Newsletter 2019-12-10 – Bringing colour to Black Friday, bringing action to Oxford Farming Conference

A Rebel standing in Oxford city centre with a blue XR "Vote Earth" flag.
Standing for what’s right

We’ve come so far…

…in just over a year! We’re planning a retrospective newsletter for the next edition to come out before Christmas. We’d love your contributions as short highlights and memories, and/or images. We can’t promise to include everything, but send your thoughts to, and upload any photos here​.

We’re also on the lookout for another rebel to join the friendly newsletter team, perhaps as a roaming reporter for events such as the farming conference. Help us expand what we can do and write about in 2020 – drop us an email if you’re interested! 

Also looking forward to next year, XR Oxford Training Group are planning training that meets the needs and priorities of Oxford rebels over the next few months. We’d love to hear your views. The survey will only take you a couple of minutes to complete and will be open until 17th December.


  1. Upcoming Events
  2. Oxford Farming Conference – Local Action
  3. XR Theatre is coming to Oxford
  4. A message from the tower – banner drops
  5. Black Friday was full of colour…
  6. #Vote Earth at the Oxford Climate Hustings
  7. ​Citizens’ Assembly Report published

Monday 9th December, 5.30-7pm – XReads: ‘The Flawed Social Science behind XR’s Change Strategy’ by Nafeez Ahmed, East Oxford Community Centre

Tuesday 10th December, 7.30-9pm – Actions Group Meeting, East Oxford Community Centre

Thursday 12th December, 1.30-3 pm – XR Theatrics performance, Oxford

Monday 16th December, 7-9pm – Introduction to Extinction Rebellion, east Oxford

Tuesday 17th December, 6.30-8pm – New North Aston & Area Affinity Group – First Meeting

Wednesday 18th December, 7-10.30pm – XR Oxford Winter Feast & Jam, Florence Park Community Centre

Saturday 21st December, 2-4.30pm – Dances of Universal Peace, St Albans Church (every third Saturday of the month)

7th – 9th January – Local actions during the Oxford Farming Conference, Oxford

Saturday 11th January – XR DNA Training (Save the Date)

Please note that the Eco-Listening Space, usually held every Wednesday, is paused for December. Please contact if you would like to help with holding the space in 2020.

Oxford Farming Conference 7-9 January

Local actions for a sustainable food system

Tuesday 7- Thursday 9 January 2020 | Planning meeting 10 December

The Oxford Farming Conference in January is a high-profile annual gathering of key players in the agriculture and food sector: everyone from small-scale farmers to big agrochemical producers. Speakers come from a range of fields (excuse the pun!), including the National Farming Union, Powered Pasture, the Soil Association, DEFRA, Natural England and many more, with sponsors like Sainsbury’s, McDonalds, pesticide company Syngenta, and Barclays hosting a networking session. 

Agriculture at present, and farmers, are marginalised from the solutions to climate and ecological collapse. The thing that matters most for humankind is low on the global agenda. The simultaneous Oxford Real Farming Conference will provide one antidote by looking ahead to ask what the world really needs, and showing what can be done.

We are planning non-law-breaking publicity and outreach actions for each of the three days of the conference, to draw attention to the farming establishment’s potential role in a more sustainable future, plus a big callout for more land to be used for natural carbon capture. Contributions to the planning are welcome (come along to the planning meeting, or email Till) and affinity groups and individual rebels are encouraged to join in. 

Read the draft action plan

Rebels crisis carol singing in a London Underground station

XR Theatre is coming to Oxford

Thursday 12 December, 1.30-3pm – VOTING DAY | Full event details

Meet at the Carfax end of Cornmarket*

Forum Improvisation Theatre and Crisis Carol Singing are coming to Oxford! And they want you to join them! XR Theatrics brings the climate crisis centre stage by connecting the present day to the near-future realities predicted if urgent action is not taken. Will long queues for rations or water become the ‘new normal’? Will Fresh Air ‘Bars’ like the one just opened in Delhi become commonplace?

*Notes for XR Oxford participants

– Performances start off as “Invisible Theatre” so don’t be surprised if you can’t see anything when you arrive, and please keep XR logos discreet.

– Bring gas masks, if you happen to have one!

The XRO "Vote Earth" banner on the Oxford Castle mound, and Carfax Tower.

A message from the Tower

The amazing #VoteEarth banner got its third outing in less than two weeks on Saturday, appearing from Carfax Tower in central Oxford, and on Castle mound. A great way to keep the environment in voters’ minds as the election nears…well done to all rebels who took part.

Scenes from Oxford Westgate centre on Black Friday: The XRO "Vote Earth" banner drop, Rebels crisis carol singing, the Red Rebels Brigade.

Black Friday was full of colour…

Three consecutive events kept the XR message alive in the Westgate Centre amid the panic buying of Black Friday. The courageous and committed young people of Oxford showed us how creative and sustainable fashion can be; XR Oxford flash mob was in fine voice chanting and singing, flag-waving, leafleting and talking to shoppers; and then there were the stunning Red Rebels stopping members of the public in their tracks, leading to many long and interesting conversations with the public.

