Blog

XR Oxford Newsletter – November 2023

This month has seen more record shattering temperatures, and a King’s Speech which promised to destroy any environmental progress in this country. Extinction Rebellion Oxford has continued our resistance, forcing Equinor to withdraw from the university careers fair, campaigning on Cornmarket Street against Rosebank and Barclays Bank, and reaching out to commuters in Didcot about the coal-mining activities of RWE, owners of Didcot Power Station.

Dates for your Diary

  • Wed 15 November, 7:30-9PM: South Oxford Geese affinity group meeting (New Hinksey) Contact: soxgeese@gmail.com
  • Tue 21 November, 7-9PM: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Workshop (The Community Works, Makespace Oxford, 21 Park End St, OX1 1HH)
  • Wed 22 November, 12-1:30PM: Silent Sitting at Barclays (Barclays Bank, Cornmarket)
  • Thu 23 November, 7:30-9PM: Headington Fringe AG get-together and action planning (Headington) Contact: headingtonfringecoordinator@gmail.com
  • Fri 24 November, 5:30-7PM: Indigenous Climate Knowledge in Africa and the Need for Global Climate Justice (Lecture Room 1, Blavatnik School of Government, OX2 6GG)
  • Sat 25 November, 12-2PM (tentative): Stop Rosebank protest and outreach in Oxford. Subject to confirmation. (Cornmarket, Oxford)
  • Sat 25 November, 10:30-4PM: Oxford Green Fair (Oxford Town Hall)
  • Tue 28 November, 6-7:30PM: XR Oxford Drummers Newcomer Session (New Marston Pastoral Centre, Jack Straw’s Lane, OX3 0DL)
  • Tue 28 November, 7-9PM: Oxford United for Nature (Wesley Memorial Hall, New Inn Hall Street, OX1 2DH)
  • Wed 29 November, 7:30-9PM: Talks, Training and Engagement working group meeting (Iffley Fields, Oxford) Contact: xroxford.tte@gmail.com
  • 30 November, 2, 5, 6, 9, 12 December, 12-2PM: COP 28 Action and Outreach in Oxford (Cornmarket Street)
  • Sat 9 December, 2:30-4:30PM: Oxford Climate Choir rehearsal (South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street)

Please check our calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Get Active

Introduction to Extinction Rebellion

Are you new to Extinction Rebellion and curious to know a bit more?

Whether you are a new rebel or someone who has been engaged with XR for a while now, the workshop would be a great opportunity to reflect upon why we do things the way we do. The session covers principles and values guiding our action, our key demands, why we take non-violent direct action, and the different ways in which you could get involved. This is a safe space to reflect, discuss, question, and share.

Come along to this Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Oxford session on Tuesday 21st November from 7-9pm.

COP28

As world leaders gather for this year’s UN Climate Conference, we will be out on the streets of Oxford talking to the public about the COP conference, and especially about the need for climate justice for countries in the Global South, many of which are feeling the most severe impacts of climate breakdown. We’ll also be asking people to think about what they can do, and encouraging them to join us in taking action.

We will be on Cornmarket from 12-2pm on 30th November, then 2nd, 5th, 6th, 9th and 12th December.

Silent Sitting

Please come and join a fortnightly “Silent Sit” at Barclays Bank in Cornmarket as meditators and others, continue to campaign at Barclays about it’s funding of Fossil Fuel companies. Barclays is the biggest fossil fuel funding bank in Europe and the 6th largest funder in the world. With many world temperature records broken in 2023, it is vitally urgent that the use of fossil fuels is dramatically reduced in the short term. If banks cease to offer funding for existing and new fossil fuel projects, then the essential rapid reduction of harmful emissions can begin and our children and grandchildren can look forward to enjoying a liveable climate.

Barclays shows no appetite for significant change in its support of Fossil Fuel companies and so we hope that our quiet meditative presence outside Barclays Bank in Oxford will draw customers and passers-by’s attention to the contribution the activities of Barclays are making to the climate crisis we face. Other “Silent Sits” are being offered at other UK branches of Barclays at various times.

If you would like to come and meditate with us, please bring a placard, a cushion, stool or chair and sit in Cornmarket in quiet contemplative silence for as long as you are able between 12.00 and 13.30 on Wednesday 22nd November and fortnightly thereafter (with a focus on COP28 on 6th December). We would very much welcome others, respecting the quiet space we are trying to create, to engage with passers-by and Barclays customers by handing out leaflets and entering into conversations about Barclays contribution to Global Warming.

News

Extinction Rebellion Statement on Palestine Conflict

Extinction Rebellion UK has made this statement on the conflict in Palestine. The XR Oxford Coordinators Circle endorses this statement, calling for an immediate ceasefire in line with our core value of non-violence. XR respects individuals’ autonomy and right to make their own choices on these issues. Some groups in Oxford working to further this cause include:

Victory against Equinor at Careers Fair

Photo credit: Feng Ho

After we have grown used to resistance or indifference to our actions, it’s a stirring feeling when protest really makes an impact. 

Following the infuriating announcement on 27 September that the government was approving the Rosebank oilfield, the news that Equinor, the Norwegian state oil company that’s one of its major investors, would be exhibiting at the Oxford University STEM careers fair on 14 October seemed like insult added to injury. And an obvious target for protest.

Plans were quickly made and announced to picket the careers fair, asking students not to engage with Equinor’s stand. Then, at the last minute, a sharp-eyed rebel spotted that Equinor no longer featured on the web programme for the event. A phone call (posing as an interested student) confirmed it: Equinor had pulled out, no explanation given. It’s hard to imagine that our plans were nothing to do with this.

Of course, it is not a major victory. Rosebank is not affected, Equinor will doubtless get the recruits it needs in other ways. But we made it clear that the social licence that fossil fuel companies have long enjoyed is coming to an end. However much greenwash they concoct (Equinor claims to want to be “a leading company in the energy transition”), while they ignore the science and exploit fossil fuels, they will not be tolerated.

