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KEYNOTES   ACTIVISM

A CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT In an age of selfishness, the achievements of Extinction Rebellion prove we are still capable of taking collective action, writes Mothiur Rahman

Storm Deirdre was sweeping across the UK as members of my local Extinction Rebellion group in Cornwall unfurled banners to capture the attention of drivers coming on and off the ferry across the Tamar River. As we stood there being battered by wind and rain while cars, buses and lorries fed by fossil fuels rolled off the ferry, it was easy to wonder what difference we were actually making. Yet many of the people driving their vehicles honked their horns in support and we responded with waves and songs. Just over a month later, on 22 January this year, Cornwall Council passed a motion declaring a climate emergency and calling on central government to provide the powers and resources necessary to enable Cornwall to become a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. Similar motions are being declared up and down the UK by local councils at parish, town, district, metropolitan and county level.

Extinction Rebellion’s message – and the need driving it – is this: time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis of runaway climate breakdown, mass extinctions of species, and the unravelling of planetary systems that support all life. Extinction Rebellion is a movement for civil disobedience born out of recognition that existing political institutions, national and international, are incapable of generating the political will to meet the urgency of the time.

By generating political will organised through a culture of decentralisation and regeneration, Extinction Rebellion is bridging imaginative capacities from the ideas of European liberal humanism (with its story of the individual as hero against the forces of society pushing down on him/her) into a story sourced in recognising interconnectedness as a vital need not only for ecological resilience, but also for deepening human experience. Through this recognition that interconnection is

22 Resurgence & Ecologist

May/June 2019

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