Danish rebels make it to the executive top floor of Total’s Scandinavian headquarters.
In this issue: Guide To Eco-anxiety | Swedish Airport Action | Occupy Total HQ in Denmark
More and more people worldwide, especially young people, are feeling a persistent fear about the climate and ecological crisis that is affecting their daily life. If you are reading this newsletter, it’s quite likely you’re one of them.
In this issue we have a brief introduction to the condition, written with help from a specialist in the field. Find out how eco-anxiety might manifest in your day-to-day life, and some steps you can take to manage it, in our Special Report.
A Blue Rebel takes part in a ceremony of grief at the end of COP26. Photo: Mark Richards
Whether you’re fearful for the future, or actually witnessing your world being destroyed by the crisis right now, support is available. We’ve collected some of the best resources around eco-anxiety and climate-aware therapy in Must Reads.
This issue is also a Scandinavian special. In Action Highlights you can find out how Swedish rebels grounded planes in eight airports around the country, and how Danish rebels teamed up with other groups to occupy the offices of oil company Total.
On top of these two brave and brilliant actions, we have our first coverage of XR Iceland in this month’s Action Roundup. We also bring news of two brand new pins in the Extinction Rebellion map; XR Morocco and XR Kosovo. We look forward to covering their first actions in 2022.
A Danish activist is escorted out of Total’s headquarters. Photo Martin Lehmann
This has been a frustrating year for climate activism, but it is crucial for the longevity of our movement that we all take time out to regenerate. As most of the world enters a period of festive celebration, now is the perfect time to lay low.
The coming year will hold plenty of opportunities to rise up again, and we will be there to report on them. The Global Newsletter team wishes you all a very disobedient new year.
The Global Newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help new XR chapters grow. Read previous issues here.
We are in a crucial phase of human history, and we need money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.
- Special Report: A Short Guide To Eco-anxiety
- Action Highlights: Swedish Airports Action, Occupy Total HQ in Denmark
- Action Roundup: South Africa, Serbia, Switzerland, Sudan, Australia, India, UK, USA, Canada, Greece, Iceland, and then even more in Newsletter Xtra!
- Announcements: Global Regen 101, XR GS PartDem Awards Show
- Must Reads: Eco-anxiety Support Special
A Short Guide to Eco-anxiety
Eco-anxiety (also known as climate anxiety) is a persistent sense of dread about experienced or anticipated ecological losses that affects daily life.
The condition has been studied for more than a decade. But it is only in the last few years, with movements like XR increasing public awareness of the crisis, that eco-anxiety has received widespread academic attention.
It’s important to understand that suffering from eco-anxiety is not a sign of mental illness. Many mental health professionals consider it a rational response to the world we currently find ourselves in. The same goes for the linked conditions of eco-anger and ecological grief. They demonstrate empathy for all the life being lost, and courage in facing up to the reality of the climate crisis.
Activism is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people and channel your eco-anxiety into action. Photo: Simone J Rudolphi
It’s also important to understand that eco-anxiety will affect people in very different ways.
Our direct experience of the crisis, our personal history and vulnerabilities, and other factors will define the severity of its symptoms.
Common indicators of eco-anxiety include sleeplessness, apathy, appetite changes, obsessive thoughts, a reluctance to have children, anger (particularly at people who don't acknowledge the climate crisis), sadness, grief, and panic attacks.
The condition can also trigger positive behaviours, like seeking out information, caring for local natural spaces, and protest.
Activism is tough. We have to look after each other to avoid burnout. Photo: Mark Richards
Whatever your lived experience of eco-anxiety, it’s important that you find ways to share your feelings in a safe setting so you can manage them day-to-day. Below are five steps to help you do this, and if you want to learn more, or seek professional support, check out the resources in Must Reads.
- Get Involved: Activism is a wonderful way to feel empowered and meet like-minded people. So if you haven’t already, find your local XR group, attend a meeting, and discover the amazing range of roles and skills our movement needs to thrive.
- Express Yourself: Discussing your eco-anxiety with an empathetic listener or group can help you understand what you are feeling and what you can do about it. Most national XR chapters run regular ‘climate cafes’ and ‘regenerative workshops’ where you can do this. If not, check out the global regenerative workshop in Announcements. If you’re not a talker, XR groups dedicated to writing, art and music will welcome you.
- Find Balance: While activism can be hugely empowering, it can also require huge emotional resilience to avoid burnout. It is important to make space for activities unrelated to activism, to use exercise and meditation to calm yourself, and to spend time outdoors. Your connection to the natural world is what drives you, what will rejuvenate you, and what will help us all to build regenerative cultures (defined in Must Reads).
- Remember You’re Not Alone: There are so many people full of love, rage, and guilt about the state of the world and struggling to come to terms with it. Climate activism has never been more widespread, and even those who engage in denial, distractions, or rage against activists are dealing with the same emotional trauma, just in a reductive way.
