Global Newsletter #89

Stop The Scramble! 🌍

Friday, June 14, 2024 by Extinction Rebellion

Rebels and activists from 9 pan-African movements protest outside the African Energies Summit in London.

This issue: Spanish Rebellion | Stop The Scramble For Africa | Growth Kills! |

Dear rebel,

Last month was the hottest May on record, marking an entire year of continuous record-breaking global temperatures, and offering yet more evidence that the planet’s weather system is unravelling.

While 600,000 people were displaced by unprecedented floods in the south of Brazil, the north of the country was undergoing a record-breaking heatwave. As people died from heatstroke in the 52.3°C air of Delhi, people in the East of India were drowning in the rains of a cyclone.

This is the world that fossil fuels have given us, with extreme weather reaping random destruction in nearly every region of the world simultaneously. It is no wonder that climate scientists are in despair.

A week of Spanish rebellion finishes with a march through central Madrid.

But last month also saw rebels rise up to take down the fossil fuel industry, and stop us slipping further into this new norm of killer weather and chaos.

In Action Highlights, we report on a spectacular week of rebellion in Spain that targeted fossil fuel subsidies. We also cover how XR UK and an alliance of African groups disrupted oil executives as they planned yet another plunder of Africa during a secret summit in London.

For Humans of XR we speak to an incredible young rebel resisting the oil industry in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Solidarity Corner we profile Growth Kills, a new group exposing how our growth-dependent economic system is keeping us wedded to the fossil fuel era.

Growth Kills blockade the European Commission in the run-up to EU elections.

To end on a bright note, an IPCC climate scientist has been elected as president of Mexico, the first time a climate scientist has become a national leader.

For a country suffering from a series of killer heatwaves, and a capital city that is close to running out of water, the end of business-as-usual can’t come soon enough. If she cuts ties with her pro-fossil fuel predecessor, and fulfils the green promises of her campaign, we could finally have a world leader to believe in.


This newsletter is available in multiple languages. Use the globe icon (top right) to change language.

Subscribe to this Newsletter

This newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help our movement grow. We need money for this crucial work.

Donate What You Can


Contents

  • Action Highlights: Spanish Rebellion, Stop The Scramble For Africa
  • Action Round Up: Netherlands, Ireland, USA, Australia, Germany, DRC, Bolivia, South Africa, France, India, UK, Uganda
  • Solidarity Corner: Growth Kills!
  • Book of the Month: World Made By Hand
  • Humans of XR: François, DRC
  • Must Reads: Equinor Speech, Climate Scientists Despair, Costs of Crisis
  • Announcements: XR Global Support Roles Available

Action Highlights

Spanish Rebellion Finishes Big in Madrid

18 MAY, 26 MAY–2 JUNE | Madrid, Barcelona, Pamplona, Gijón, Spain

Rebels from across Spain parade through Madrid with an oil rig and a tree. Photo: Mar Sala

Madrid became a festival of colour, music, dancing and disruption, as rebels from across Spain converged on the capital to demand an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

More than 150 activists took over the Gran Vía, the most famous street in the city, and put on a show for surprised shoppers and police that involved an oil well, a fake oil spill, a die-in, and a giant tree representing a new path for humanity.

The rebels then paraded their tree through central Madrid, stopping at one of the city’s busiest public squares to hear speeches and bring flowers to the paving stones. Despite unannounced protests being illegal in Spain, skilled rebel mediators approached police quickly, and there were no arrests or fines.

XR Barcelona occupied the port while rebels sprayed the mega-yachts.

The rally was XR Madrid’s biggest action since the pandemic and made for a spectacular end to a week of nationwide rebellion launched as part of the Stop EU Fossil Subsides campaign.

Earlier in the week, rebels in Barcelona joined Scientist Rebellion to spray several mega-yachts with black biodegradable paint, condemning the pollution of luxury tourism in a region that’s suffered an unprecedented three years of drought.

XR Pamplona covered their city in murals showing fictional villains like Freddy Krueger and Chucky asking for fossil subsidies to continue. In the north of the country, XR Asturies blockaded a major steel works in Gijón, highlighting how the steel industry makes intensive use of fossil fuels.

And, on the day the Spanish government formally recognised the State of Palestine, XR Madrid and an alliance of other groups staged a sit-in at a major train station, condemning the hypocrisy of their government for still doing business with Israel.

XR Asturies blockade the entrance to a steel works. Photo: David Aguilar Sánchez

XR Madrid was hit badly by the pandemic, then rocked again when a dedicated rebel was revealed to be a police spy in 2023. In February this year, the group was fined more than €20,000 for trying to stop 600 trees from being felled in a public park.

