Extinction Rebellion

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, November 2nd, 2018 - 35 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, disaster, Dr Deborah Russell, Environment, global warming, greens, labour, national, nz first, sustainability - Tags:

As pointed out by Ed in Open Mike in the United Kingdom action against climate change is ramping up with George Monbiot urging direct action to be taken.

He was speaking at a rally organised by Extinction Rebellion, a new mass direct-action group modeled on Occupy.  From Rising up’s website:

We are in an ecological crisis caused by climate change, pollution and habitat destruction; a mass species extinction on a scale much larger than the one which killed the dinosaurs is underway. Our course is set to societal collapse, the killing of millions, likely billions of people – human extinction is possible. The future is bleak and our children are not safe.

Change to avert the worst of the disaster is still technically and economically possible. The changes won’t be simple but there is nothing more important or worthwhile. It involves creating a world which is less frenetic and more beautiful; making the necessary changes will also create jobs. This is an emergency situation – action is urgent.

Our Government isn’t acting in accordance with what science and history tells us. Therefore our Government is criminally negligent. We have a moral duty to rebel, whatever our politics. Social science shows us that peaceful civil disobedience is an effective way to bring about change. Our lives have meaning and purpose when we follow our conscience and are willing to make sacrifices to protect what we love. We ask others who feel the same way to join our peaceful Rebellion.”

The organisation has some powerful support with 94 signatories from the ranks of academia and politics releasing an open letter supporting the organsation.  In an open letter they have said this:

Our government is complicit in ignoring the precautionary principle, and in failing to acknowledge that infinite economic growth on a planet with finite resources is non-viable. Instead, the government irresponsibly promotes rampant consumerism and free-market fundamentalism, and allows greenhouse gas emissions to rise. Earth Overshoot Day (the date when humans have used up more resources from nature than the planet can renew in the entire year) falls ever earlier each year (1 August in 2018).

When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and to secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship. The “social contract” has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself.

We therefore declare our support for Extinction Rebellion, launching on 31 October 2018. We fully stand behind the demands for the government to tell the hard truth to its citizens. We call for a Citizens’ Assembly to work with scientists on the basis of the extant evidence and in accordance with the precautionary principle, to urgently develop a credible plan for rapid total decarbonisation of the economy.

Meanwhile in New Zealand the Government is closer to getting the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill through Parliament.  The bill will ban the issuing of new offshore oil drilling exploration permits.  The bill has faced staunch opposition from National and the fossil fuel industry but significant support from most submitters even though it is not overly radical.  The effects will not be felt for some time.

Deborah Russell summed up the select committee hearings in this speech:

And her summary of the submissions is very apt.

When I look at what Business New Zealand said about the bill, they said “Business New Zealand agrees with the underlying policy objective sought by the 12 April decision, but strongly considers that banning new oil and gas exploration is an unnecessary way to achieve emissions reductions goals.” But if we aren’t going to do something, how can they show they really do support the idea of taking action to mitigate climate change? If not, how, and when? These were just a few of the submissions against the bill.

Chris Norton, however, said “I acknowledge some people and interested parties will feel like they’ve been short-changed. However, this financial loss to a few is nothing compared to the catastrophe that continuing with the exploration and exploitation of our fossil resources would contribute to for everyone.”

Abbie Jury from Tikorangi in Taranaki said she urged members of Parliament “to understand that while gas may burn more cleanly than some other fuels at the point of end-use, there is nothing at all clean or sustainable in the process of getting that gas out of the ground and keeping the gas flowing.” She went on to say “If we do not change our energy sources now, that change will be forced upon us by the probability of catastrophic climate change.”

We examined these submissions initiated of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Dinah Hawkins says that the latest IPCC report makes it absolutely clear that we, all of us, must work now to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Last of all, giving everyone a flavour of all the submissions that were totally in support of the bill, the 85 percent of submissions that were in support of the bill, from Sam Netherclift: “I am 18 and I think it is very unfair that my generation is inheriting a world affected by climate change because of older generations, so making exploration for oil illegal is one step forward in the right direction.”

There is overwhelming support for this bill, and in conclusion I give you the simplest submission of all, of all the many I read: “I support this bill because climate change.”

Good on Russell and the Labour Green NZ First Government for pushing this through.  But there is still a sense of inertia that the urgency of our predicament does not warrant.  New Zealand’s commitment has improved dramatically but the fundamental move away from consumption led economic growth is not happening quickly enough in my personal opinion.

With only 16 countries having set clear goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions that will allow them to match their ambitious pledges to tackle climate change the outlook is bleak.  Maybe it is time for a local branch of Extinction Rebellion.

35 comments on “Extinction Rebellion”

  1. roy cartland 1

    “dethrone growth”
    I like it. right and left, perpetual growth is seen simultaneously as impossible and desirable.

