This Is Not a Drill, page 1
Declaration of Rebellion – Extinction Rebellion
Foreword – Vandana Shiva
Introduction: The Story So Far – Sam Knights
PART ONE: TELL THE TRUTH
1/ Die, Survive or Thrive? – Farhana Yamin
2/ Scientists’ Warnings Have Been Ignored – Professor William J. Ripple and Nicholas R. Houtman
3/ We are Not Prepared to Die – Mohamed Nasheed
4/ The Heat is Melting the Mountains – Kamla Joshi and Bhuvan Chand Joshi
5/ Fighting the Wrong War – JS Rafaeli with Neil Woods
6/ There’s Fear Now – Firefighter, California
7/ Indigenous Peoples and the Fight for Survival – Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim
8/ Survival of the Richest – Douglas Rushkoff
9/ Climate Sorrow – Susie Orbach
10/ The Climate Emergency and the End of Diversity – Matthew Todd
11/ Doom and Bloom: Adapting to Collapse – Jem Bendell
12/ Negotiating Surrender – Dougald Hine
PART TWO: ACT NOW
13/ Courting Arrest – Jay Griffiths
14/ The Civil Resistance Model – Roger Hallam
15/ Movement Building – Professor Danny Burns and Cordula Reimann
16/ Building an Action – Tiana Jacout, Robin Boardman and Liam Geary Baulch
17/ Feeding the Rebellion – Momo Haque
18/ Cultural Roadblocks – James and Ruby
19/ Arts Factory – Miles Glyn and Clare Farrell
20/ One by One: A Media Strategy – Ronan McNern
21/ Going to Jail – Cathy Eastburn
22/ Police, Arrest and Support – Legal Team
23/ Reinforcements and Midnight Snacks – William Skeaping
24/ A Political View – Caroline Lucas MP
25/ A New Economics – Kate Raworth
26/ A Green New Deal – Clive Lewis MP
27/ The Zero-carbon City – Paul Chatterton
28/ What If … We Reduced Carbon Emissions to Zero by 2025? – Hazel Healy
29/ The Time is Now – Carne Ross
Afterword – Rowan Williams
What is Your Place in These Times? – Gail Bradbrook
The Social Contract – Adam Wagner
About the Author
Extinction Rebellion are a new force taking realistic action at a critical time for our species and for life on this planet. We are prepared to put our liberty and our lives on the line. We are prepared to speak the truth and demand real political change. We are the only rational voice in a world designed to ignore us. We demand to be heard.
— Mike Barrett, WWF
We hold the following to be true:
This is our darkest hour.
Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history, one which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this nation, its peoples, our ecosystems and the future of generations to come.
The science is clear: we are in the sixth mass extinction event and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly.
Biodiversity is being annihilated around the world. Our seas are poisoned, acidic and rising. Flooding and desertification will render vast tracts of land uninhabitable and lead to mass migration.
Our air is so toxic the United Kingdom is breaking the law. It harms the unborn while causing tens of thousands to die. The breakdown of our climate has begun. There will be more wildfires, unpredictable super-storms, increasing famine and untold drought as food supplies and fresh water disappear.
The ecological crises that are impacting upon this nation – and on this planet and its wildlife – can no longer be ignored, denied or go unanswered by any beings of sound rational mind, ethical conscience, moral concern or spiritual belief.
In accordance with these values, the virtues of truth and the weight of scientific evidence, we declare it our duty to act on behalf of the security and well-being of our children, our communities and the future of the planet itself.
We, in alignment with our consciences and our reasoning, declare ourselves in rebellion against our government and the corrupted, inept institutions that threaten our future.
The wilful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and cast aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profit.
When government and the law fail to provide any assurance of adequate protection of and security for its people’s well-being and the nation’s future, it becomes the right of citizens to seek redress in order to restore dutiful democracy and to secure the solutions needed to avert catastrophe and protect the future. It becomes not only our right but our sacred duty to rebel.
We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void; the government has rendered them invalid by its continuing failure to act appropriately. We call upon every principled and peaceful citizen to rise with us.
We demand to be heard, to apply informed solutions to these ecological crises and to create a national assembly by which to initiate those solutions needed to change our present cataclysmic course.
We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations by failing to act now.
We act in peace, with ferocious love of these lands in our hearts.
We act on behalf of life.
The signs are loud and clear. From the Earth. From science. From women. From children. From indigenous communities. From our daily lives.