But the rebels have proved resilient and are amazed at how successfully they united XR Spain to finish up this rebellion. Their goal is to keep building connections with XR groups and other movements around the country, and to wake up the public and the Spanish media to the fact that the climate crisis is happening right now.

Follow XR Spain using this linktr.ee


Stop The Scramble For Africa!

14–15 MAY | London, UK

Rebels and African activists rally outside an African energy conference in London.

XR UK and allied groups confronted delegates and made a lot of noise outside the Africa Energies Summit, a three-day conference where Big Oil executives and their political fixers planned the plunder of the continent’s remaining oil and gas.

The location of the summit was kept secret even from the delegates until 24hrs before the start, in the hope that protesters would be kept at bay. But rebels were waiting outside the venue as 500 delegates arrived for an opening VIP breakfast, and were shoved aside by security as they tried to block doorways.

The next morning, rebels were joined by pan-African organisations to welcome the rattled delegates, and then make enough noise to disrupt the talks inside. After a chorus of vuvuzelas and a performance by Senegalese drummers, the summit organisers called in the police. Rebels negotiated with police to ensure time for speeches and a mock awards ceremony for the crooked oil companies nearby.

As well as activists, arriving delegates had to get through the XR Oil Slickers.

Speakers compared the summit’s last-ditch scramble for oil and gas reserves to the colonial plundering of Africa in the 1880s. While the fossil fuel companies claim they will bring “progress”, African countries have been exporting oil for decades, and the results have been devastating.

Africa’s major oil producers, like Nigeria and South Sudan, are still plagued by extreme poverty, and 600 million Africans lack access to electricity. The continent has been poisoned by oil spills and toxic gas flaring, and communities have been broken to make way for pipelines.

Africa is uniquely vulnerable to climate change, and with its abundant solar and wind potential, it could be the first zero-emissions continent. But the fossil fuel companies don’t want that to happen, and next year’s summit in London is already being planned. Wherever the delegates end up, rebels will be waiting for them.

Follow African activists at Stop EACOP, Alliance 4 Food Sovereignty Africa, Home of Mother Earth, 350africa, Power Shift Africa, Don’t Gas Africa, Africans Rising


Action Round Up

7 MAY | Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rebels occupy a lounge for frequent fliers at Schiphol airport, blockading its entrance and chaining themselves to a counter. They condemned airlines like KLM for running schemes that reward and encourage frequent flying, and demanded fines for the ecocidal behaviour instead.

9 MAY | Dublin, Ireland: XR Ireland disrupt the black tie dinner of the Irish Funds Industry Association, whose members include billion dollar fossil fuel investors like BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank. Rebels glued themselves to entrances and forced the attendees to pass through their rally to get inside. A full write-up is available on the XR Ireland website.

12 MAY | NYC, USA: In 2023, Americans spent $147 billion on their pets, but only $1.2 billion was spent on protecting endangered wildlife. XR NYC highlighted these warped priorities by peacefully disrupting a dog show, running onto a canine assault course and unfurling a banner that read ‘No Dogs on a Dead Planet’.

16 MAY | Adelaide, Australia: Hundreds of activists including rebels stage a sit-in on the 1st anniversary of the introduction of repressive anti-protest laws. Police fined 8 protesters when they refused to move from the road. The new laws mean the maximum penalty for obstructing a public place has jumped from $750 to $50,000 or 3 months in prison. Photo: Peter Barnes

17 MAY | Berlin, Germany & Butembo, DRC: Rebels rally in Germany and DRC simultaneously to highlight how the Congolese people are being exploited by tech companies for their natural resources. An Apple shop in Berlin was spray-painted, while more than 200 activists rallied outside. At the same time, rebels marched through Butembo in the DRC, calling for Virunga National Park to be protected from oil and gas extraction, and for the world to recognise that an ecological transition cannot be smeared with the blood of the Congolese people.

20 MAY | La Paz, Bolivia: Horror at the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel powers a major march through the Bolivian capital. Rebels joined an alliance of protesters to rally outside the embassies of the U.S., the U.K., and Germany for their support of genocidal Zionist imperialism.

22 & 24 MAY | Cape Town & Vanderbijlpark, South Africa: To mark World Biodiversity Day, XR Cape Town protest their city’s use of cancer-linked pesticides on roads, parks and other spaces. Days earlier, XR Vaal and allies rallied outside the AGM of local steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal to demand a decarbonised future.

24 MAY | Paris, France: As part of the LiquidationTotal campaign, 600 activists from across France rally outside Amundi, the biggest asset manager in Europe and the main shareholder of TotalEnergies. Protesters poured into Amundi’s foyer as the company held its AGM, and riot police reacted violently, beating and dragging people, arresting 200 at random on exaggerated charges, keeping 50 of those stuffed in a bus for 6 hours, and kettling many more on the roadside. XR France are preparing a legal case against the French police for their violence.

25 MAY | Global: Mothers* Rebellion hold their 5th global rebellion, with mothers and allies forming circles in 75 cities across 26 countries. Pictured: Delhi, India.

26 MAY–2 JUNE | UK and Global: XR UK totally blockade the country’s largest private jet airport, using tripods, locks, and a pink boat to sustain the disruption. It was part of a global wave of actions against private jets that saw airports targeted in 8 countries. The actions came weeks after a new study concluded that climate emissions from aviation are 50% higher than previously reported.

27 MAY | Kampala, Uganda: Stop EACOP activists and allies are arrested for peacefully protesting outside the Chinese Embassy. The rally was organised after reports that the Chinese state is considering investing in the EACOP pipeline. Protesters stood outside the embassy waiting to hand over a petition to officials, but police instead rounded them up and jailed seven overnight.


Solidarity Corner: Growth Kills

Growth Kills, Scientist Rebellion, and XR Belgium launch their 3-days of actions ahead of the EU elections.

Home to the world's second-largest population of lobbyists, Brussels has become a nexus for business-as-usual. That’s why for the last 18 months Growth Kills, a group dedicated to dismantling the assumption that economic growth must continue, have been disrupting conferences and blockading buildings in the city

“Our strategy is to disrupt meetings where power is concentrated and to force the speakers to defend themselves in front of their audiences” says an organiser. “Amazingly, we’ve even gotten applause from some of the audiences. That shows just how ridiculous the growth-at-all-costs narrative has become.”

Growth Kills has 5 demands for EU institutions: the abandonment of GDP as an index of prosperity, the creation of a sovereign citizens' assembly to decide our common future, laws to make corporations pay the true social and environmental costs of their activities, the end of overconsumption and the advertising that drives it, and the return of essential resources to the commons so they are free for all.

A Growth Kills activist blockades the European Commission.

Leading up to the EU elections, Growth Kills teamed up with XR Belgium and Scientist Rebellion for three days of actions to demand an economy where planetary boundaries and the well-being of all take priority over profits for the few.

The highlight was a blockade of the European Commision, with activists sticking their hands to the entrance, stopping workers from entering, and wielding banners that derided green growth and GDP. A giant poster was attached to the building saying ‘The Future is Degrowth’.

Growth Kills also prioritised public engagement. The group made time to dialogue with shoppers on the high street, and hold a public workshop to demystify degrowth and present a positive, practical vision for the future. The result has been dozens of new members, and even the support of a leading IPCC scientist.

Growth Kills talk to the public at a busy shopping centre in Brussels.

“Previously, we didn’t get a lot of engagement during public events like this, but with the Growth Kills campaign that has been changing. People are really connecting with us and expressing their fear and suffering. They are looking for a change, a vision for something better. It feels like we’re approaching a paradigm shift”, said the organiser.

Growth Kills believes that activism must help people to challenge the planetocidal ideology of capitalism, and use our collective imagination to build a happy world. Wherever you are on the planet, they have an action toolkit to help you set up a Growth Kills chapter there.

Join Growth Kills and follow their campaign on X.


Book of the Month

World Made by Hand, by James Howard Kuntsler

In this novel, the first of a series, a small community in the northeast of the former United States starts getting its act together again after the collapse of civilization. The collapse appears to have been an economic and political crisis that passed some tipping point—but however it happened, fossil fuel use appears to be over or nearly over.

The resulting world is ugly, but only because the backstory is full of upheaval and tragedy, and also the people are mostly jerks. The lack of fossil fuel itself doesn't look bad. The plot is slow but not in a bad way, the characters are engaging, and the world-building is richly detailed and largely believable.

Unfortunately, this is a book about only white men. Whether the exclusion of non-white characters and the marginalisation of female characters is deliberate on Kunstler's part or just plain sloppy could be interesting food for discussion, but either way, bias is on display.

World Made by Hand is worth reading anyway for its immersive exploration of a possible post-fossil future, its honest acknowledgment of climate change as a constant background element (a weirdly rare thing in fiction), and for the important conversations it could foster.

Avoid Amazon. Support local bookshops. Buy books at Bookshop or Hive.


Humans of XR

François, XR Rutshuru, Democratic Republic of Congo

My name is François, and I am a young climate and human rights defender in the DRC. Currently, I'm not studying due to the recurrence of armed conflict in my province of North Kivu since the end of 2022. In this context of violence, I initiated XR Rutshuru to organise and mobilise young volunteers through non-violent actions to demand participatory and responsible governance of protected areas in the DRC.