  2. tc 2

    Good to see and how about the power retailers get made to give the same value for export grid Kwh’s as we get stung to import them.

    Used to be parity but since 09 it’s snuck down to 25%. So the power industry takes it, then sells it at 4 times the price having made zero investment in the source being folks solar export grids.

    Slightly off topic for this gas/oil issue but another example of rentier behaviour in our energy sector which effectively discourages solar with its pricing behaviour.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      So the power industry takes it, then sells it at 4 times the price having made zero investment in the source being folks solar export grids.

      You do understand that’s how retail work right? That it’s all about skimming off value for doing as little as possible?

      • tc 2.1.1

        We understand exactly how it works DTB. People have gone off grid in response, all the wind farms proposed slowly faded from view from 08 and retailers are owned by the flogged off generators. A truly rigged game.

        If the greens are serious about being ‘green’ and not just making up the numbers then people need to be encouraged to generate and export.

        Localised generation is an essential part of the mix if we’re to be 100% renewable.

  3. Bill 3

    Aw. You didn’t include the video of the talk people aligned with Extinction Rebellion give, where the presenter dresses in pastels to portray that “safe middle class” image . I’ll throw it in here. 🙂

    • Sounds like this isn’t good enough for you bill?

      • Bill 3.1.1

        No. I’ve watched their presentations and read their stuff. It’s pretty well on the mark as far as I’m concerned.

        Was it my reference to her (I’m picking deliberate) decision to wear pastels and come across as “not at all threatening” that’s confused you?

      • The Al1en 3.1.2

        Pastel colours are now safe middle class, just like Kavenaugh is a plummy name, like that nugget on here a while back spouted Jacinda was proof enough of her ineligibility to be left of centre. 🙄
        Seems like Irish has more than a few perception issues.

    • Pat 3.2

      there is something strangely chilling watching a non remarkable middle class woman matter of factly describing the demise of our children

    • Jenny 3.3

      Thanks very much for this Bill.

      Dr Gail Bradbrook covers many of the themes that I have been writing about here for several years now.

      Dr Bradbrook referenced several themes

      – World War II scale mobilisation to tackle climate change

      – The necessity of building a peaceful protest movement to bring about the necessary political change to make this possible.

      – The alternate, strategy of repression and fascism, that the elites if the left to their own devices, may favour to deal with the crisis.

      In line with these themes, Dr Bradbrook spoke of the Arab Spring and how peaceful protest actions brought down a repressive regime.

      Supporting evidence of the efficacy of the strategy proposed by Dr Bradbrook:

      In this country, we have seen direct action – against coal mining, deep sea oil, fracking etc. as a way to create the necessary political pressure to match or even top the political pressure of the fossil fuel lobby to allow politicians the political breathing space to put forward what would otherwise be considered radical legislative changes.

      We have seen this strategy bear fruit in the government standing up to the coal industry of Te Kuha and up to the oil and gas lobby over the ban on new exploration permits.

      Both these successes came off the back of powerful direct action protests against the opening of new coal mines at Mangatangi and the protests against Petrobras which d.

      Looking further back Dr Bradbrook referenced the freedom riders in the US as an example of direct action that led to executive legislative changes in the US.

      In this country we can look back to the anti-nuclear ship protests and the anti-apartheid protests. We can also look to the Ngati Whatua protest led by Joe Hawke which saw 222 people arrested in a police and army operation, (50% Pakeha supporters), which stopped the private housing development of Bastion Pt. and which ultimately led to government legislation for the return of this land to its rightful owners.

      So where to from here?

      Should be the next question.

      • Jenny 3.3.1

        More bold intervention needed
        Written By: ADVANTAGE – Date published: 8:00 am, July 17th, 2016 – 71 comments

        The curious convergence of Labour and National towards major housing market intervention is quite something as a principle…..

        ……What other policy areas are there where the parties can agree on active state intervention?”
        ADVANTAGE

        From a speech by US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) Rhode Island in the US Senate during the last US Presidential election.

        @14:39 minutes

        So where do we look for leadership?

        ‘Well! Not to one of the leading presidential contenders. This character says that, and I quote him. He’s just, quote “not a great believer in man made climate change”
        So There.
        Like the science cares what his opinion is.

        All that science, the decades of research by thousands of scientists across the globe, the pride of the scientific profession.

        “It’s a hoax”, he says. “A con job”, Pseudo Science” and ” B.S.”……

        ….To my Republican colleagues I’ve gotta ask is that really the line we want to have about this problem? Is this your guy? Are you gonna stand by him on this stuff?