- Don’t Give Up: Trying to stop global heating or extractivism is not a battle that can be won or lost. Each day is an opportunity to heal the devastation that’s already happened, and reduce the devastation of the future. The challenge is huge, and we must always put our own wellbeing first, but giving up will never make sense, whatever the weather.
Swedish Planes Grounded as Rebels Rise
31 OCT | Sweden
A rebel at Malmö airport stands in the runway to stop a flight.
On the first day of COP26, XR Sweden organised their biggest national action ever: blocking flights at eight airports all over the country! Some activists climbed fences and glued themselves onto the airstrip, others glued themselves to the nose of the plane, and some boarded planes as passengers and refused to sit down.
The action targeted domestic flights within Sweden. The Swedish government uses taxpayers' money to heavily subsidise the aviation industry each year, enabling the dumping of plane ticket prices and making it near-impossible for trains and buses to compete.
A rebel glues herself to the nose of an airplane at an airport close to Stockholm.
Dozens of local XR groups across Sweden pulled together for the action, forming affinity groups, sharing knowledge, and strengthening each other with collective resolve. Together we stand strong!
Still, it was a lonely experience walking up to a plane on the runway, as one rebel involved in the blockade at Ängelholms airport confirms; “I was all alone and in the dark. I was nervous and had anxiety for a week in advance. But sitting on the airstrip I just felt relieved and happy, I managed to stop the destruction for a little while.”
As soon as the action began, the air traffic control tower, airport security, and police were contacted to ensure the safety of everyone involved. At the same time, rebel teams held protests and dropped banners inside and outside the targeted airports to alert the public.
Rebels outside Halmstad airport. The banner: ‘Stop subsidizing flying’.
In total, 14 rebels managed to keep ten airplanes on the ground before being arrested by the police. One rebel was wrestled to the ground and is still suffering nerve damage in one hand because the handcuffs were fastened so tightly.
All those arrested now face a possible four-year prison sentence for suspected ‘air traffic sabotage‘. In spite of this, the rebels are proud of what they achieved. One said “we knew the risks and we know why we are doing this. If they send me to prison, I’m ready for it.”
The action attracted a lot of media attention. It was covered live on the news throughout the day and picked up by some international media. The coverage led to multiple invitations for XR Sweden to write articles and hold interviews stressing the severity of the climate crisis.
Rebel Alliance Occupies Oil Giant Total
16 - 18 NOV | Copenhagen, Denmark
A 50-strong rebel alliance that included activists from XR Denmark, Collapse Total, and Shale Must Fall flooded the Scandinavian headquarters of Total and managed to confront the oil company’s executives.
While others sat down and locked-on in the lobby, 20 activists jumped the turnstiles and headed for the top floor where Total’s management were having a meeting. One rebel confronted an executive over the company’s appalling legacy of funding climate denialism despite knowing about climate change since 1971. His response was to repeatedly request that the discussion continue downstairs.
A Total executive debates tactics with a rebel intruder harnessed to a stairwell.
With some intruders harnessed to stairwells and glued to windows, it took around 3 hours for police to clear the offices. All 20 were arrested and released later that night, with criminal prosecutions and hefty fines expected. The one non-Danish arrestee received their $400 fine early.
The spicy action had come as a surprise to both the oil company and the police. The day before the rebel alliance had held a calm demonstration outside the building, with 50 activists singing chants and listening to testimonials of those affected by Total’s extractivism in the Global South. The expectation was that would be the end of it.
Activists blockade the lobby of Total’s Scandinavian headquarters.
The day after the occupation, the rebel alliance returned one last time to cover the building’s windows with activist statements and declarations to continue the fight against the fossil fuels industry.
The occupation was part of a week of global actions targeting the French oil and gas giant (see Newsletter XTRA for more). After the failure of COP26 to rein in the industry, Total is aggressively expanding its operations around the world, including drilling and fracking in Argentina, Colombia, Namibia and Uganda.
The rebel alliance wants the company to know that this is just the beginning. They will not stop until Total’s collapse.
4 DEC | Cape Town, South Africa: Rebels across the country demand Shell stop its destructive seismic survey of the Wild Coast to find more oil and gas.
4 DEC | Belgrade, Serbia: Rebels join thousands of people to swarm a major highway. There have been major protests across the country against a government-backed plan to allow Rio Tinto to mine lithium there.
3 DEC | Bern, Switzerland: A Swiss father has been on hunger strike since November 1st to compel the Swiss Parliament to accept proper training from climate scientists. He has already lost more than 17 kg. Help pressure the government to accept his simple demand.
1 DEC | Khartoum, Sudan: Rebels arrested a few weeks ago during a peaceful protest against the military coup have been released. All were tortured and tragically one rebel, Muhammad, was murdered by the military during the protest.
