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Our House is on Fire
This is an emergency. The Amazon is burning, the Arctic is melting, island nations are disappearing and humans are being driven from their homes due to extreme heat and weather. The burning of fossil fuels has heated our climate beyond any temperature that has been experienced throughout the entirety of human civilisation and now, human civilisation and survival are in peril.
Human activity has taken our planet away from the stability of the Holocene, an era in which we have survived and thrived for the past 11,600 years, back to the very beginnings of settled human agriculture. We have now pushed our planet and our climate into a new era which we do not fully understand, the era of the Anthropocene. The climate emergency is also an ecological one, with mass deforestation, overfishing and other exploitative behaviours posing direct threats to the ecosystems which we rely on to survive. We are currently in the sixth mass extinction event, following the fifth which wiped out the dinosaurs. The U.K is likely to have lost more than 75% of its flying insects and pollinators since the mid-1970s, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world's oceans than fish.
Our lives have been marked by images of icebergs melting and warnings from the scientific community. Many of us assumed that our experts and politicians were in control of what's been happening, that things would get worse but then they would get better. Unfortunately, they are failing and we are running out of time. We have already heated the planet by 1.1°C above pre-Industrial Revolution levels, and if we use up our remaining carbon budget over the next few years, we will likely surpass a safer 1.5°C to 2.0°C and beyond. Global tipping points in the Earth's climate mean that once we pass a certain threshold, predicted by some scientists to be at 2.0°C or possibly less, we will lose control and trigger runaway climate change. At this point, it will be too late to stop climate change, only slow it down. Many have predicted that adaptation to a 4.0°C world may be impossible.
As students, our lives will be shaped by the climate emergency. Weather will grow more extreme, people will be forced out of their homes, food, water, and other natural resources will grow more scarce, and instability and conflict will follow, as they have done in the past. It is easy to feel hopeless, and we are convinced in every way that we are powerless, but by coming together, by educating ourselves on the emergency, and by waking others up to the crisis we face, we can convince our governments to take the necessary action to protect us from this emergency.
This crisis has been caused by institutional and societal failings, so individual behaviours, keep cups and different coloured bins are not enough to confront the scale of what we face. Our governments have broken the social contract to keep us safe so it is our right to safeguard our own futures and our responsibility to defend the lives of those on the front lines of the emergency. Extinction Rebellion emerged to help shape this new future, a decentralised global movement with non-violent civil disobedience at the heart of what we do. We are apolitical and do not blame individuals for the crisis.
Currently we have three demands:
1) Tell the Truth: Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
2) Act Now: Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
3) Beyond Politics: Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens' Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
All our members are equal and take on responsibilities based on what they can manage. We communicate with other XR groups such as Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh and Extinction Rebellion UK, but we act independently. If you support our demands and values and would like to gain the knowledge and confidence to support the climate and ecological movement, learn about non-violent disobedience, and help us achieve our goals, you are already a member of Extinction Rebellion. Love and rage!
Communications and events are through our Facebook: