Red alert: How Extinction Rebellion woke the world up to the climate crisis

In October, the journalist and activist George Monbiot introduced Extinction Rebellion to the British press as a homegrown movement  “devoted to disruptive, non-violent disobedience in protest against ecological collapse”. The hope was to turn a national uprising into an international one by March. 

In fewer than 12 months, Extinction Rebellion has become the fastest-growing environmental organization in the world. There are now an estimated 485 Extinction Rebellion affiliates across the globe and, over the next fortnight, they are promising to shut down 60 cities, including London, New York, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Cape Town, and Mumbai. Government buildings, airports, and financial districts will all be targeted with protests aiming for maximum disruption to provoke urgent political action. These are steps that go far beyond what people tend to associate with environmentalism—such as recycling or going vegan—and they have proven effective before. 

Earlier this year, Extinction Rebellion’s protests in London motivated the government to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and put climate action at the forefront of policymaking. Whether or not you agree with the civil disobedience tactics of the Extinction Rebellion, there’s no denying the group instilled a sense of urgency around the globe when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. And with a new wave of protests scheduled this week, don’t expect the movement to slow down any time soon. 

This story was one of the best from 2019, and we are happy to include it in our “12 Days of Optimism” as we get ready to welcome 2020!

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