1 DEC | North Queensland, Australia: A Frontline Action Against Coal activist suspended himself from machinery at Adani’s North Queensland Export Terminal for 10 hours. He was arrested, charged with four offences, and released on bail. In November Blockade Australia disrupted trains to the terminal for 11 days. Expect more detailed coverage in a future issue.
29 NOV | India: After more than a year of giant protests, and over 700 deaths, the Indian parliament has finally repealed three farm laws that opened up the sector to privatisation.
26 NOV | UK, Netherlands, Germany: To mark Black Friday, rebels blockaded 15 Amazon fulfilment centres across Europe, the vast majority of those in the UK. Amazon was targeted because of the major role it plays in driving overconsumption, exploiting workers, and more. Photos: Alex Street (top right), Yaz Ashmawi (bottom right)
26 NOV | Washington DC, USA: Rebels also held inventive actions worldwide to highlight the perils of overconsumption on Black Friday - like holding this gruesome zombie wedding.
24 NOV | Wet’Suet’En/British Columbia, Canada: Militarised police use guns, dogs, axes and a chainsaw to arrest peaceful indigenous protestors disrupting a gas pipeline being built across their land. 32 were arrested, including 3 journalists and 3 legal observers.
20 NOV | Athens, Greece: Rebels attend the wedding of the European Commission with the fossil fuel lobby (the Greek government was best man). Earlier the happy couple announced they’d be making new fossil fuel infrastructure in Greece together.
18 NOV | Rejkyavik, Iceland: Rebels place empty shoes outside their parliament to mourn those killed by climate change and demand their government declare a climate emergency.
So many rebel actions happened this month, we can’t fit them all into this newsletter. Head over to Newsletter XTRA to find out about actions in West Papua, Russia, DRC, NZ, the French Alps, and more. Newsletter XTRA: A feast for the eyes and extra fuel for the soul!
Regen 101 Workshop
11 DEC | 8:00 UTC | Online
This experiential, practical, and educational workshop is a beautiful introduction to Regenerative Cultures for those new to XR and essential for those rebels already in it.
Join our facilitators Christie and Madi for this nourishing experience in collaboration with the REGEN ADVOCATE NETWORK. Thousands of rebels and other activists have come together over the past two years to contribute to the ongoing richness of this workshop.
In it we will explore Regenerative Cultures, Earth Emotions, Community/Self-care & Burnout, and Emotional Debriefing. There is capacity for 35 folks to join us in each session.
When: Saturday, 11th December: REGISTER HERE
Time: 7pm-10pm AEST / 8:00am-11:00am UTC CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE HERE
XR GS PartDem Rock Up For Major Award
8 - 10 NOV | Strasbourg, France
Dubioza kollektif close out a great day for Citizens’ Assemblies in Strasbourg.
It was a big three days for our Third Demand. XR Global Support Participatory Democracy (XR GS PartDem), a small team striving to implement Citizens’ Assemblies on climate around the world, was nominated for a major award by the Council of Europe.
The group’s work was selected from hundreds of initiatives to be analysed in a ‘laboratory’ at the World Democracy Forum, and was one of three to be shortlisted for the Democracy Innovation Award.
Although they ultimately came a close second, rebel representatives convinced scientists, charmed civil society organisations, rallied the youth, and even gained support from policy-makers and parliamentarians.
Bosnian rock band Dubioza kollektif closed the official ceremony by playing the ancient Italian protest song Bella Ciao. Everyone dropped formal protocol and danced like wild!
The Regenerative Action Cycle courtesy of XR Barcelona.
This eco-anxiety special contains five sites with all the resources and emotional support you could need, wherever you are in the world, and however you express your love for it.
Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA)
The CPA is a network of climate psychologists that offers resources and workshops and up to three free sessions of personal therapeutic support. There are separate sites for practitioners in the UK and US/Canada, as well as a budding international site. Australian practitioners can be found at the similar organisation Psychology for a Safe Climate.
This network is coordinated by volunteers within XRUK, and as well as working with CPA to offer counselling or psychotherapy, it runs a rebel telephone support line, a network of rebel support groups, and can supply practitioners to help train and support XR groups.
Regenerative Cultures XR is trying to embody a regenerative culture, which means treating ourselves, others, and our planet with care, giving more than we take, and unlearning the toxic prejudices of our current system. Find out more in this dedicated website.
Good Grief Network (GGN)
GGN is a nonprofit organization that uses a Ten Steps approach inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous to help people recognize, feel, and process eco-anxiety and other heavy emotions triggered by the planetary crisis.
A huge repository of articles, books, videos, and more, exploring human psychological reactions to the climate and ecological crisis.
4 DEC | Malmö, Sweden: The sign reads “I'm sorry! I understood too late. Now I will never stop fighting for you, the young. Climate Emergency!”
Thank you for reading, rebel. If you’d like to see any changes to this newsletter in 2022 then let us know! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our movement needs money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.