Through other associated movements, such as Amani Institute ASBL where I am a co-founding member, I try to help community members rebuild themselves psychologically despite the traumatic ordeals they undergo on a daily basis.

My motivation for initiating a local XR group stemmed from these events – in particular, the unprecedented humanitarian tragedy coupled with the effects of global warming that are already being acutely felt. I challenged myself to dissuade young people from joining armed groups, and to work together to create positive change in the community.

I've participated in campaigns like Fossil Free Virunga, Decolonize Virunga, Fossil Free DRC, and am currently involved in the #SaveVirunga campaign. We are pressuring the Congolese authorities to cancel tenders for the illegal sale of 27 oil blocks and 3 gas blocks located in vulnerable protected areas, including Virunga National Park, one of the oldest national parks in Africa whose conservation provides livelihoods for over 5 million people.

To be an activist for me means to enable others to achieve common goals. I'm proud to be an activist because I'm convinced that the fight we’re waging is going to change history. What motivates me is indignation at everything we're going through. I tell myself that I have to work to make communities aware of the problems we face, so that together we can hold our leaders to account.

This work is ever more challenging as it is ever more urgent. The security situation in our regional capital Goma has now gotten so bad that we are no longer able to organise activities there. Repeated attacks by Rwanda-backed militias in the region have caused widespread displacement.

Hundreds of thousands of people are living in tent encampments with no food, drinking water, sanitation, or roofs – abandoned by international humanitarian organisations. Goma itself is suffocating as the villages that supply it with food are occupied by militias.

My message to fellow XR rebels is to ask for their solidarity in relation to this crisis we are enduring as a result of the unjust aggression by Rwanda and its extractivist partners. We call for an end to this hypocrisy on the part of the international community. The blood of the Congolese people has long been shed freely, and this must stop.

If you know (or are) a rebel with a story to tell, get in touch at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com


Must Reads

Rebels in Madrid call for an end to the fossil fuel era. Photo: Mar Sala

Video: Oil CEO Slammed Over “Inconceivable Greed” (4 mins)
A young Scottish climate activist was invited to speak at the AGM of Equinor, the Norwegian oil company that is responsible for the UK’s largest undeveloped oil field Rosebank. Looking directly at Equinor’s CEO, and representatives of its majority shareholder, the Norwegian government, she gave them 4 minutes of blistering truth.

Article: Hopeless and Broken: Why Top Climate Scientists are in Despair
The Guardian asked 380 climate scientists what they felt about the future. 77% thought global temperatures will rise by at least 2.5°C, while 42% thought they will rise by more than 3°C. Just 6% thought the 1.5°C limit will be met. Collectively, they are terrified. Mentioning climate activists, one scientist said, “All these young people were so charged up, so impassioned. So I said I’ll keep doing this, not for the politicians, but for you.”

Article: Crossing The Rubicon
A rebel writer reflects personally on the future of the world and our movement now that average global temperatures have exceeded 1.5°C for over twelve months.

Article: The Macroeconomic Impact of Climate Change
The economic damage caused by climate change will be six times larger than previously thought, making unilateral decarbonisation cost-effective even for large countries like the US. That’s the conclusion of this paper, written by economists after analysing global temperature changes. They also conclude that global GDP would be 37% higher today had no warming occurred between 1960 and 2019. Eat that, neoliberals.


Announcements

XR Global Support: We Need Your Help

Roles Available Now

Interested in joining the XR Global Support team and working with rebels around the world?

We help to start and grow local XR groups worldwide by offering training, resources, tech support, communication, and more.

To best support local groups, we need new rebels to help us! All you need is access to a computer, a bit of free time, and a strong commitment to climate activism.

Roles are now available in the following teams: Arts, Onboarding, Regen, Regional Liaisons, Trainings.

To find out more about the teams and roles available, visit our roles website.


Thank you

An XR Oil Slicker watches oil executives scurry into their summit to discuss how they can further ruin Africa and the world while lining their pockets.

Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.


This newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help our movement grow. We need money for this crucial work.

Donate What You Can



Over de Opstand

Extinction Rebellion is een gedecentraliseerde, internationale en politiek onpartijdige beweging die geweldloze directe actie en burgerlijke ongehoorzaamheid gebruikt om regeringen te overtuigen rechtvaardig te handelen in de klimaat- en ecologische noodsituatie. Onze beweging bestaat uit mensen van alle rangen en standen, die op verschillende manieren bijdragen met de tijd en energie die ze kunnen missen. De kans is groot dat we een lokale groep bij jou in de buurt hebben, en we zouden graag van je horen. ...of .