In a statement released on Saturday, climate protest group Extinction Rebellion UK announced it will start focusing on building ‘relationships over roadblocks’.
Extinction Rebellion UK, a notorious climate protest group known for civil disobedience actions such as occupying roads and bridges in central London and blocking oil refineries, announced on Saturday that it would “temporarily” move away from disruptive tactics.
The movement, founded in late 2018, is well-known worldwide for its use of nonviolent civil disobedience to raise awareness about environmental issues such as biodiversity loss and ecological collapse. Emissions are still on to rise and the effects of global warming are becoming more and more apparent. The Met Office, Britain’s national weather service, released a report saying 2022 was the warmest year on record in the UK, while the National Trust said last year’s extreme weather conditions were devastating for wildlife and ecosystems.
With their actions, the group hoped to push governments to take action to avoid tipping points of climate change, critical thresholds in the climate system that are likely to be crossed this century due to human activity and that can lead to devastating and often irreversible changes.
In a statement entitled “We Quit” and posted on the group’s website on Saturday, Extinction Rebellion blamed the financial system, disinformation, and “reckless” governments for global warming and recognised that the best way to push for change is not public disruption but rather large public demonstrations. For this reason, the group explained it will now begin to “prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks.”
2022 was marked by several protests from environmental groups including the controversial Just Stop Oil museum protests in Manchester, Glasgow, and multiple London galleries. But polling suggests that public disobedience tactics and vandalism often lead to backlash rather than widespread public support.
“As we ring in the new year, we make a controversial resolution to temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic,” the statement reads. “What’s needed now most is to disrupt the abuse of power and imbalance, to bring about a transition to a fair society that works together to end the fossil fuel era. Our politicians, addicted to greed and bloated on profits won’t do it without pressure.”
Extinction Rebellion announced plans to surround the Houses of Parliament on April 21, hoping 100,000 people would attend the protest and would “leave the locks, glue and paint behind.”
Featured image: John Englart (Flickr)
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