The conversation isn’t where we thought it was
XR-UK has released its 2022 strategy As the World Looks Up We Step Up expanding on its 2019 list of demands. Prashant and Peter from Green House Think Tank core group briefly reflect on it's significance.
XR-UK has released its 2022 strategy As the World Looks Up We Step Up expanding on its 2019 list of demands. The demands comprise: the unabashed speaking truth to power, immediate action to reduce greenhouse gases to net zero by 2025 and consensus shifting mobilisation - estimated to be 3.5% of the population participating in civil resistance.
The new strategy's objectives reiterate the previous demands and expands on them setting out principles about how XR should converse with the public, mobilise and grow its membership and how it should interact with the many sister movements, like the campaign against HS2, that have been inspired by its success. The document opens with the inadequacy of trumpeted successes, like COP26, to avert environmental crisis. It proclaims that:
"If it was not obvious before, COP26 confirmed it. 1.5 degrees is dead."
agreeing with Green House Think Tank's Facing up to the Climate Reality that humanity has missed the opportunity the 2015 Paris agreement outline for limiting climate impacts. The Strategy squarely diagnoses today’s democratic process as being incapable of imagining or implementing the profound change needed.
In many ways the movement has enjoyed great successes despite the Covid outbreak. Activists have bravely disrupted motorway traffic and aviation, emboldened governments, companies and financial institutions to declare net-zero targets in Glasgow. These are not trivial accomplishments given the campaign's main tool is shaming others into recognising their complicity in environmental catastrophe. Though a demand for net zero by 2025 is further from being attained now than it was was three years ago, no serious policy maker argues the demand is without merit. By demanding the impossible, XR has legitimised much tighter targets than would have been otherwise sought.
Whether Extinction Rebellion theory of change proves successful and sufficient remains to be seen, but few would describe is as an easy or comfortable for those that participate. The strategy is an uncomfortable read for those which have already acknowledge that they have a role to play in climate action. It is difficult for many to embrace the civil disobedience involved in direct confrontation with the state and fossil fuels industry. Yet if the strategy's diagnoses of the inadequacy of more of the same stands (which it seems to), there is a lack of coherent alternative plans on the public table.
The 2022 UK Extinction Rebellion Strategy states:
We will not be bystanders.
There is a 'Rebellion' on 9th April at 10.00 in London’s Hyde Park and we are all encouraged to mobilise.