Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) stated aim is to employ “non-civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse.”
Over the years, targeted disruption tactics have included protesters supergluing themselves to the speaker’s chair in the British House of Commons, spraying fake blood at the British treasury, and dumping horse manure outside the UN Climate Change Conference – to name a few.
Myriad arrests of protesters as well as plentiful headline-fodder ensued.
On the back of this approach, XR quickly skyrocketed to global fame, becoming an international movement with affiliated protests taking place around the world; all with the aim of raising awareness around the climate emergency.
Support for the movement has been overwhelming, but XR has faced ample criticism of its methods. Many perceive the disruption tactics to be alienating and feel that the burden of inconvenience unnecessarily falls on civilians – who, realistically speaking, can effect no change in environment policy.
Polls show that in the UK, more people dislike the group than people who like it.
For this reason, XR’s message may well have been muted from time to time by the drone of backlash and irritation towards the movement.
But that may be about to change. On the first day of 2023, Extinction Rebellion released a statement on their website titled “WE QUIT.”
The deceptive header implies the movement has run its course, when in fact the post lays out XR’s 2023 plan of action, centred around a revision of activism tactics.
The statement calls for the union of society as a whole in the pursuit of environmental aims as XR endeavours to “prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks.”
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The change of pace comes after climate protests intended to be non-violent were linked to a cyclist’s death in Berlin. The woman was run over and pinned under a cement mixer during a traffic jam caused by protesters of environmentalist group “Last Generation.”
This harrowing event reinforced the unpopularity of the organisation among the German public and government. Renate Künast, a staunch Green Party politician, expressed her annoyance towards Last Generation.
Künast has fought for environmental causes for decades and has deemed the group’s actions unproductive in the face of the democratic process, reports the New York Times.
Our #NewYearsResolution is to halt our tactics of public disruption. Instead, we call on everyone to help us disrupt our corrupt government.#ChooseYourFuture & join us: 21 April, Parliament. pic.twitter.com/FZlCeaHj4F
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) January 1, 2023
In their New Year’s tweet, XR acknowledged the burden of disruption that has been falling on the public, and declared it was time to shift the effects of disruption onto the government.
Despite controversy, XR has spent four years gaining publicity and momentum. As a result, its platform, reach and capacity for effecting change are tremendous – it’s just a question of harnessing that capacity in the most effective way.
Hopefully, XR’s New Year’s resolutions mark the beginning of an era of increased productive engagement and cooperation in the fight against climate decline.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: 2019 Extinction Rebellion protest. Featured Photo Credit: AnkaKarewicz/Flickr