We decided to protest nonetheless, given that the university careers service is still promoting Equinor and companies like it. Outreachers had some fantastic conversations with students, who for the most part agreed that encouraging them to tie their futures to the obsolete oil and gas industry was totally inappropriate. They expressed a desire for student input on which companies, and kinds of companies, they would actually hope to engage with at these fairs, as well as which should be barred.

Oil company Equinor withdraws from careers fair in success for climate campaigners

Extinction Rebellion claims credit in deterring Equinor from participating in a university careers fair.

Extinction Rebellion, the Samba Band, singers, and associated students protested outside and inside the Exam Schools on the High Street in Oxford 11-1pm on Saturday 14th October, telling students and passers-by attending a careers fair about Equinor and its links to the Rosebank oil and gas field.

Equinor is the corporation which may run the Rosebank oil and gas field if it allowed to open. Equinor says it is “working to advance the energy transition and combat climate change” (from their entry in the event prospectus). In fact: At least 95% of Equinor’s energy comes from fossil fuels. If put into operation, Rosebank would be the largest oil and gas field in the North Sea. The United Nations has said global Climate goals require that NO new oil and gas installations are put into operation.

People were asked to sign a letter to the University Careers Service and the Vice Chancellor asking them to promote only Fossil Free Careers in future (six universities have already committed). People were also encouraged to sign-up to the Stop Rosebank campaign and to XR Oxford, as part of the ‘Cut the Ties to Fossil Fuels’ campaign. More dramatically, there was a die-in at 12 noon outside the Exam Schools.

Ruby Finn comments:

“Since the announcement approving the Rosebank oil field, there have been many protest actions. Rosebank is the largest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea.  It would emit more carbon dioxide equivalent in its lifetime than 700 million people in the world’s poorest countries do annually. The International Energy Agency has said that there can be no new investment in oil, gas and coal.  Oxford University researchers have published extensively on climate change, as well as renewable energy’s potential. Oxford University should not endorse fossil fuel careers which are keeping this industry going despite objections. We have acted today as all universities should resist supporting fossil fuel corporations which amounts to letting them get away with wrecking the students’ futures.”

XR Oxford Newsletter – October 2023

At a time when so many households across the UK are struggling with the cost of living, Rosebank’s owners Equinor and Ithaca Energy are set to receive a tax break worth £3.75 billion. Whilst the UK government rightly wants to secure energy supplies, Rosebank is 90 percent oil likely for export. The best way to secure energy, and to bring down bills is to rapidly expand energy efficiency measures whilst boosting reliable and cheap renewables in harmony with nature’s recovery.

Stop Rosebank Coalition

No sooner had the UK government signalled that it was backpedalling on climate action, it went ahead with approving the disastrous Rosebank oilfield. XR Oxford immediately sprang to action along with groups around the country. We must make sure that these plans are stopped in their tracks.

Dates for your diary

  • Wed 11 October, 7:30-9pm: Oxford Talks, Training, and Engagement Working Group Meeting (Jericho – email xroxford.tte@gmail.com for details)
  • Thu 12 October, 11:30am-1:30pm: Cancel the Debt Coalition, BoE London (Bank of England, City of London EC3V 3LL)
  • Sat 14 October, 11am-1pm: Get Equinor out of Oxford! Protest at STEM Careers Fair (Examination Schools, 75-81 High Street)
  • Sat 14 October, 2:30-4:30pm: Oxford Climate Choir October rehearsal (South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street)
  • Mon 16 October, 6:30-8pm: A Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford (Wesley Memorial Hall, New Inn Hall Street)
  • Wed 18 October, 7:30-9pm: South Oxford Geese Affinity Group Meeting (New Hinksey – email soxgeese@gmail.com)
  • Sun 29 October onwards: Just Stop Oil slow march campaign (London)
  • Tue 21st November, 7-9pm: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Workshop (The Community Works, 21 Park End Street)

Get Active

Get Equinor out of Oxford!

Equinor, the Norwegian oil company involved in the Rosebank oilfield is going to be at Oxford University STEM careers fair next Saturday, 14th October. Are you outraged that the University is helping Big Oil recruit graduates to do its dirty work? If so, join us outside the Examination Schools on High Street from 11am-1pm. Bring placards, flags and your voices for chanting. For more information or if you’d like to help organise the protest, email xroxfordactions@gmail.com. See also https://www.stopcambo.org.uk.

A Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford

On 2nd October, Oxford City Council declared its support for a Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford. Now, Climate Collective Oxford, a group working to establish a CEC, wants your help, as we think about what that centre will do, and how it will achieve its aims of reaching diverse groups with information and solutions on the climate emergency, and building community cohesion and resilience.

Please come along to a public meeting on Monday 16th October 6.30-8pm at the Wesley Memorial Hall, New Inn Hall Street, OX1 2DH, to find out more about plans for a Centre for Oxford and how you can get involved.

Digital Action – Defend the defenders of Rempang Island!

The Indonesian government and corporations are forcibly evicting indigenous and local community of Rempang Island to build a mega project called Rempang Eco City, which is part of the Nationally Strategic Projects (a set of prioritized development mega projects of Indonesia that mostly involve human rights violation and are carbon intensive in nature). Check the Solidarity Toolkit for social media actions here.

News

Action to Stop Rosebank

Photo credit: Feng Ho

Late in September, the UK government gave the go-ahead to the Rosebank oil field. On 1 October, XR Oxford joined Stop Cambo, Fossil Free London, Extinction Rebellion UK and others in talking to the streets to protest the approval of this climate destructive project. The action was joined by XR Oxford Rhythms band and XR Oxford Singers.

Rosebank is the UK’s biggest undeveloped oil and gas field. It will be developed by the oil and gas giant Equinor, which is majority-owned by the Norwegian government. The project has been called a climate bomb. Burning Rosebank’s oil and gas is expected to create more carbon dioxide than the combined emissions of the world’s 28 low-income countries. If we want a liveable climate, there can be no new oil and gas projects. That means NO ROSEBANK.