        …..But wait, it actually gets better. Politico just yesterday reported, that this New York billionaire is also applying for permission to build a sea wall. He’s a wall building kinda guy, and he wants to build a sea wall to protect his seaside golf resort.
        What does he want to protect his seaside golf resort from with a wall?
        Rapist Mexicans coming across the border?
        No. What he wants protect his seaside golf resort from with a wall, is, and I quote, “global warming and its effects”

  4. Good initiative imo – we need many fronts and much action. We need change and we need urgency. Everything must be used. The time for inaction is over.

  5. Philj 5

    Expunge the word ‘growth’ from all policy makers statements and replace with the term ‘suststainably less’ would be a start.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and to secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship.

    It is following the logic of capitalism that has destroyed so many previous civilisations. Ours is no different in that respect. The profit drive is pushing us to collapse and taking the environment that supports all life on Earth with it.

    But there is still a sense of inertia that the urgency of our predicament does not warrant.

    Of course there is. Capitalism requires that we continue to destroy the environment for the profits of a few and this government is still an enabler of capitalism.

  7. Brutus Iscariot 7

    The mass action required is a one-off, random lottery cull of 1/3rd of the earth’s population (Thanos style) – and procreation controls on the remainder.

    Anything less won’t be enough to give an inhabitable planet for whoever is left.

    • soddenleaf 7.1

      Disagree. The basic instinct is still there, to not worry about the destruction, to let the belt out and get fatter and stupid all consuming lifestyles, the pattern once embedded of ignoring the hard choices of expertise and choosing gross simplistic delaying tactics reminiscent of concentration camps. yeah, rewarding rent seeking doubled down to reward cruel mindless mass slaughterers

  8. Philj 8

    Brutus. For maximum effect shouldn’t it be the wealthiest 1/3 rd?

    • Brutus Iscariot 8.1

      Randomness is the only fair way. It’s not just about effect on consumption patterns, as it needs to be longitudinal across nations too to some extent.

      If you took the top 1/3rd by wealth or income globally, that’s the richest 2.5bn humans, which i guarantee includes you and me. So Western Europe, North Asia, US, Australasia, all completely empty. You’d also cripple humanity’s collective chances of survival by removing basically all those humans with a decent level of education. Those left would have no idea what they’re doing, including being able to understand the rationale for the original decision and the consequences of screwing up again.

  9. RedLogix 9

    The anti-human murderous side of environmentalism lets the mask slip .. right off.

    Geneticists tell us that the human race has come close to extinction at least twice before. Usually due to mini-ice ages. And due to a dramatic expansion of human wealth, population and inefficient resource use, we may well come close to it again.

    Each of these could be described as an unintended consequence of changes in our environment and way of living, and our fumbled responses to them. Jared Diamond traced this topic in some detail; that human societies do lose their way, and often do end badly. These are the tragedies of history.

    But it seems to me quite a different thing to incorporate into your philosophy the idea that a mass death would be a good thing. That somehow the more people you can eliminate the better. There’s a different word for that ….

    • AB 9.1

      RL – I think Brutus was joking. A grim sort of joke, but grim jokes are one way of coping.
      To go from that to saying that there is a murderous side of environmentalism is some leap. I am pretty certain that if things get really ugly, it won’t be the greenies doing the murdering.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        I’d like to think Brutus was joking too; I’m not oblivious to black humour.

        murderous side of environmentalism is some leap.

        It’s a leap I’ve encountered before.

  10. Ed 10

    Thank you for making this post, Mickey.
    Thank you.

  11. patricia bremner 11

    Thanks Micky.

  12. SaveNZ 12

    Might want to forward to Auckland council and Ports of Auckland because they are proposing turning part of our waterfront into a carpark for 2019.

    “Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has weighed into another high-profile planning proposal for Auckland, describing a bid for a car park on Bledisloe Wharf as “mind boggling” in its lack of vision.”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12153899

  13. Michael 13

    Begs the question of why Labour decided to cave in to Big Oil again by letting them keep on drilling off our coasts. Wasn’t climate change supposed to be Jacinda’s generational challenge equivalent to the anti-nuclear issue of the 1980s – or was it simply synthetic moral posturing too?

  14. Dennis Frank 14

    “We demand the UK declares a state of emergency, takes action to create a zero carbon economy by 2025, and creates a national assembly of ordinary people to decide what our zero carbon future will look like.” Not bad for a radical manifesto – until you start to examine the context.

    This from “Extinction Rebellion, a new mass direct-action group modeled on Occupy” according to MS. So is a model of a protest movement that went global then fizzled out months later part of the solution or part of the problem??

    Will this group get the intended mass traction? Is their urgency sufficiently contagious? Is their design likewise? I doubt it – but I agree that declaration of a state of emergency would be a good idea to rouse the complacent and focus their attention. Will we see the Labour Party conference this weekend adopt such a policy? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

    Will Ardern even call for it? Unlikely. She’s an incrementalist. Citing her generation’s nuclear-free moment was good pr, but without urgent action it will seem mere sloganeering in retrospect.