XR Youth Oxford raised awareness of the emissions and destructive environmental impacts of the fashion industry by making garments out of old clothes and putting on an alternative catwalk. Watch their inspiring video. About 60 singers from XR Oxford Glorious Rabble created a positive atmosphere enabling conversations with a wide variety of people. About 30 singers joined those who had rehearsed to sing familiar XR songs: The people have spoken; People gonna rise like water; Coal is not cool and coal don’t dig it, oil don’t drill it; Cut our carbon down to zero and finishing off with Power to the people. It sounded brilliant! The evening ended with a solemn procession by the Red Rebels.

Red Rebel Brigade, amongst shoppers at the Westgate Centre.
“I thought the Westgate action was really good. People listened and it felt like it was very effective. The Red Rebels got a lot of attention and helped us.”
Arthur, 10 – pictured above, left

“It was great to interact with so many teens in the Westgate. The majority responding by filming and giggling, but they were definitely engaged. I suspect the giggling was more awkward in that they weren’t too sure how to respond to us. Some thought we looked scary or freaky but we certainly had their attention. In my working day I hear from young adults who don’t think they have a future, they are aware of the plight of animals and feel powerless. If one person was empowered into action to defend our climate by our night out then it’s a start.”

Jenny – Red Rebel at the Westgate Black Friday Action
Dozens of constituents listening to the panel at the climate crisis hustings.

#VoteEarth at the Climate Crisis Hustings

With the amazing ‘Vote Earth’ banner as a backdrop, last Thursday’s Oxford Climate Crisis Hustings succeeded in holding local candidates to account on climate. Over 80 people attended, with Lib Dem and Green candidates for Oxford East, and reps from Labour and the Conservatives. To paraphrase a few of the great questions: 

  • Why not cut government support for fossil fuels and put the money into renewables instead?
  • What are you going to do to stop people flying frequently? 
  • What do you think of the school strikes? 
  • Do candidates support a doubling of tree coverage in Oxfordshire by 2045? 
  • What do the candidates personally do to reduce their environmental impact? 

Broadly speaking, all the parties were very keen to promote their environmental credentials (no surprise there!). But some gave more credible answers than others. All in all, it was great to see such positive engagement, from public and politicians alike. Of course, what action it translates into remains to be seen…

This event was spearheaded by Extinction Rebellion Oxford, and co-hosted with Friends of the Earth Oxford, Parents for Future Oxford, Oxford Climate Policy Forum and Oxford Climate Society. Many thanks to all the local volunteers who made it happen.

Watch the full video of the event

Nick Chater presenting at the Oxford’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change.

Citizens’ Assembly report published

Ipsos MORI, the independent facilitator of Oxford’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change, have released their report on the Oxford Citizens’ Assembly, which can be read in full here


  • The majority of Assembly members felt that Oxford should aim to achieve ‘net zero’ before 2050 and should be a leader in tackling the climate crisis
  • Assembly Members were encouraged by what is already being done across Oxford to address climate change and meet the goal of becoming ‘net zero’
  • Enhanced biodiversity was central to the overall ‘net zero’ vision of Oxford with more cycling, walking, and public transport, and far fewer cars
  • The buildings sector should adopt improved building standards, widespread retrofitting, and more domestic and non-domestic energy needs being met by sustainable sources
  • Around one in four Assembly Members rejected the most ambitious visions of a future Oxford and they were also perturbed by the extent to which the burden of change was being placed on individuals
  • There was a sense that the Council needs to communicate a shared vision and strategy to reaching ‘net zero’ that shows the roles played by local and national government, businesses, and individuals
  • Assembly Members wanted more information about how to recycle correctly          
  • There was a demand for more education and information for the wider public in Oxford to help them understand what they can personally do to help

What happens next?

On 19th December, a report containing Oxford City Council’s initial response to the Assembly’s recommendations will be presented to the Cabinet, including the City Council’s proposals, which will feed into the 2020/21 budget.

In the New Year, the findings will feed in to the City Council’s upcoming Sustainability Strategy, including an Action Plan to determine how the City Council can play its part in tackling the climate emergency over the coming months and years.

As recommended by the Assembly, City Council will also look at its role in convening and engaging stakeholders and the wider public to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One clear request from the Assembly was to produce educational material and information about how individuals can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the City Council will now work up detailed plans to achieve this.

Emma, one of the participants in the Oxford Citizens’s Assembly, commented:

“Personally, being a member of the Citizens Assembly was a privilege. Hearing from so many experts in their field, having the opportunity to properly discuss issues with other residents of Oxford and listen to the range of responses and views was at times challenging, but also rewarding. I felt proud to be part of the process and at a time when politics can seem disappointing, the Citizens assembly gave me the chance to be heard and for all of us to feel we genuinely had a chance to make a difference.

“The report manages to capture the complexity of the topics we discussed and also how carefully we considered the scenarios presented. There was an understanding of how great the changes would be in our daily lives but I was heartened by the commitment of fellow citizens to make these changes in their lifestyles to achieve net zero. 

“I know the report stresses that we did not agree on a date to achieve it by, just that we wanted to be sooner than 2050 and for me, it seemed that we didn’t want to limit ourselves. For me personally, and plenty of others I talked to, there was a strong aspiration to try and achieve this as soon as we could and to start the process right now as the message that had been loud and clear was the time for action was now and every reduction, every change, every emission that was avoided would make a difference.”

Where can I find more information?