Photo credit: Feng Ho

“Rishi Sunak’s decision to go ahead with Rosebank was so outrageous that it inspired many to take the streets to protest for the first time today. As a mother, I’m absolutely horrified by the government’s actions. Opening up a new oil field when we desperately need to transition to green & renewable energy is utter madness. I’m here for my children, and for children around the world. We are seeing the effects of the climate crisis right now and it’s heartbreaking to witness. We must show the UK government that we don’t want Rosebank and fight for a U-turn in this decision”, Feng Ho said.

Defend the Right to Protest

Photo credit: Zoe Broughton

“Jurors: you have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience”

Trudi Warner faces jail for a placard that tells the truth. Across the country on 25th September, including outside Oxford Crown Court, protestors repeated her clear message – that juries should not be coerced by the judiciary.

Witnesses are sworn to tell the truth, and yet defendants are being prevented from telling the truth about the climate crisis. Watch our video from the protest here.

Restore Nature Now

Photo credit: Feng Ho

Members of XR Oxford joined over 40 environmental charities and climate groups and Chris Packham in protesting outside offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to demand the government take urgent action to restore nature. The action was directed at DEFRA offices across the country, including London, York, Reading, Newcastle, and Bristol. It was in response to The State of Nature report, whch showed that 16% of the UK’s wildlife species are at risk of extinction. UK wildlife has declined by an average of 19% since 1970. Parents and grandparents joined us in this protest, and for many, it was their first foray into activism. Take the example of a mother who came for her son, who recently learned about plastic pollution and climate change at school. He was devastated and begged her to take action.

At the action, Chris Packham shared a powerful message: “Let your heart guide your actions, use your head to shape them, but stand up for nature because nature can’t speak, but we can. Nature can’t act, but we must.”

Restore Nature Now demands that all the major political parties commit to robust, resilient, and practical policies in their manifestos to restore natural biodiversity. These policies must make nature-friendly farming, forestry, and fishing practices mandatory.

Chris Packham has also released a remarkable documentary: Is It Time To Break the Law? He interviews Greta Thunberg, Roger Hallam, and Andreas Malm, and comes to a startling conclusion. It can be watched free online (registration required).

Stop Jackdaw

XR Oxford picketed the Shell garage in Headington and ran a stall at Headington crossroads on Saturday 30th September. We were asking people to complain to Shell asking them not to open the Jackdaw gas field and to stop any new oil and gas exploitation. We also asked them to tell the government to stop issuing new gas and oil licences. We got a very friendly response from the public who seemed to be impressed that we were managing to be both at the crossroads and at the Shell garage. The letter to local MP, Anneliese Dodds, asking Labour to commit to revoking the new license for Rosebank oil field attracted queues of people wanting to sign. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the action. If you weren’t able to support the action on the day you can still send your own emails, details below:

  • Tell Shell we are against them expanding gas and oil production, and against the Jackdaw gas field.
    Contact Shell: complaint@shellenergy.co.uk
  • Tell the government to stop issuing new oil and gas licences.
    Contact Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero: grahamstuartmp@parliament.uk

Oxford Climate Choir joins Flashmob in the Science Museum

On Saturday, a group of singers from Oxford Climate Choir (aka XR Oxford Singers) joined around 100 members of other climate choirs to stage a ‘flashmob’ in the Science Museum in London. They were demanding that the museum’s trustees refuse sponsorship (which comes with ‘gagging clauses’ preventing criticism of the sponsor) from fossil fuel companies. In particular, the protest was aimed at Adani, the giant oil and gas producer, which (almost unbelievably) will be sponsoring the museum’s new Energy Revolution Climate Change gallery. The museum also has sponsorship deals with BP and Equinor.

The choirs sang in the museum for nearly an hour, moving from gallery to gallery, while banners reading ’Science Museum, Stop Ignoring Science’ were unfurled from the gallery. For more details and video, see here.

Would you like to join the fast-growing Climate Choir movement, and raise your voice to protest for a better world? Oxford Climate Choir meets once a month on Saturday afternoons to rehearse. Our next session will be this Saturday, 14th October, 2.30-4.30pm at South Oxford Community Centre. We have an exciting action coming up in London during COP 28 as well as some ideas for local protests. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience, so join us if you can.

For more information, email oxford@climatechoirmovement.org

XR Oxford Newsletter – September 2023

Any further weakening of the government’s climate policies is a complete betrayal of people living in poverty – both in the UK and abroad – who are most vulnerable to climate change. The government needs to put long-term interests ahead of short-term politics and that means a fast and fair move towards renewable energy.

Lyndsay Walsh, Oxfam’s climate change policy adviser

We are appalled, if not entirely surprised, at the latest climate policy announcements from the UK Government. With an election looming next year and manifestos on their way, it has never been more important to put pressure on all political parties and make it clear that the British public will not accept climate wrecking policies.

Dates for your diary

  • Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd September: Drinkable Rivers Thames Walk reaches Oxford
  • Saturday 23rd September, 11am-2pm: Didcot RWE Outreach (Outside Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot, OX11 7NE)
  • Sunday 24th September, 1-4pm: Kiddical Mass bike ride (Broad Street)
  • Thursday 28th September, 8am-2pm: Restore Nature Now (DEFRA, London)
  • Thursday 28th September, 7:30pm: Finite: The Climate of Change screening (King Alfred Community Centre, Didcot, OX11 7NU)
  • Saturday 30th September, 10am-12pm: Headington outreach, focussing on Shell (Headington Crossroads)
  • Saturday 30th September: South East Rising – day of connecting and learning as we Unite To Survive. (Brighton)
  • ​Thursday 12th October, 12pm​: Cancel the Debt – theatrical and inclusive action by coalition including Debt for Climate​ and Extinction Rebellion (Bank of England, London)​
  • Saturday 14th – Friday 20th October: Oily Money Out – training 14th-16th, actions 17th-19th (London)
  • Tuesday 21st November, 7-9pm: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Workshop (The Community Works, 21 Park End Street, OX1 1HU)

Get Active

South East Rising

There’s still time to get your ticket for the South East Rising event in Brighton on the 30th! If you’re planning on going, we’ll be using this Telegram group for Oxfordshire rebels to find each other and travel together.

