This is Not a Drill

Isabella Wright '19, Student Life Section Editor

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Climate Change. Two words that too many of us have become desensitized to. Bombarded with statistics and frightening images, many of us choose to close our laptops, turn off the television, and refuse to acknowledge our reality. However, soon we will not be able to shut it out, to close our eyes to what is happening all around. 75% of the ice in the Arctic has melted in the past 30 years, and in the next 5 years, that number will reach 100% if no action is taken. Along with the rising sea levels, there exist large amounts of methane gas beneath the Arctic. If released, there could be enormous and deadly consequences to all forms of life. As Rupert Read, an academic and activist explained, “This [mass release of methane] will simply extinguish human civilization.”

Additionally, rising temperatures mean harvest failure and the inability to grow grains and corn at the mass scale we are growing them now. This can very easily lead to starvation and possibly the collapse of civilization as we know it. Many parts of our civilization rely on food supply, including education, healthcare, and financial systems. Without a stable food supply, civilization will cease to exist. Along with these other developments, the continued and increasing amounts of carbon emissions will only lead to ocean acidification, deforestation, and air, soil, and water pollution. These facts must not scare us, but inspire us to take action, to change our future, and the disastrous and deadly path we are currently headed down.

Courtesy of Extinction Rebellion

One such group is fighting against this impending climate disaster: Extinction Rebellion. The Extinction Rebellion’s focus is on nonviolent direct protest in order to challenge the UK government’s lack of action with respect to climate change. The aim is to nonviolently disrupt everyday life in order to make a statement, in order to enact change, even if that means getting arrested. As explained by Merry, an extinction rebellion coordinator, the goal is to put pressure on the government in order for progress to happen. Saving the climate is not in the interest of the government and of large companies, and so the people must demand action. Throughout the beginning of 2019, the Extinction Rebellion has organized small protests across the UK including roadblocks, letters that demand the government tell the truth about the future of the climate, and marches. One of the most prominent forms of protest they have used is sit-ins on bridges. They have occupied multiple bridges across the country, including Westminster Bridge, with thousands of people sitting down and blocking traffic. On each of these occasions, nearly 40 to 50 people have been arrested. These are not extremist activists, but normal people. Teachers, parents, businessman: people who realize that if we do not act now, there will be no future.

Courtesy of Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion has also laid out a series of goals they hope to accomplish. Their main goal entails prompting governments around the world to commit to enacting policies that reduce carbon emission to a net value of zero by 2025. Additionally, they hope to enforce a global policy in which all governments work to only use one-half of the world’s possible resources each year. And, in fact, one such demand of the Extinction Rebellion has recently been met. The UK parliament, in April 2019, declared a climate and ecological emergency, the first country in the world to do so. The Extinction Rebellion movement has now expanded worldwide to over 37 countries. Each country has its own set of principles and goals it wishes to accomplish. One unique facet of the goals of the United States Extinction Rebellion is reparations for Black and Indigenous people for “years of environmental injustice” (Extinction Rebellion).

Courtesy of Extinction Rebellion

The Extinction Rebellion’s efforts in the UK are not only a victory for all climate activists around the world but a victory for peaceful protest and action. They are the stepping stone in the fight for our future. The detrimental effects of climate change can and must be stopped if we act now. If we work together as a global community, compromise, and collaborate, then change will come. Learn more about the Extinction Rebellion movement here:

Courtesy of Extinction Rebellion

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