The Big One: The climate protest for everyone (yes, everyone!)
Friday 21 April – Monday 24 April, Houses of Parliament
As we’ve reported in previous issues, April sees what could be the UK’s biggest climate protest around Parliament to demand an end to the fossil fuel era. This inclusive, non-disruptive action invites all of us to get involved and spread the word, says Mark Engineer of XR Lewes.
As I write this, on the evening of Sunday 26th Feb, we’re less than two months from April 21st, and the start of “The Big One” – set to be the biggest climate protest the UK has ever seen.
If you’re reading this, chances are you won’t be asking “But why are you doing it?” Chances are you know that we’re rapidly running out of time. That we’re seeing climate disasters already, and these are the result of decades of inaction. That our leaders know this, and still they do nothing.
You’re likely terrified of what the future holds for you, your families, your friends. For humanity, and all we share the planet with. You know that things have to change. Fast.
We need 100,000 people to gather together from 21st – 24th April at the Houses of Parliament. Momentum is building. It can be done! But we need help to make it happen.
It’s pretty straightforward. We just need lots and lots of people to come. Not just activists, campaigners, eco warriors or whatever you want to call them. It has to be all sorts of people, from all sorts of walks of life. This action has been designed for them. It’s been designed for you.
So what can you do to help? Well, there’s lots!
- Commit right now to going along in April. On all four days if you can, but if you can’t, on as many days as you are able. Even if it’s just for one day, you will be doing something invaluable.
- Spread the word within any groups you belong to. They don’t have to be environmental organisations. In fact, if they aren’t, so much the better! They could be a reading club or a church group, a football or cricket team, a chess club or birdwatching group, a political party, a union, rotary club, angling association – anything at all. This action is for everyone and for anyone. (If you’d like to arrange someone to come along and give a talk to your group, let me know – contact details are at the bottom of this piece.)
- Talk to people about it every day – friends, family, colleagues, parents at the school gates, folk you chat to in the street or the local shop or the pub. And remember to ask them to talk to other people about it!
- Help drum up support via phone. Extinction Rebellion has a vast database of supporters. If you could spare any time at all – it doesn’t matter how much or how little – to call up some of those people and ask them to come along, that would be really valuable. (Don’t worry – you’d be trained first!)
- Get active on social media! Help spread the word on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Insta, via email, and any other way you can think of. (Again, don’t worry if you’re not sure how to go about it or what to say – we can provide you with training and content.)
Or you might have other, better ideas. Feel free to put them into practice! Or if you’d prefer to talk to us about them first, let us know via the contact details at the bottom of this piece.
You might ask “Why are you doing it this way? ”
And that would be a great question. Recent polls show that about two-thirds of us support non-violent direct action to protect the environment. But most people feel uncomfortable about directly targeting the public with disruption, and many are hesitant about taking part in civil disobedience because they don’t identify as an ‘activist’. This is for those people. It’s for you. It’s for anyone and everyone! A single, huge, compassionate piece of civil resistance against this greatest failure of responsible leadership.
This isn’t about identity. It’s about caring. And we all care – about our families, futures, homes; about other people; about nature, and about the most basic of all rights: to life. This care, this most human of things that’s in all of us, is being denied by those people who are meant to be responsible for our collective safety. April 2023 is our answer to them.
You might also ask “What do you hope to achieve?”
And that, again, would be an excellent question. 100,000 people outside the Houses of Parliament, day after day, will force the government to respond and force the media to report not on a fringe group of radicals, but a mass movement of citizens from across society.
Our demands are simple:
- That the government stop all licences for new fossil fuel projects, stop subsidising these projects and stop giving tax relief to fossil fuel companies. This has been called for by the UN, the International Energy Agency and the World Bank, among others. It is obviously necessary and will open a national conversation about how we transition away from fossil fuels in a fair and sustainable way.
- That the transition away from fossil fuels and to a fairer and more sustainable economy must be decided by citizens’ assemblies, not by the politicians who have got us into this mess.
If you want to get involved, or would like to know more, call me on 07715 303354 or email firstname.lastname@example.org