Oily Money Out

In October the annual conference will be held in London where the biggest names in the fossil fuel industry come together for the oil and money summit. XR SE are calling on all rebels and partner groups to join us in a day of disruptive action on 17th October starting at 8AM, as we unite in numbers and come together in solidarity and do not move. If you want to be involved in any of a variety of roles, please email xroxfordactions@gmail.com.

Digital Actions

Save our Ancient Woodlands: Britain’s oldest living residents are under threat. They have been with us for hundreds of years but their rights are not recognised. Thousands of ancient trees are being destroyed as part of development projects. It’s time to stand up for them. Enough is enough. Sign this petition to tell the government to give ancient woodlands absolute protection.

Open Letter to Vice Chancellors: support students in climate action. In response to Gillian Keegan’s shameful letter to Vice Chancellors attempting to silence climate protest on campus, sign this counterpoint letter urging them to support climate action.

News

Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels

This September, as the world leaders gather in New York for the UN General Assembly and the Climate Ambition Summit, thousands around the world are marching in solidarity in the global fight to end fossil fuels. Numerous organisations have joined the action with over 700 marches in more than 60 countries bringing together more than 600,000 participants. On 16th of September, members of XR Oxford marched to the parliament with rebels from around the country to demand urgent action on fossil fuels. The march had several key demands:

  • No new fossil fuel projects
  • Rapid, just and equitable phase out of current infrastructure through global collaboration, via a Fossil Fuel Proliferation Treaty
  • Drastic scaling up of financial and technology transfers to ensure renewable energy access
  • Stop to greenwashing
  • Holding polluters responsible for their damage to the environment
  • End fossil fuel corporate capture of climate talks

As the UK government rows back on its climate pledges, there is an ever growing sense of urgency to hold the polluters and their powerful backers in the government to account for their irresponsible actions.

Meanwhile in Oxford, we combined two powerful actions. A group of us gave out leaflets and talked to passers by in Cornmarket using posters from Chris Packham’s latest campaign, No New Oil. This campaign sends a warning to present and would-be political leaders that we won’t vote for new oil and gas. As the politicians gather this autumn for the party conferences, their manifestos for the next general election will be high on the agenda, so now is a great time to send this message. Check out the brilliant posters for this campaign, you can download and print them and display one in your window (or we have plenty available if you don’t have a printer!). You can also write to your MP telling them that your vote depends on their party’s policy on climate.

Photo: Feng Ho

At 2.30 pm, a group of mothers from Oxford, joined many Mothers’ Rebellion groups across the world, from Colombia to India and from Australia to Canada, by sitting in a circle in the middle of Cornmarket. These demonstrations will continue in many other countries during the week from 15 to 23 September. Many mothers and grandmothers in Cornmarket held placards with the names of their children and grandchildren to draw attention to the threat of climate breakdown to future generations.  Mothers’ Rebellion message is that we refuse to look away, that we refuse to give up and that we will do everything we can for the lives and future of our children.

Of Walking on Thin Ice

After the Mothers’ Rebellion, members of XR Oxford attended a special film screening of “Of Walking On Thin Ice” at the Phoenix Picturehouse. This documentary charts the incredible 500 mile pilgrimage from London to Glasgow for the COP26 conference in 2001. Recorded on celluloid, it has a dreamlike, meditative atmosphere, and many of the attendees said they were moved to tears. Afterwards, there was a panel hosted by Rabhya Dewshi from XR Oxford, with the film-maker Benjamin Wigley, and two of the walkers featured in the film. The film and the panellists gave us a strong message about the transformative power of acting together, building bonds with each other and the communities we work in. Even after the panel had ended, we continued the deep conversation on a walk across Port Meadow.

Look out for more Green Screen events at the Phoenix in the future.

Pilgrimage for the Planet

Earlier this month, Christian Climate Action undertook 15 pilgrimages across the country. In Oxford, 21 pilgrims (including 3 children) were welcomed and blessed by the clergy at Blackfriars Priory, followed by a special short service of prayers for Creation and Climate Justice arranged by Rev. Philippa White at Christchurch Cathedral, and a final blessing and commitment to action from Rev. Rachel Cross at St Frideswide Church, Botley Rd. An interview with Helen Elwes went out early on Sunday from BBC Oxford Radio (listen here at 1:20:00). Hopefully this will become an annual event!

End Fossil Fuels – 15th-17th September

XR Oxford is taking part in the Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels next weekend in a series of actions in Oxford and London.

Friday 15th September

Outside HSBC, 12-2pm, come and be part of a national action aimed primarily against HSBC funding for fossil fuels. We will have HSBC stickers from XR UK, leaflets explaining their involvement in fossil fuel funding and our Barclays leaflets. Do come and help with outreach, handing leaflets to passersby and talking to them about the climate emergency and fossil fuels. Ask them to use the QR code for more information about what they can do, and how to sign up to XR Oxford. The more rebels the better.

We are also encouraging people to join a Climate Strike organised by an amazing young activist at Bonn Square, 9am. If you plan to join, please let us know so that we can pass on the message.

Saturday 16th September

Oxford rebels will be joining the march in London,12-2pm, Grosvenor Gardens. This will be a family-friendly march – bring placards and banners. Join the Telegram group here.

