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Extinction Rebellion and "Free Press"

This year has seen a rise in social unrest resulting in public demonstrations such as protests.

From BLM to Free Palestine, there has been a surging momentum with the public speaking up and

in some cases, "rebelling" against government mandates.

With Australia burning at the start of the year, to America's surge of wildfires, the Extinction

Rebellion have made headlines with their unique demonstrations. The most recent being their

blockade that resulted in the delayed publications of papers like The Sun.

Who are the Extinction Rebellion?

Founded by both Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook, the Extinction Rebellion group (XR) is a global movement that aims to pressure governments - internationally - to acknowledge the

climate crisis that the world currently faces through "nonviolent civil disobedience" (Wikipedia).

Having been founded in the UK with very specific aims, their main objective is "ecological

justice". They demand transparency from the government through a declaration of a "climate

and ecological emergency". They want active governmental participation on the reduction

of greenhouse gas emissions with a conservation of biodiversity. Additionally, they would

appreciate for a "Citizens' Assembly" on climate to be organised by the government that will

liaise with government officials about climate change and environmental issues.

As their vision and aims grew popular, the movement then took base in the US. Shortly after the

new found US group added an additional aim that was more personal to their circumstances of

the US:

"We demand a just transition that prioritises the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of colour and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a liveable,just planet for all." (XR US)

XR in 2020:

It has been two years since the creation of the extinction rebellion group so why are they

becoming more noticed and publicly penalised?


In 2010, following the last Labour government, the High Speed 2 railway plans were "disclosed"

to the public. Ten years later, and most certainly behind schedule, the construction for this new

and improved train-line began. But, at what costs?

According to XR sources, the HS2 project is committing what they deem to be an "ecocide" as the project would lead to the assured destruction of "108 ancient woodlands" and "wildlife habitats" (XR Cambridge).

"Hs2 are committing wildlife crimes on a daily basis. They are destroying thousands of species,many of which are protected, such as bats and badgers. They are ignoring the laws put in place to protect nature" (XR Cambridge)

From what I can remember from GCSE Biology, Biodiversity is essential to the maintenance of any

ecosystem. Also, as I can recall, don't we humans depend on the prosperity of the ecosystems

that surround us? Aren't we dependent on nature as she is in turn dependent on us?

If so, why are we destroying natural habitats that are homes for animals and non-human species?

If this is not startling enough, apparently, the HS2 project will "cost approximately £106 billion",

specifically that of taxpayers' money. This is money that could be reinvested into the current

transport services to help make it more affordable for all and improve its services. It could even

help put a stop to the suggested " Zapping of the Zip" oyster for under 18s (You can read my

article about that here)

XR's recent Protests in the UK:

The most memorable demonstration by the XR was that of the blockades that targeted " right

wing think tanks" (Guardian).

On the 5th of September, XR used " trucks and scaffolds to block roads outside of printing

presses" (Guardian). As expected, this caused a massive disruption to the production and

distribution of national newspapers such as the Sun and the Telegraph.

The Prime Minister then, boldly, accused the XR of limiting "the public's access to the news". Kier

Starmer also added:

"The free press is the cornerstone of democracy and we must do all we can to protect it. Denying people the chance to read what they choose is wrong and does nothing to tackle climate change.”

Oh the irony of the British government.

Here they are accusing the Extinction Rebellion of impeding on the public's right to "free press"

when they silence independent journalists such as Assanage by imprisoning him without any medical care despite the pandemic!

But I digress.

Given everything that 2020 has been, is it too far-fetched to want to preserve our

woodlands? Many woodlands across the globe are being wiped out, endangering many animals and displacing many indigenous peoples all in the name of industry and business.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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