Rebels protest outside the local government in Goma city, Democratic Republic of Congo, to try and stop the auction of protected lands for oil drilling.
In this issue: DRC Oil Auction | Maasai Evictions in Tanzania | Dernière Rénovation |
While the Global North struggles through an extreme summer of heatwaves, wildfires, and flash floods, people in the Global South are facing a fight for basic survival as their climates become less and less suitable for human habitation.
Yet in Action Highlights we see how even those countries most threatened by global heating are abandoning climate pledges in the name of economic growth. Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are scrambling to stop their government from auctioning off precious peatlands and nature reserves to oil companies.
The DRC government's plans stem from, at best, a desire to alleviate national poverty, at worst, personal greed. But just like most other Global South countries, the DRC is held down by an ever-deepening debt spiral owed to the Global North - rich nations who themselves have a history of broken climate pledges and financial corruption.
Trophy hunting and Safari tourism is fuelling the violent eviction of the Maasai from Tanzania.
In our last issue, we reported on the Debt for Climate campaign that shone a light on the financial injustice that underpins what's happening today in places like the DRC. Find out about the next Debt for Climate campaign in Upcoming Actions.
Our second story follows the indigenous Maasai people who are being evicted from their ancestral lands in the name of nature conservation. What is happening in Tanzania is an example of Fortress Conservation, and you can find out more about this grotesque and colonialist form of environmentalism, fueled by Safari tourism and greenwashing corporations, in Action Highlights.
Dernière Rénovation activists are brutally arrested by police after blocking the Tour De France cycling race.
Despite the summer getting tangibly hotter, most people in the Global North still have the luxury of ignoring the climate and ecological crisis - which is why eco-activists disturbing the peace in spectacular ways are so important.
The new group Dernière Rénovation (Last Renovation) have been causing a stir in their native France and beyond with daring disruptions of major sporting events, and you can find out more about them in our Splinter of the Month section.
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- Action Highlights: DRC Oil Auction, Maasai Evictions in Tanzania.
- Action Roundup: Wales, Spain, Netherlands, UK, Argentina.
- Newsletter XTRA: Belgium, Italy, Austria, Gambia, USA, Australia, Mexico…
- Splinter of the Month: Dernière Rénovation.
- Upcoming Actions: Debt For Climate 2, Stockholm Rebellion.
- Announcements: Join Global Support, XR Art.
- Must Reads: Feel the Heat, Solarpunk Showcase (11 & Under).
Keep Congo Fossil Free!
16 JULY - 3 AUG | DRC
Rebels march through Goma city to demand the oil drilling auction be cancelled.
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have mobilised to stop plans for new oil exploration in the country that risks destroying vital rainforests and peatlands.
There have been marches through city streets, an outreach campaign targeting indigenous communities in affected villages, and a global awareness campaign using social media.
The DRC government has opened up 27 oil blocks (vast portions of land) for auction, in the hope that international oil companies will buy the rights to explore and exploit them. But these blocks include the world’s largest region of peatland (making it one of the world’s most vital carbon sinks) as well as ancient rainforests and even parts of Virunga National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Rebels visit villagers in Ishasha to explain the harmful impacts of oil exploitation.
Rebels from XR Université de Goma and XR Rutshuru have been visiting indigenous communities living on or around Virunga’s earmarked lands to inform them about the government plans, create ‘watchdog’ groups, and help mobilise peaceful resistance.
The rebels believe that with enough community opposition, the government may be forced to change its plans. They are also using the meetings to discuss the racist legacy of colonial conservation, also known as Fortress Conservation, where state officials see indigenous people as problems to be (often violently) dealt with, rather than expert custodians of their own land.
Earlier the students of XR Université de Goma marched through the city to the regional government headquarters, telling the governorate of North Kivu province that the auction of oil blocks was suicidal and that the DRC should stick to the agreement it signed at COP26 to protect Conglolese rainforests.
XRUK launches a solidarity protest outside the Congolese Embassy in London.
As fossil fuel prices spike across the world, the DRC government says that revenue from the oil will help reduce poverty - saving the planet is not a priority. When the citizens of other oil-producing nations rarely see the spoils of such extraction, it is easy to remain cynical .