For those who can’t make it to London:

  • Outreach in Cornmarket, 1-3pm, talking to the public, and giving them posters they can display at home. If you can help with the outreach, please sign up to the rota – or just turn up on the day.
  • Alongside this, a families action, sitting in a circle with placards, as part of the global Mothers Rebellion (Cornmarket, 2-3pm).
  • After this, people are warmly invited to go on to the screening of ‘Walking on Thin Ice’ at the Phoenix Picturehouse at 3.30pm (tickets), which will be followed by a panel discussion, and a walk in Port Meadow.

Sunday 17th September

Mothers Rebellion will be back in London, 11:30am-1pm at the Science Museum (Facebook event). All peaceful protestors welcome – this action is inclusive for all those who care about children’s future in a time of climate chaos regardless of age, gender or whether they have children of their own.

Please join us for one or more of these actions, and amplify the message: Fossil fuel exploitation must end now.

Sun, Sea, Sand, and Sewage

  • 389,000 discharges of raw sewage into UK waterways in 2022 alone
  • 75% of UK rivers pose a serious risk to human health
  • 39% reports of sickness after bathing linked with a sewage discharge in the area

(source: Surfers Against Sewage)

Showing the shocking state of our rivers across the country, even the designated bathing area at Wolvercote has a “Poor” status and an advisement against bathing, with E. Coli and Intestinal Enterococci regularly found at the site. XR Oxford has been drawing attention to the situation along with groups such as Windrush Against Sewage Pollution over the past years, and this month we joined Dirty Water Wave 4 for the latest action.

Dates for your diary

  • Wednesday 30th August, 7:30-9pm: Talks, Training and Engagement Working Group meeting. New members welcome – email xroxford.tte@gmail.com for details (Zoom)
  • Saturday 9th September, 2:30-4:30pm: XR Oxford Singers rehearsal (Gill Garrett Room, South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street, OX1 4RP)
  • Saturday 16th September, 3:30pm: Of Walking on Thin Ice – movie, panel & walk (Phoenix Picturehouse)
  • Saturday 16th September, 12pm: End Fossil Fuels March (Grosvenor Gardens, London)
  • Monday 18th September, 7:30-9pm: South Oxford Geese Affinity Group Meeting. New members welcome – email soxgeese@gmail.com for venue details.
  • Wednesday 20th September, 7-9pm: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Workshop (The Community Works, 21 Park End Street OX1 1HU)
  • Saturday 30th September: South East Rising – day of connecting and learning as we Unite To Survive. (Brighton)
  • Tuesday 21st November, 7-9pm: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Workshop (The Community Works, 21 Park End Street OX1 1HU)

News

Dirty Water Wave 4

Our first attempt at Dirty Water actions this month was thwarted by Storm Antoni (itself both a harbinger of the climate chaos to come and an exacerbating event for sewage pollution), which brought a month’s rainfall in a single day. We regrouped and returned the next weekend, bringing banner drops to the Medley Bridge on Port Meadow and Donnington Bridge. Passers-by expressed their support for our campaign, some having swum in the area since they were children, and others were shocked that the sewage problem was just as bad in the so-called designated bathing area as in other parts of the country.

The Canaries brought their excellent satirical face-in-hole board so people could take #DirtyWater selfies – look out for it at future actions!

Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Oxford

Times like these – when climate crises are escalating and pressure from a number of climate action groups is mounting – force us to dig deeper into our foundational motivations. At Extinction Rebellion in Oxford, we want to facilitate spaces where we can go back to basics and re-align ourselves with why we do what we do. Irrespective of whether you are new to XR or have been involved for a long time, we invite you all to the ‘Introduction to Extinction Rebellion’ workshops that we have organised. These workshops aim to provide a relaxed and engaging atmosphere, where you can familiarise yourself with the guiding principles and values of Extinction Rebellion.

The first time this workshop was held was in July at The Community Works. We experienced a lively buzz of engagement, as participants asked questions, shared their concerns, and proposed creative ideas for actions. One of the participants described the evening as having `exceeded expectations’ – a sentiment we too shared. It was heartening to see fresh enthusiasm as we watched the participants brainstorm imaginative ideas and strategies.

We have two more workshops planned for 20th September and 21st November, from 7-9pm. We hope to see many of you there. If you have been curious about XR, this is the no-strings-attached workshop you do not want to miss.

Venue: The Community Works, 21 Park End Street OX1 1HU (entrance via Becket Street)

Please share this poster with your friends and encourage them to come along!

Our Leaders Fiddle while Rhodes Burns

Photo: Suzanne Williams

Several hundred people – mostly women and children – gathered outside Downing Street in early August, to show their outrage and horror at the granting by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of more than 100 new oil and gas exploration licences in the North Sea.

Behind a banner reading “Our Leaders Fiddle While Rhodes Burns’ adults and children held bright flames in the air, and signs saying “100 New Oil & Gas Licences=licence to kill’, ‘New Oil and Gas Betrays Our Kids’, ‘Carbon Capture Fantasy’, ‘Shame on You Rishi’, ‘Only Tidal Power from the North Sea’. And in front a figure with a large Rishi Sunak head played the fiddle and danced.

Photo: Suzanne Williams

Oxford residents Carolyn Dodd and Suzanne Williams (pictured) joined the demonstration, organised by Mothers Rise Up. Carolyn Dodd said: ‘It was only last year that Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, said that it would be a moral failure and economic disaster to extract any more oil and gas – and yet here we have Rishi Sunak’s government saying they want to ‘max out’ North Sea fossil fuels. Guterres called governments like this the real ‘radical extremists’, not the ordinary people who are desperately protesting and trying to get governments to act for the sake of all our futures.’

Suzanne Williams said: ‘The government is also misleading us – North sea Oil will make more huge profits for multinational companies, and will not bring our energy prices down nor help with the cost of living for ordinary British people. Sunak also claims that we need oil and gas to achieve energy security – which is nonsense! It’s the opposite – only renewable, sustainable and inexpensive green energy from tidal, wind and solar will bring energy security, not more dependence on fossil fuels. It seems that Rishi Sunak is hooked on oil and gas, which is a disaster not just for us in the UK but people all over the world, because the climate emergency is global.’

