Over the last few months, a new wave of climate change activism has launched around the world. The Extinction Rebellion movement now exists in over 35 countries and is gearing up to a membership of 2 million. Its incredibly fast growth is becoming a sign that Governments can no longer ignore….the people want greater action on climate change.
In Bath, Extinction Rebellion launched in November, and the group have got off to a flying start. With a number of events and campaign actions already under their belt, Ecojam Bath manager, Bex, was keen to find out how the group is developing and what they have lined up for 2019.
1. For any of our Ecojammers not yet familiar with Extinction Rebellion (XR), can you tell us a bit more about the movement?
Extinction Rebellion is a rapidly growing citizens’ movement, demanding radical action on climate change. Our aim is to put the government under pressure, to tell the truth about the climate emergency and to make the far-reaching changes that are needed to stop runaway climate change and preserve an inhabitable earth for future generations.
The movement was launched with a declaration of rebellion outside parliament on 31st October, with support from George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas and Greta Thunberg – Greta is a 16-year-old Swedish girl who has inspired international school strikes for climate action (her argument is - if my government doesn’t care about my future, then why should I?).
2. What is different about XR compared with other climate change activist groups/movements?
Our scale and our tactics. We aim to build massive public support, across the UK and internationally, for the changes that are needed. We will carry out multiple, sustained campaigns of civil disobedience and non-violent direct action to get the message across to our governments.
3. Extinction Rebellion Bath launched in November, how is your group developing?
Since launching at the end of last year, our numbers are rising steadily, with 20+ coming to our weekly meetings and many more who come to support our actions in town. We are looking to grow and welcome people who feel they want to do something about the climate crisis in whatever capacity they feel able to: we have places for creative souls, well-being folk, social media experts and of course those who want to take non-violent direct action on the streets!
4. What has been your experience of setting up XR in Bath?
We have been amazed at how quickly the local group has grown. There are so many people in Bath who have been worrying about climate change for years, and who read the chilling 2018 IPCC report and felt helpless. So it’s good to come together to support XR in different ways and take action on this issue that is so close to our hearts.
We’re finding that there’s lot of interest and support from the community, particularly from parents’ groups. A number of BANES councillors and our MP, Wera Hobhouse, have told us they understand the immense importance and urgency of this issue.
5. Extinction Rebellion brought climate change action to centre stage in 2018. What do you have lined up for 2019 in Bath?
A proposal on the climate emergency will be submitted by the Lib Dems and the Green Party to the BANES council on 14th March. They will ask the council to declare a climate emergency and reduce emissions across the city to zero by 2030. We’ll be involved in a number of actions to support this. We’ve also got public talks lined up, and will take part in the Extinction Rebellion National Week of Action in April.
Our goal is to make waves for the rest of the year – so expect to see a lot of us!
6. What advice would you give to someone curious about getting involved with XR?
We welcome new members! We need people with lots of different skills, and there are many ways different ways to support us.
Meet ups - we hold weekly meetings at The Ram (Widcombe) on Tuesdays at 8pm.
Contact us: BathXR@protonmail.com