Extinction Rebellion, the marmite of climate activism

Extinction Rebellion (XR) have taken to the streets of central London over the last 12 days with a big pink table to protest and raise awareness about the urgency of the climate crisis. Whether you love them or hate them, is there something we can learn about climate activism from the environmental protest group?

The Extinction Rebellion hasn’t always been everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to banging the drum about the climate crisis. Their last rebellion “International Rebellion” back in Spring 2019 was met with police arrests and criticism from the public after their two week protest caused disruption to the lives of many Londoners. Although for some their approaches may be deemed pretty “extreme” (a 15ft pink boat at Oxford Street may have something to do with that) their approach did spark a global movement that saw XR groups pop up both nationally and internationally. For the first time since the group was established in 2019, XR representatives were in conversation with politicians and ministers in the UK to bring climate change to the forefront of political conversations. 

Everyone’s invited to the table

It’s been over two years since the last rebellion and now they’re back for the #ImpossibleRebellion, they’ve swapped a boat for a table and switched up their approach to the movement. The aim this time around is to engage with the public to have conversations about the climate and ecological emergency upon us. Listening to the feedback from the last rebellion the group recognised that they needed to work more closely with other groups and “embody the power of the Citizen Assembly” by bringing people together to talk to each other.

What can we learn from XR’s #ImpossibleRebellion? 

We’re not saying you need a big pink table to make your statement about sustainability for the conversation to be had. The age-old rule that a business exists to maximise profits for owners or shareholders is outdated and dangerous. It’s time for change. Business for good needs to prosper, by reimagining our organisations’ purposes and priorities to pursue profit and business performance responsibly. 

This means defining what sustainability means to your business and embracing the environmentally sustainable practices that support this vision. These will soon become intrinsic to everyday business operations. How you decide to communicate this to your clients, supply chain and employees is an opportunity to drive positive change. 

Whether you’re looking at the IPCC, IEA, UN or XR there’s one strong consistent message – Global Decarbonisation. Two of our core aims at isla are 100% renewable energy and carbon reductions. In short, we need to turn off the tap on greenhouse gases (GHG) – overhauling our transportation systems, scrutinising our financial investments, switching our electricity and heating supply, and innovating industry and production.  

We’re all banging the same drum but are governments and corporations listening? What role do we have as communications, experience and marketing specialists in shaping the future?

Want to know more? 

Rebel Radio –  XR shares the political perspective of the issues the group is tackling during the course of the rebellion. 

#ImpossibleRebellion Timeline– 23rd August – 4th September 

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