Photo: Feng Ho

A young mother, who wished not to be named, said that she is terrified for her children’s futures, and the children themselves are suffering from anxiety and fear of what the world will be like as they grow up. As recent reports have shown, the world has just had the hottest July since records began, and just this week the ocean temperature has reached the highest level ever – which means it will absorb less CO2 from the atmosphere, melt ice which will lead to higher sea level rises, and affect all marine life and the marine ecosystem. As the UN Secretary-General said last month, we are no longer in the era of global warming, we have entered the era of global boiling.

Steve Dawe, media coordinator, has provided raw materials, including references to materials you may wish to use, to encourage MPs to make efforts to saturate Rishi Sunak in protests about his extraordinary commitments to fossil fuel industries, flying, motoring and bad transport policy changes. Do personalise and localise your letter to your own MP, using whatever references you see fit. To help, see a release on the topic with a lot of references here.

Of Walking on Thin Ice

Screening at the Phoenix Picturehouse on September 16th at 3:30pm: tickets here.

The Camino to COP26 was a people’s walk carrying a message of love, hope, grief, fear and connection with the natural world to leaders deciding the future of our climate. More than a thousand walkers, aged from 8 to 80+, joined the Camino, with a core of 30 walking the entire route, in a pilgrimage for the plant. After the screening, we will have some great speakers joining us to reflect together and see what we can learn. Werner Herzog described the physical act of walking as ‘dreaming on foot’, and we will be walking across Port Meadow after the movie, to continue our conversations in nature, and then in the pub.

Getting coverage

Early notification about Dirty Water 4 to media outlets in Oxfordshire led to Hazel Dawe getting interviews on the topic with Thats TV, Heart FM and Jack FM. This demonstrates the importance of getting media releases out well in advance of events. If assistance is needed to do this, contact Steve Dawe, Media coordinator, XR Oxford at stevedawe@gn.apc.org or 07747 036192.

In love and rage,

The XR Oxford Crew

XR Oxford Newsletter – July 2023

Climate change is out of control… If we persist in delaying key measures that are needed, I think we are moving into a catastrophic situation, as the last two records in temperature demonstrates

António Guterres, UN Secretary General

In the same week that global temperature records were shattered, the UK Government was revealed to be dropping its climate pledge. It has never been more important to step up the pressure on our failing leadership. If you haven’t taken action yet, or if you came to The Big One and want to find out about the next steps, come along to our Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Oxford on 19th July.

Dates for your diary

  • Saturday 15th July, 2pm: Stop Rosebank. Join us for a march to tell our government and Norwegian oil giant Equinor that we will not allow Rosebank to go ahead. Join on Signal for updates (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, 1 Victoria St, London, SW1H 0NE)
  • Monday 17th July, 12:30pm: Friends of the Earth protest against H1F1 road (County Hall)
  • Monday 17th July, 7:30-9pm: Geese Affinity Group meeting (South Oxford – email soxgeese@gmail.com for venue)
  • Wednesday 19th July, 7-9pm: Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Oxford (The Community Works, 21 Park End Street, OX1 1HU)
  • Thursday 20th July, 7:30-9pm: Headington Fringe affinity group meeting. (Headington – email headingtonfringecoordinator@gmail.com for venue)
  • Tuesday 25th July, 7:30-9pm: Rusty Bicycles Affinity Group meeting. (East Oxford – email xr-oxford-rustybicycles-coordinators@googlegroups.com for venue)
  • Wednesday 26th July, 6-7:30pm: My Extinction screening (Curzon Oxford)
  • Saturday 29th July, 11-1pm: Dirty Water themed stall/leafletting. Headington Fringe affinity group action: others welcome to join in (Headington Crossroads)
  • Saturday 5th August, 12-2pm: Dirty Water Wave 4 (Cornmarket, Oxford City Centre, then Port Meadow; banner drop 3pm Donnington Bridge; Swallows at Swinford Bridge, Eynsham)
  • Tuesday 8th August, 7:30-9pm: Climate Change public meeting: Dr Judy Webb will be speaking about the effects of Climate Change upon the Lye Valley This will be followed by the Friends of Lye Valley AGM. (Rear Hall, Bullingdon Community Centre in Peat Moors, Lye Valley, Headington)
  • Saturday 19th August, 12-2pm: Picket, music, leafletting, outreach (Barclays, Cornmarket)

News

Introduction to Extinction Rebellion Oxford

Are you curious about Extinction Rebellion, but not sure what its exact aims are, how it operates, or how you could fit in? Or are you involved already, but would like to know more about the movement’s background and principles, or how we work in Oxford?

Please come along to this no-strings-attached introductory session, bring your heart and mind, bring friends, and meet other people who care about Earth’s future.

Time: Wednesday 19th July, 7-9pm

Venue: The Community Works, 21 Park End Street OX1 1HU (entrance via Becket Street)

Please share this poster with your friends and encourage them to come along!

Dirty Water

Photo: Suzanne Williams

On Saturday the 1st of July, the Canaries held a banner drop on Rainbow Bridge, Port Meadow, calling for an end to sewage-dumping in our rivers. The protest coincided with the news that Thames Water is reportedly on the brink of collapse as it grapples with £14 billion of debt and a horrific environmental record – between 2017 and 2021, the firm was fined £31million for releasing effluent into our waterways. The Canaries held placards, handed out leaflets and chatted with passers-by. The reaction to the protest was overwhelmingly positive. The majority of people engaged with us and took leaflets, sharing our anger that the river is being used as a dumping ground, damaging the wildlife that depends on it and risking the health of the people that enjoy it.  A reporter and photographer from the Oxford Mail came along, BBC Oxford requested pictures of the banner drop and That’s TV Oxfordshire interviewed Megan Murray-Pepper the day before the protest.