    I also agree that a zero-carbon economy in seven years is a good aspiration. How? Leave that to career politicians & public servants. Protestors are only there to make unreasonable demands, not to provide solutions.

    Creating a national assembly of ordinary people to decide what “our zero carbon future will look like” is a great idea if you want a consciousness-raising forum to brainstorm a suitable goal. Doomed to failure via diversity of opinion unless you create a task force instead, in which teamwork is prescribed to secure a suitable outcome, via a suitable design and decision-making format.

    So, all up, the flawed conception here is that a pressure group can scare a democratically-elected government into hijacking democracy and the economy to serve a minority view. Good to see them giving it a go. Bad to see them failing to learn the lesson of Occupy.

    MS: “the fundamental move away from consumption led economic growth is not happening quickly enough in my personal opinion.” Quite so. Still political suicide to call for that. Democracy dooms everyone.

    • Jenny 14.1

      So is a model of a protest movement that went global then fizzled out months later part of the solution or part of the problem??

      Dennis Frank

      The weakness of mass protest movements Dennis, is just as you point out, they reach a peak and then ebb away. In my opinion the key to keeping the gains made by a mass protest movement at its peak permanent, is for activists to link up with lawmakers and codify the advances made, in law. This was the great strength of the anti-nuclear ship movement in this country.

      Ex -Values Party member and activist Rod Donald and others joined the Labour Party and were able to lobby and influence the opposition Labour Party to support a private members bill to ban nuclear ship visits. Of course this was only part of the story, this political lobbying was done against a background of mass protests and political ferment in society.

  15. Jenny 15

    As I have often said before, “We are living in an age when activists must become politicians, and politicians must become activists”

    Why I’m turning from law-maker to law-breaker to try to save the planet

    Molly Scott Cato – The Guardian, October 31, 2018

    On Wednesday I will join hundreds of others in Parliament Square to assert that we will not stand idly by in the face of climate breakdown and ecological crisis. We will affirm a commitment to engage in non-violent but illegal activities to try and force urgent action. Collectively we have signed a declaration to this effect; an Extinction Rebellion against the British government for criminal inaction.

    Over decades we have all operated in our different spheres of life – whether as journalists, academics, politicians, campaigners and educators – to ring the alarm about the way planetary life support systems are being destroyed. But a powerful alliance of wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, backed by complicit politicians, has subverted the political process and blocked action. This is why, whoever we are and whatever we do, we are coming together now to say we are prepared to engage in civil disobedience to force urgent climate action.

    We are prepared to halt lorries entering fracking sites; to stand in the way of bulldozers building roads and block traffic along heavily congested and polluted streets. Direct actions like these have a long and proud history; it’s time to carry them through in a systematic way to protect the climate, and to be willing to be arrested for doing so.

    If we only had such law breaking law makers here.

    We used to. And they were vital in making New Zealand Nuclear Free.

    We are again living in an age when activists and politicians must again be prepared to leave their traditional comfort zones and activists become politicians and politicians become activists.

    The ‘real’ story of accidental hero David Lange and how New Zealand became nuclear-free
    David Fisher – NZ Herald, January 19, 2017

    Jim Anderton, who was a Labour Party president turned MP by 1984, recalled Palmer approaching himself and fellow MP Helen Clark about the request for the USS Buchanan to visit. Both were staunchly anti-nuclear, and told Palmer there would be no equivocating.

    Anderton confirmed he told Palmer if the ship arrived then he would be at the wharf protesting along with ‘half the Labour caucus’.

    The influence Anderton had over the issue was obviously a factor which concerned the US Embassy.

    One of the CIA reports show it kept careful count of Anderton’s support in the Labour caucus on the issue and on that of Labour’s free market reforms.

    • the other pat 15.1

      we need in NZ a bit of Springbok tour mongrel and some anti nuke flavour…..get out on the streets…out on the water and indeed into the skys…..keyboard warriors get off your arses!

  16. Jenny 16

    New Scientist reports on Extinction Rebellion

    Frustrated climate activists resort to civil disobedience in London
    Michael Le Page – New Scientist, October 31, 2018

    The idea behind the Extinction Rebellion movement is that governments around the world are failing to do enough to prevent extreme climate change and the ongoing mass extinction. The only choice left, they say, is to rebel.

    “The situation is dire, and there are very few governments that are prepared to act,” one of the protestors, Annie Randall, told New Scientist. “We are really fed up.”…..

    …..There is no doubt at all that the basic premise of the Extinction Rebellion – that governments are not doing enough to limit climate change – is correct. Greenhouse gas emissions need to fall extremely fast if we are to have any chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C, a UN climate report warned earlier this month. Instead, they are still rising and look set to keep rising…..

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