the square to come to talk to speak to us because they are really interested and they really want to meet us.”
“We have to try anything that will get people attention. People are blind to it and deaf to it so we have to use a quite shocking thing to wake people up.”
Although GMCA seems compromised with the fight against the climate change Mckelvey thinks the Government and local authorities are not doing enough, and Extinction Rebellion demands to decalre Climate Emergency.
“Although people make the right noises, in two years time they will make a plan. But what about these two years. We know now what we need to do!”.
Saama, 19, and Joel, 28, two activists in Extinction Rebellion Manchester think they are doing the right thing too. “We are, the young people, who should protest. We and our sons are going to live here 50 years ahead. So, it is our responsibility”.
Next spring, in the week beginning on April 15 Extinction Rebellion plan to run a week of international civil disobedience, in the anniversary of their foundation. Nevertheless, Joel and Saama say that London has say nothing yet, and they will not until a few weeks before. However, they assure they are ready for being arrested if is necessary.
If you want to get involved with Extinction Rebellion click here.