The coverage in the newspaper version of the Oxford Mail included an additional paragraph, added by the editor, claiming that XR have been under fire for disrupting public events and holding up traffic. The editor was clearly conflating XR and JSO and we are in touch with the Oxford Mail journalist about this.  

My Extinction

On 30th June, the moving, funny, and motivating film My Extinction opened at Curzon Oxford. It was followed by a special panel Q&A hosted by Anthony Barnett from Open Democracy, featuring Layla Moran MP, Dr Patrick Kennedy-Williams from Climate Psychologists, and Dr Rabhya Dewshi, XR Activist and Clinical Psychologist. There was a lively discussion about the need for direct action, bringing people on board from all walks of life, and getting a Climate Emergency Centre for Oxford. There is one more screening of the film on 26th July – book tickets here.

Flofest in Florence Park

In June, Oxford rebels joined the summer celebrations at the Florence Park festival and spread the joy of art and nature with children and families of the neighborhood.

Setting up a market stall is always a collective effort, with volunteers from different affinity groups pitching in to put up the tent, interact with people passing by, and engaging them in art activities. The stall was super-popular, at time quite hectic with loads of kids lining up (and not lining up!) to have a go at block printing.

Suzanne Williams fondly remembers a little boy who visited the stall and says, “He came back and back again, determined to cover a shirt with an image from every block!”. While the children were busy art printing, chats were had with the parents, as rebels gave out leaflets and discussed what they felt about the climate crisis. This was a good opportunity for parents to interact with their children about climate and environmental issues too. Some felt that having conversations was quite difficult to juggle along with managing a busy arts table – the next market stall needs to have lots of volunteers to engage those who come by!

Coco, a local Oxford rebel, summarises the vibe of the day perfectly as they say, “Art is a very family-friendly and welcoming introduction to XR!”

In love and rage,

The XR Oxford Crew

Regenerative Culture In Action

We need a regenerative culture. So says point 3 of our principles and values, and since The Big One we have been resting, strengthening our relationships, and looking forward to taking action once more. For those who have been with us for years, this is a familiar cycle. For those new to our movement, we have plans to bring back our introductory sessions – keep an eye out for announcements soon!

Dates for your diary

  • Tuesday 13th June, 6-7:30pm: XR Oxford Drummers – beginners session. Sign up here. (New Marston Pastoral Centre)
  • Saturday 17th June, 11am-4:30pm: Flofest. We aim to have an XR block printing stall if we can get enough volunteers (Florence Park)
  • Saturday 17th June, 3-4:30pm: Climate Cafe run by LCON (North Wall Arts Centre)
  • Monday 19th June, 7:15-9pm: Community Power to Save our Wild Isles. Community discussion event run by WWF (Ark-T centre)
  • Wednesday 21st June, 6-8pm: Race for the Future + Director & Panel. Film screening with discussion panel including XR members (Phoenix Picturehouse)

Volunteers Needed

We are planning to hold an arts activity stall at Flofest this year – but we need people to help run it! No experience necessary, and it’s always great fun. Contact Suzanne at suzannewilliams@mailhaven.com before Wednesday if you can join a rota of volunteers.

News

Rebels Return Meeting

Three weeks after The Big One, Oxford rebels met for an evening of reconnection, reflection and debrief. At the Florence Park cafe, new and experienced rebels alike discussed what the four days in London meant to them and to the movement. Common celebrations emerged around the various alliances built and the show of numbers at the Parliament. There was a shared sense of disappointment regarding lack of media coverage on that should have been acknowledged as a historic gathering of people with a unified demand to avert the collapse of organized human life. Although expected, the Government’s silence on the demands made by over 100,000 members of the coalition continued to be a sore point. As the world faces the near-certain future of breaching 1.5 degrees of warming, rebels reiterated the urgency for rapidly growing the movement by building lasting broad-based coalitions. In various groups, rebels also deliberated on concrete next steps for action at the local level. The meeting ended, true to the commitment to regenerative culture, by sharing food and laughter.

Climate League of Oxford and Cambridge 2023

On 27th May, our friends at CLOC launched the second iteration of their project which ranks Oxford and Cambridge colleges based on their climate action. This year both Oriel and St Hugh’s came in with a shameful score of zero, while St Antony’s came out on top. However, none of the colleges achieved a score of over 60% on criteria of decarbonisation, divestment, delinking, and governance. Find the full results here.

Online actionS

While we wait to get back on the streets, here’s a few online actions you can take:

Oxford Friends of the Earth need signatures to Stop Oxfordshire’s Road To Ruin.

Heroic activist Marcus Decker is threatened with deportation; sign here to call for a stop to this cruel punishment.

Write to your MP (particularly if they are Conservative) to support the Energy Bill in the second half of June. It now includes a key amendment from the House of Lords to prevent new coal mines. There are some ideas for the letter here, but a personalised letter is best.

In love and rage,

The XR Oxford Crew

Rebels Return from The Big One

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!

The massed crowds at the March for Nature. Photo: Feng Ho

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 xroxforddrummers@gmail.com if you plan to come so that we know how many extra drums/percussion to bring. (New Marston Pastoral Centre)

News

The Emperors Speak Out

Talking Heads in front of the Sheldonian. Photo: Suzanne Williams

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.

Rebels Return

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.

Solidarity Forever

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

Voices from The Big One

March for Nature of 60,000+ people.
Finishing with a die-in at Parliament Square. Photos: Feng Ho

Last weekend Extinction Rebellion hosted “The Big One” in London, at which there were over 200 groups (a real mix of environmental, cost of living crisis, health, equality and social groups and workers unions).

A group of people hold a colourful banner reading:
Greenpeace
Oxfordshire United for Climate Justice
Oxfordshire Greenpeace joins the march on Saturday

The police estimated 95,000 people marched for biodiversity and stopping new fossil fuels, all the major government departments were picketed, marathon runners were cheered on, and many conversations were had exchanging ideas and solutions, but no arrests were made, and no disruption was caused – so it didn’t make the news.