But equally, how can countries in the Global North who grew rich drinking Africa’s oil now demand that the DRC forgo its future reserves to protect everyone else? The answer is that the country needs debt cancellation, and global support for a just transition, not another round of resource colonialism - which is what rebels and Congolese protesters called for outside the Congolese Embassy in London.
A digital awareness campaign saw activists across the world use social media to protest the auction of Congo’s vast peatlands. Only the Amazon is a bigger carbon sink.
Fortress Conservation Threatens Maasai Extinction
JAN - AUG | Tanzania
Maasai form a blockade in Ngorongoro to protect the land on which their culture and livelihoods depend.
Since early 2022, the Maasai in northern Tanzania have intensified their fight against eviction from their ancestral lands in the Ngorongoro conservation area and Loliondo.
The government wants to use the lands to make a safari park and expand trophy hunting opportunities, and have subjected the Maasai communities to waves of violence, exclusion, and evictions. Over the past months, XR Youth Solidarity and other rebel groups have organised joint international solidarity actions with the Maasai.
In February, the Maasai organised a blockade at the entrance to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. At the same time, rebels in London and Edinburgh protested outside the Tanzanian High Commission and several travel agencies who fuel the tourism that is driving the Maasai evictions.
Rebels in Edinburgh (left) and London protest the Maasai evictions outside travel agencies that drive demand for tourism on Maasai land.
Conservation projects often involve the violent theft of land from indigenous and other local communities, most of whom have lived in harmony with that land for milenia. It is known as Fortress Conservation, or colonial conservation, and the Environmental Justice Atlas currently records 141 cases worldwide.
Fortress Conservation is accepted or even practised by many well known organisations, for example WWF, and is used by corporations to greenwash their extractivism. The Maasai and rebel groups have launched a boycott of companies that benefit from the practice and the tourism it fosters.
80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is on indigenous lands, and communities like the Massai want to lead our efforts to protect the planet and stop ecocide, not be displaced by them.
In July, a delegation of indigenous East African people travelled to a major conservation conference in Rwanda and demanded an end to Fortress Conservation, and the beginning of indigenous led conservation without Western intervention.
Find out more and sign up to the Maasai/XR Youth Solidarity boycott here.
A Maasai woman in Kenya - thousands have crossed into the country to avoid further harassment and detention by security forces in Tanzania.
9 JULY | Wales, UK The Cymru (Wales) Uprising began with a march through Cardiff and a visit to the Welsh senate. Rebels from XR Cymru also occupied Aberpergwm coal mine in South Wales, protesting against the Government's plans to expand it. Regional Summer Uprising actions happened across the UK.
17 JULY | Madrid, Spain XR Madrid and Fridays For Future stage a die-in in front of Guernica by Pablo Picasso to denounce the NATO summit hosted in the city and to push for peace. Signs: War is the death of people. War is the death of art.
17 JULY | The Netherlands Blue Rebels portray air pollution and rising sea levels in front of a Tata Steel factory. The company is one of the nation’s largest carbon polluters.
19 JULY | London, UK On the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, two rebels cracked two windows of the News UK building - part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire which has denied and lied about the climate crisis for decades. Two days earlier, six Doctors for XR were arrested for breaking windows at JP Morgan, the world’s biggest funder of fossil fuels. Photo (right): Denise Laura Baker
21 JUL | Buenos Aires, Argentina The first direct action of the Without Land There is Hunger campaign. On the opening day of the 134th International Livestock, Agriculture and Industry Exhibition, activists entered the arena to make their historic claim in support of the peasant movements that have been fighting for years for fair access to land. Photo: @tomifcuesta.
So many rebel actions happened this month we can’t fit them all into one newsletter. Head on over to Newsletter XTRA to find out about actions in Finland, USA, Australia & more. Newsletter XTRA: A feast for the eyes and extra fuel for the soul!
Splinter of the Month: Dernière Rénovation
An activist ties herself to the net during the French Open tennis tournament in Paris.