The life on this planet, and our own future, is under severe threat.
We are living through the sixth mass extinction, driven by the limitless greed of the 1 per cent, their blindness to the ecological limits the Earth sets and the limits set by social justice and human rights. We forget that we are one humanity on one planet. There is no planet B. This is where we will live, or go extinct as a species, with the millions that have been driven to extinction by the violence and carelessness of the brute force misleadingly called the economy.
‘Economy’, like ‘ecology’, is derived from oikos – our home, the Earth. An economy that destroys our home is no longer an economy. It is a war against the planet, the people and our future.
The Hopi people of North America describe the phenomenon of destroying everything that sustains a society as Powaqqatsi – ‘an entity, a way of life, that consumes the life forces of beings in order to further its own life’.
The Powaqqatsi phenomenon of the Hopi is clearly in evidence today. We are dealing with a destructive force that is taking out life forces wherever it can. If the corporations have their way, our fragile web of life will be poisoned and broken, species will be driven to extinction, people will lose all their freedoms to their seed, to their food, to their knowledge and decisions, and all social relations will be ruptured and broken.
Life, society and democracy are under threat. We refuse to allow this future to unfold. We love the Earth; we embrace humanity. We celebrate our biological and cultural diversity and we will defend the rights of the Earth, and the rights of all its citizens, including the last child, with our fearless love and compassionate courage.
To make peace among people we need to make peace with the Earth. To defend the human rights of people we need to recognize the rights of Mother Earth. We need to live through our creativity and her generosity to reduce our ecological footprint while expanding our planetary consciousness of being an Earth family, with one common home.
The extermination of biological diversity and of indigenous cultures that know how t
In his fifth annual message to Congress on 3 December 1833, US President Andrew Jackson said:
That those tribes cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear.
And the tribes did disappear. In 1492 the estimated population of indigenous people in the continent north of Mesoamerica was 18 million. By 1890 the Native American population had dropped to 228,000.
Gandhi wrote in his book on freedom, Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule, ‘This [attacking] civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed.’ However, in the process of this civilization’s self-destruction, it is destroying the planet and our lives. It is destroying our future.
Therefore, it is a moral imperative to rebel against a system that is driving extinction, exterminating species and cultures. To not cooperate has become a moral imperative – a survival imperative. The non-cooperation must begin with the refusal to accept that a system based on ecocide and genocide qualifies to be a ‘civilization’. There are better ways to live, to produce and to consume. Extinction Rebellion begins with the liberation of our minds from colonizing categories. We are diverse but equal – not ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’. The extermination of life in its diversity cannot be justified by declaring other species and other cultures ‘inferior creatures of God’.
The Earth is for all beings, today and tomorrow.
I call Extinction Rebellion ‘Satyagraha for Life’. Satyagraha, for Gandhi, was non-cooperation based on the force of truth.
Today’s struggle for truth is that extinction and extermination are not inevitable. They are crimes against the Earth and against humanity. And we can stop this crime by refusing to participate in and cooperate with this project of ecocide and genocide.
Together, as diverse species and diverse cultures, we have the creative power to stop extinction through non-cooperation at every level, beginning with each of us, expanding the rebellion into ‘ever-widening, never-ascending circles’ of interconnected life and freedom.
This is the call of Earth Democracy. This is our highest duty as Earth citizens.
INTRODUCTION: THE STORY SO FAR
This book is about a rebellion. A rebellion that is happening now.
Although perhaps, by the time these words are published, the rebellion will be over. Perhaps the rebellion will have died, suddenly or without warning. Perhaps it will have simply vanished, consigned to a long history of failed revolutions and fruitless campaigns. Perhaps it will have been successful. Perhaps you will now all be deep in the process of constructing a new kind of world. A world in which all human beings are created equal, and no person, or party, or corporation sits in dominion over their fellow human beings or – indeed – the Earth.
It is impossible to overestimate the significance of where we are now. The journey here has been long and arduous. It has been fought for by thousands of scientists, academics and activists all across the world. It has been hard, and punishing, and sometimes very lonely.
Extinction Rebellion began in a small English town. It began with fifteen people who had studied and researched the way to achieve radical social change.
