Extinction Rebellion – ‘let’s make the impossible possible’ 

Extinction Rebellion is returning for two weeks of action starting in late August. Mark Engineer of XR Lewes explains why action is so critical now and invites everyone to participate however they can. 

Extinction Rebellion will be back for two weeks of concerted actions in London and across the UK, starting on 27 August 2021. The new actions will be an attempt, in XR’s own words, to “make the impossible possible.”

You might think – well, why? The UK Parliament, hundreds of local councils and loads of businesses have declared a climate emergency. The UK Government has committed to net zero by 2050. They’ve committed to slashing carbon emissions by nearly 80% by 2035, and passed it into law.  

Hasn’t XR won the debate? Isn’t all the right stuff happening? Why is there still a need to rebel? 

Well, many of us would argue that net zero by 2050 isn’t soon enough. But under current strategy, even 2050 looks unlikely. The Climate Change Committee – the Government’s own advisers – say so.

There’s no doubt the conversation has changed. The climate emergency is now very much in the mainstream, and much of this is down to the efforts of groups like XR, School Strike 4 Climate, the Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Transition Towns and many, many other great organisations bringing pressure to bear locally, nationally, and internationally. But talk doesn’t bring down climate emissions.

While new targets are welcome, they won’t be achieved without a clear, robust and ambitious plan. And at the moment, there isn’t one. The Government lectures us on not rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, freezing bread, and not using plastic shower gel bottles. Meanwhile, it refuses to rule out new oil exploration in the North Sea. It’s set to push back its own ban on new gas boilers by five years because – guess what – it’ll be “too expensive.” What price the earth?

These are just two of many examples. Even if the government is serious – and we must all pray that it is – it’s operating in a system that encourages short-term thinking and is hugely influenced by powerful vested interest. It’s a system that too often leads to fudge, compromise, and failure. And failure is too terrifying to contemplate.

This autumn sees the UK host the global climate summit COP26 – what’s been called “the most important summit in history”, and “the last best hope.” Few reading this are likely to disagree that unprecedented, concerted global effort is required. Those with power must be pressurised, and held to account.


That is why we must still rebel. 

So, get rebelling! It’s not all about sitting in the street (although we do still need people to do that if you’re up for it.) Go to London, or join an action near you. Or organise an action of your own. Or hold a meeting. Or hand out some flyers. Or make some phone calls. Or donate some money. There are dozens – hundreds – of ways to join the rebellion. And right now the world needs every one of them.

XR Lewes will be holding its “Heading For Extinction (And What To Do About It)” talk at the Royal Oak in Lewes on the evening of August 20th. If you’d like to go (entry is free), please email xrlewes@gmail.com to confirm. There are also online talks planned – dates to be confirmed. These and other events will be posted on www.xrlewes.org

More information about the rebellion is available at www.extinctionrebellion.uk


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