Dernière Rénovation (Last Renovation) knows how to make people sit up and pay attention. Over the past two months, this new French eco-group has blocked Paris’ ring road, as well as France’s oldest highway, but most prominently, it has disrupted major sporting events.
Millions of TV viewers watched a young activist tie herself to the net during the Men’s semi-final of the French Open tennis tournament. Millions more looked on as activists let off flares and blocked the route of the Tour de France cycling race on two occasions.
During these actions, the activists wear white t-shirts with black numbers. This is a count down which started on March 28th when the group began their civil resistance, and marks the three years still remaining to avert the worse effects of the climate crisis.
More arrests during another blockade of the Tour De France cycling race.
Dernière Rénovation is part of the A22 network, which includes Letzte Generation in Germany, Fireproof Australia and Just stop Oil in the UK. Their strategy relies on quick actions, often implemented after one or two meetings, guided by one simple demand.
Dernière Rénovation are demanding that the French government should immediately commit to comprehensive energy-efficient renovation of all buildings by 2040, with a financing system that covers the costs for the poorest home-owners.
This demand was a key measure proposed by the French Citizens' Convention on Climate, a government initiated citizens’ assembly whose recommendations have still (and likely never will) be implemented. By winning a single, feasible demand, activists hope they can spark further civil resistance, changing the world one demand at a time.
The well-aimed actions of Dernière Rénovation have triggered widespread national media coverage, as their website shows. The subsequent arrests and trials against those involved have made it harder for the government, and the French people, to ignore the climate crisis.
Debt For Climate: Global Call To Action!
14 OCT - 18 NOV | Worldwide
The Debt For Climate collective is coming back together to target financial colonialism!
A month of international actions will start during the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank (October 14 - 16) and continue through to COP27 (November 6 - 18).
Rebel For Life In Stockholm
17 AUG - 11 SEP | Stockholm, Sweden
Join us in central Stockholm for at least 5 days of disruptive, non-violent, civil disobedience.
After that, smaller coordinated actions might occur up until the national elections on 11 September if there is enough engagement.
Actions will centre around road blockades, which will end if the government agrees to immediately stop all fossil fuel subsidies. For our strategy to work, we need to be many. Our goal is for at least 500 to sign up.
XR Global Support: Join Us!
XR Global Support helps to launch and grow rebel groups around the world, offering training, resources, tech support, communications, and more.
But we also need rebels to join our global team to help us do this.
If you have access to a computer, a bit of free time, and a strong commitment to climate activism, then we want to hear from you!
Currently, XR Global Support is looking to fill these roles:
- Analytics Manager (Fundraising): Help make sense of raw data; lead and develop a team of analysts. Hours per week: 4
- Graphic or Web Designer (Arts Group): Support XR by illustrating our vision! Hours per week: 10
- Code Auditor (Information Security) (Tech Group): Study a staging deployment of the tool, do penetration testing & vulnerability assessment. Hours per week: 20
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Not tech-minded? No problem - roles are available to suit a range of skills! Find a role that would suit you by filling out this volunteer registration form.
XR Art: Open Call for Artists & Creatives
Submission Deadline: 10 SEPTEMBER
In 2021 an international art project was born in Milan that aimed to communicate the seriousness of the eco-climatic crisis in an innovative, incisive and irreverent way.
The next edition of this project is to create a global event with contemporary exhibitions in different cities. The format will be open source: works can be selected, downloaded and printed by anyone who wants to organise an exhibition.
Artists can use techniques of their choice to create works that communicate the urgent need for mass awareness, and the severity of the crisis we are going through.
The XR Global Blog has published some more quality content over the last month, including a ‘hot take’ on heatwaves and short stories by some very young rebels indeed.
Hot Takes are short-form, in-depth reactions to pressing global issues. This first one looks at the ongoing heatwaves and wildfires, and the unequal destruction they bring.
Featuring the three short stories that won the ‘11 & Under’ category of the XR Wordsmith’s Solarpunk Showcase. These inspiring stories by authors aged 6, 9 and 10 explore a possible green future, and include original artwork.
The Maasai perform the adumu, a “jumping dance” that can decide who marries who.
Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at email@example.com.
XR Global Support needs money to continue its crucial work. Anything you can give is appreciated.