Many people were there from Oxford though and here’s why.

Megan Murray-Pepper, middle, at the Department for Education
MP for Oxford East, Anneliese Dodds, came out of Parliament to listen to her constituents at the DfE.

At the Department of Education Megan Murray-Pepper, secondary school English teacher from North Oxford, said “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.”

“What an incredible experience to be part of a crowd of 60,000 people of all ages, drawn together by their shared love of the natural world – and deep concern at its destruction. Myrtle the turtle is a green sea turtle, endangered like so many of her kin, by sea pollution, overfishing and warming of the oceans – in other words, the wrecking of her home.” – Suzanne

Suzanne with Myrtle the Turtle

We went with Oxford Climate Choir to London on 21st April, to join Climate Choirs from Bristol, Bath, Brighton, Sheffield, Southampton and London. We were there when 300 singers were joined by thousands of others marching down Whitehall on the 21st. Rehearsed singers led the singing and those carried along in this particular ‘Wave’ added their voices at will.

Singing with such an enormous choir was inspiring and joyful. The glorious sound we made bounced off large buildings and could be heard along other roads. There were smiles, cheers and applause from activists and the public, along with the very British response of ‘we can’t see you doing this embarrassing thing, so we are not really here.’

Comments on our video posts include “So beautiful – really tears at my heart every time.” “This was such a beautiful moment which made my heart swell with joy.”

The Climate Choir movement also had congratulations from Gail Bradbrook: “Massive huge well-done, Jo (Climate choir founder). ‘Beware the revolution that sings.’ So important…beautiful…Thank you”

Climate Choirs offer a dramatic form of outreach with great potential to really make our presence felt. Lot of photos and filming occurred in London which then spread in social media.

Contact Oxford’s XR singers at: hazeldawe5@gmail.com


Hazel and Steve Dawe
Abha Jeurkar, researcher on issues of education and child rights

“I was there for The Big One for all the billions of people in the global south whose lives are being massively disrupted by the climate crisis, may it be the floods in Pakistan or the famine and hunger crisis in East Africa. As I find myself in the privileged situation of being in the UK, I am very aware of my personal levels of consumption – I heat my home and most fruits and vegetables in the grocery store are imported. My best personal efforts of reducing consumption always fall short of the mark. But I think that it is better to be a hypocrite and engage in collective action to make the system better than to be a hypocrite and not do much.” – Abha

“I went to London over the weekend to support the coalition of peaceful groups that have come together at this critical time in our planet’s history to demand the UK government stop issuing new oil and gas licences. It was deeply moving to find so many wonderful, caring individuals from every walk of life voicing their opposition. Many had never been on a march before. Everyone was expressing alarm at the planetary damage and biodiversity loss that worsens year on year despite the starkest of warnings and the succession of scientific advisory reports. There was a strong sense that, for everyone who cares, now is the time to step forward and work together to ensure the government acts.”

Miranda Lewis, editor

 “I was at The Big One because I’ve heard so many times lately that we have all the solutions, all the technology we need to get ourselves out of the mess we’re in with the climate. We know what we need to do, all that’s missing is the political will to do it. I was in London to try to generate that political will for change, by showing those in power how many people really desperately want it.”

April Jones, full-time mum
April and Teresa among stewards from Oxford keeping the march safe

“I went down to London because I wanted to be alongside many thousands of others to deliver a strong message to our government. During the Covid pandemic we were always being told to trust the scientists. Yet, just a few weeks ago more than 700 scientists warned our Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, that there must be no new developments of oil and gas if we are to maintain a sustainable and liveable future for all. Why is our government choosing not to listen to the scientists on this, the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced? It felt so inspiring to be in London and to realise that ordinary people do care deeply about the climate emergency. The cost-of-living crisis is directly linked to the climate crisis, and I really hope that people now will begin to demand change before it is too late.”

Teresa Garlake, writer/editor

“I was at the Big One stewarding for the full 4 days. Talking incessantly to people on the streets has made me realise how many are truly afraid of what really the climate crisis means. With some exceptions (like a young man who said he ‘would die’ rather than take one of our leaflets) most felt relieved to have found so many people with the same concerns and the desire for radical change. I am proud to have contributed to events which are bound to mark a new start in strengthening our alliances and creating a stronger movement to stop fossil fuel, to halt the destruction of nature in all its forms, and tackle social and climate justice across the world.” – Ines

Ines Smyth, humanitarian worker

“I joined a little XR group in Gloucester Green heading for Victoria on a damp and chilly Friday morning. Soon enough we were getting off into an even greyer and damper London. Walking towards Westminster, our first sign of XR activity was a cheery crowd of medics – the air blue with their flags. And then we heard the unmistakeable sound of a full-on XR gathering – our destination: the Department for Education. Wow! So many people and so many old friends to greet. Standout number 1 for me was being mere feet away from Zack Polanski, deputy leader of the Green Party. I’d heard him speak before, and here he was again, speaking truth to power with the strength and clarity we have come to expect from him. A worthy successor to Caroline Lucas? I think so. Then on to my standout number 2. Whitehall with the biggest contingent of red rebels I’d ever seen, followed with equal dignity, by the – reds-plus-high viz- ‘no more airport expansion’ group – and then the XR choirs, singing their hearts out on their way down from their rehearsal point in Trafalgar Square. So moving…I felt so proud and so glad to be there.”

Caroline Roaf
Zack Polanski, deputy leader of the Green Party, outside the DfE
“Discobedience” – dancing in protest! Photos: Suzanne Williams

“I’ve never been on any kind of protest before this, and wasn’t really sure what to expect. Initially I felt somewhat underwhelmed. We were there by 9.30 with not many others around. As the day went on and we picketed DfE, and went to 55 Tufton St more people were around…a sense of something bigger/more was developing. The highlight was discobedience and people’s passion.”

Pen Thompson

Article: Jessica Upton and the Media & Messaging team