Nature sustains us, it’s wild, it’s wonderful and it’s full of exotic plants, huge ancient trees, cute insects, and animals. We need to look after it. Grown-ups, you need to start listening to us kids for once. Just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you know better. We’re the ones who will have to live through this mess, so we need to come back together as a community, and fight for our planet.Aoife-Mae, opening speaker at The Big One
Amazing nine-year-old Oxfordshire activist Aoife-Mae kicked off The Big One with her stirring speech – watch it here. For the rest of Friday we were outside the Department of Education designing a curriculum for the future, with breaks for some “discobedience”. On Saturday, hundreds of young and old Oxford citizens came to London for the massive March for Nature, many on their first ever protest. Sunday coincided with the marathon, when we made clear the message that we are Running Out Of Time. On the final day, pickets resumed all along Whitehall, ending with a countdown to the deadline for our demands. The indifference from the government was unsurprising, but we were blown away by the passion and creativity of the crowd, and we move forward with renewed support from a huge coalition of groups and new rebels!
Dates for your diary
- Sunday 14th May, 6-9pm: Rebels Return: Debrief & Social (Flo’s – The Place in the Park)
- Saturday 20th May 10:30am-4:30pm: Leveller’s Day (Burford, free coaches to and from Oxford)
- Tuesday 6th June, 6-7:30pm: XR Oxford Rhythms (samba) – beginners session. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to come so that we know how many extra drums/percussion to bring. (New Marston Pastoral Centre)
The Emperors Speak Out
On 1st April the famous Emperors’ Heads that sit outside the Sheldonian delivered a powerful message on the climate and ecological emergency.
Local members of Extinction Rebellion gave three Emperors words and used these as the starting point for hundreds of conversations with people on Broad Street. Hundreds of photos were taken (and hopefully shared!) by those who passed, and over a thousand leaflets calling on people to join The Big One, were given to those who were interested.
[ Read more ]
Voices from The Big One
Everyone at The Big One had their own personal reasons for being there. Megan Murray-Pepper explained hers: “For me The Big One was all about demonstrating the widespread public demand for greater action on the climate and ecological crisis. I’m a mother and teacher and I’m so worried about the impoverished world our children are set to inherit – nature in decline, emissions rising, rampant inequality. But we have a choice about what the future could look like. I was among teachers and educators from all around the country asking the Department for Education for some real action. What if we reimagined our curriculum to equip children with the knowledge, skills and values they will need for the future? How can schools properly safeguard pupils in the face of climate breakdown and foster a world in which they will be able to thrive as adults? The current strategy from DfE falls so far short of addressing these urgent questions. During The Big One it was really inspiring to take part in a programme of ‘street lessons’ offering bold and imaginative possibilities for the future of education. Our children need and deserve this.”
We asked you to write in with your own experiences – read them all here.
At 6pm on Sunday 14th May at Flo’s – The Place in the Park, come along and share stories & experiences of rebellion. We’ll run a debrief, and then eat, drink and make merry together, to replenish ourselves.
Part I: Debrief
How was the Big One for you? What were the roses of success, the thorns of what could have worked better, and the buds of what we could learn for future actions?
Part II: Replenish
After sharing our thoughts and feelings about the Big One, we’ll share food and drink and enjoy some mellow time together. Bring a dish (labelled would be great) to share, something to drink, and yourselves.
Everyone is welcome! If you didn’t make it to London, come and hear people’s experiences, and find out how you can get involved in upcoming events. Look forward to seeing you there.
Thank you to Oxford & District Trades Union Council for their offer to finance a coach from Oxford on Friday. We are very grateful to XDTUC for their generous support. The coach was a great idea, and made it possible for 60 mostly new rebels to take the step of joining the action, as they were able travel easily and all together to London from Oxford, Wallingford and surrounding areas. This is a lovely example of collaboration between trades unions and XR.
On International Worker’s Day, the XR Oxford drummers headed the Oxford and District Trades Union Council march up Cowley Road for a rally in Bonn Square, in support of striking workers. We were among a diverse group of organisations, including Keep Campsfield Closed, the Socialist and Green Parties, the NEU, UCU, PCU, Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association, and more. At the rally we heard from the nurses and teachers unions, both of them highlighting the shocking backlog in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), with children waiting years to get support. Over a decade in government cutbacks have left public services at breaking point. The rally was followed by workshops, including “Climate Justice: trade unions for a just transition”, held jointly by members of the Trades Council’s climate working group and XR Oxford.
We’re really glad to be working together, and hope there will be many more opportunities to ally in common cause. We are stronger together!
In love and rage,
The XR Oxford Crew