Together, these fifteen people decided to embark upon a long campaign of civil disobedience, a campaign that would transform the way in which we talk about the climate and ecological emergency and force governments all over the world to act. We started touring the country, visiting communities, villages, towns and cities. We gave talks, took action, and slowly began to build a movement. The talks we gave were clear, straightforward and led by science. We walked people through the facts and then, at the end of the presentation, provided a necessary and rational response: mass civil disobedience.
So, on 31 October 2018, we declared ourselves to be in open rebellion against the UK government. Since then, in such a short space of time, hundreds of Extinction Rebellion groups have been established in countries across the globe. The movement is now active in every single continent except Antarctica. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to block roads, shut down bridges and – if need be – to get arrested.
In April 2019 we began our first phase of International Rebellion. In Pakistan, we marched through the capital. In the US, we glued ourselves to a bank. In the Netherlands, we occupied The Hague. In Austria, we blocked roads. In Chile, we lay down in the middle of a street. In Ghana, we blew whistles to sound the climate alarm.
In the UK, meanwhile, we shut down five iconic locations in central London: Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square. We stayed there for ten days, delivering a rolling programme of speeches, discussions and public assemblies. We closed down fossil-fuel companies, blocked the roads around the Treasury and glued ourselves to the London Stock Exchange. We attempted to cause as much economic disruption as we possibly could.
By the end of the fortnight over a thousand people had been arrested.
The protests had cost the city tens of millions of pounds and completely confounded an already stretched police force. We were quickly invited to meet senior politicians from all the major parties, including the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs in the very heart of government. The next day, the UK became the first country to declare a state of climate and ecological emergency.
We have already seen a huge shift in public opinion. More and more people are joining this movement as they realize that the climate crisis – and the associated crises of capitalism and colonialism that caused it – will not be solved by gradual reform and rotten compromise. This is a crisis that requires radical system change on a scale never seen before.
Extinction Rebellion is a decentralized mass movement of concerned citizens. It is open to anyone who takes action in a non-violent way, actively mitigating for power and standing by the action that we have taken. We work to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable and connected; where creativity is prioritized and where the diversity of our gifts is recognized, celebrated and encouraged to flourish.
We believe that government has failed to understand the severity of this crisis. We believe that we must now take radical action to reduce the very worst effects of climate breakdown and, in doing so, reform and extend our broken democracy. We therefore have three key demands:
1/ the government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change
2/ the government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2025
3/ The government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice
These demands have been adapted by different international groups in accordance with our decentralized system of governance. The tactics we use in the United Kingdom or the United States are not always effective or safe in other countries, especially those under repressive regimes or dictatorships.
The majority world needs no lectures from us. They have been on the front line of this struggle for centuries and we do not presume to tell them how to stage a rebellion. We act in solidarity with them and their struggle, and we bow to their experience and their wisdom. After all, this is a movement led by indigenous communities and those in the
We acknowledge that Extinction Rebellion is just one articulation of a feeling that is being felt all across the world. We see ourselves as one branch of a much wider, stronger, wiser movement.
The future will not look like the present. We know that for certain. The rebellion will not happen under any one banner or any one slogan. The future is going to be humble. Because, if this is going to work, then we will all have to work together. After all, we are facing an unprecedented global emergency and our governments have completely failed to protect us. To survive, it’s going to take everything we’ve got. And everyone we know.
The challenge we now face is extremely daunting. Because the problem, unfortunately, is not just the climate. The problem is ecology. The problem is the environment. The problem is biodiversity. The problem is capitalism. The problem is colonialism. The problem is power. The problem is inequality. The problem is greed, and corruption, and money, and this tired, broken system.
The problem is our complete and utter failure to imagine any meaningful alternative.
Perhaps this book will go some way to changing that. We need to rewild the world. That much is obvious. But first we need to rewild the imagination. We must all learn how to dream again, and we have to learn that together. To break down the old ways of thinking and to move beyond our current conception of what is and what is not possible.
This book is supposed to be a handbook. A book that you will keep by you, that will help you, inform you, empower you to act. A book that will compel you to join the rebellion in whatever way that means to you.
The first section of the book is about telling the truth; it will spell out the severity of the situation and describe, in painstaking detail, the effects of climate breakdown. It will tell you the facts and it will not hold back. It presents dispatches from the front lines of climate change and attempts to diagnose decades of denial. It considers the psychological damage of the climate crisis and the role of love, grief and courage in finding a way out of the wreckage. The second section is about action; it will give you practical instructions for what to do now and how to react. It will give you the tools to be an activist and gesture towards what happens next.