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Climate Crisis reaching Critical Mass: Extreme Events, Massive Protests and Celebrity Activism

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Over the past year, in the face of a rapid increase in the threat of CO2 emissions and its effects on the climate, various groups and activist organizations have staged demonstrations in response to a lack of any solutions or action from governments and industry leaders worldwide. Curiously, real reporting that makes the important connections between the causes, the extreme weather events and the demonstrations into account is scarce.

Global Scale Mobility to Save Planet Earth

The week of September 20-27, 2019, we saw a record of 7.6 million people around the world take to the streets and strike for climate action. This is by far the largest assembly of people mobilized for an ecological cause in history.

The Global Climate Strike shows that there are clearly a significant number of people motivated to challenge the status quo and, potentially, spur an accelerated end to the fossil fuel era. People’s Climate, Rise for Climate, Fire Drill Fridays, are just a handful of the hundreds of organizations that have formed (and will continue to form) in recognition of, and in direct response to, the emerging ecological emergency.

“OVER 7.6 MILLION PEOPLE, 185 COUNTRIES, 73 TRADE UNIONS, 3024 BUSINESSES, 820 ORGANIZATIONS, 8583 WEBSITES, 613 ACTIONS”

INFOGRAPHIC / CLIMATE INTERACTIVE

From Jakarta to New York, Karachi to Amman, Berlin to Kampala, Istanbul to Quebec, Manila to Mumbai, Guadalajara to Asunción, in big cities and small villages, millions of people joined hands and raised their voices in defense of the climate. These large numbers are speaking out and showing concern in order to raise awareness and bring attention to both the problem and the lack of an adequate response from those in power. The least the media can do is acknowledge the overwhelming numbers and help by shining a light on the issue.

Record Breaking Extreme Weather Events and Evidence of Catastrophic Potentials

Extreme temperature swings from both extremes are happening. July was the hottest month in recorded in history worldwide since record keeping began over 400 years ago. Earlier this month, in Denver, Colorado, was one of the greatest temperature changes in the city’s recorded history of a 64 degrees range; with temperatures at 83 degrees in the a.m. dropping all the way down to 19 degrees. These are just a couple of examples, however, extreme data confirming the danger is being reported by scientists and researchers with increased regularity all over the globe.

Hurricanes and floods are getting larger and more frequent. Research by The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Union of Concerned Scientists have found that hurricanes and storm systems have increased in the level of intensity over the past decades.  Scientists anticipate further and significant intensity increases, along with warmer ocean temperatures and higher sea levels, as a result of global warming trends. The ocean is facing a multitude of severe damage symptoms and dangers beyond the sea-level rise predicted, and that itself could wipe out major cities around the world.  Five storms this year: Hurricane Barry, Dorian, Imelda, Melissa and most recently Nestor have all directly impacted the United States. 

Fires have devastated the lowlands in Bolivia, destroyed thousands of acres in Plumas National Forest in the US, droughts result in fires in several parts of Australia, and the list goes on. California is preemptively shutting down power systems as they try to reduce the fire danger during high wind, low humidity conditions.

Greta Thunberg and Celebrity Activists

A growing number of famous activists and celebrities have been putting faces to the fight against the global climate crisis.

With her extensive news coverage, Greta Thunberg is the face at the forefront of the climate action movement. In August, she travelled by sailboat to the U.S. from Europe. This raised awareness for her campaign to bring attention to the Climate Crisis. A huge boost to her profile came with the now-famous/historic speech at the U.N. in late September.

Leonardo DiCaprio is well-known for his dedication to environmental activism, and he hasn’t slowed down. Even in 1998, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to “restore balance to threatened ecosystems, ensuring long-term health and well-being for all Earth’s inhabitants.” So far, it has funded over 200 environmental projects and awarded 85 million euros in grants. He’s also spoken about the climate crisis at the Davos economic forum and with the United Nations.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently revealed that they decided to have only two children to help protect the environment against the “terrifying” effects of the climate crisis. The royal couple have also taken significant actions outside of their marriage to fight against the climate crisis.

Celebrities: Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffalo, Will and Jaden Smith, Emma Thompson, Martin Sheen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Radiohead, Robert Redford, Billie Eilish, Chris Hemsworth, Kerry Washington, Janelle Monáe, Chris Evans, James and Suzy Amis Cameron, David Attenborough, Matt Damon, Dave Matthews, Laurie David, Marshall Herskovitz, Alan and Cindy Horn, Norman and Lyn Lear, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ed Begley Jr., Adam McKay, Bill Nye, Gwyneth Paltrow, Pearl Jam, Kevin Reilly, Pharrell Williams, Shailene Woodley and more are all fighting hard to contribute towards positive change with the climate crisis using their public platforms.

Over 100 Celebrities Back XR in Open Letter – Dear Media: Yes, We’re Hypocrites, but…

Last week, Extinction Rebellion had over 100 high-profile climate activists sign an open letter to the media to change the way that we relate to the global climate crisis. This record celebrity involvement with possibly the most militant and radical of climate crisis movements shows that its growth potential is as yet untapped.

Among the notorious names are: the actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Capaldi, Ray Winstone, Jude Law, and Sienna Miller, and as well as the musicians Mel B, Adam Clayton, Bob Geldof, and Jarvis Cocker.

Extinction Rebellion praised all signatories: “it’s easy to call out people for being hypocrites, but braver to talk about transforming how we relate to the planet.” So far, the way that we’ve been talking about our relationship to the planet is that it is each individual person’s fault for contributing to the climate crisis and that we are simply not changing our lifestyles enough to reduce our collective carbon footprint. And while this is partly true, the greater issue is that individuals are essentially given no other choice but to perpetuate the fossil fuel industry that runs throughout every facet of our livelihood. Meanwhile it has become clear that those that have vested interests in those systems will never voluntarily relinquish power, even if that means the eventual extinction of all life on earth.

Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites,
you’re right. 

We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you – and everyone else – we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm. 

There is, however, a more urgent story that our profiles and platforms can draw attention to.

Life on earth is dying.  We are living in the midst of the 6th mass extinction.

OCTOBER 16, 2019 BY EXTINCTION REBELLION

The letter is essentially a statement against the mass media culture that calls out the hypocrisy of climate activists who have no choice but to participate in the toxic structures they aim to dismantle. It’s an innovative argument against these repetitive and unproductive cries of hypocrisy that get us nowhere but closer to our own looming extinction.

The letter draws attention to a deeper issue, much larger than, and clearly unsolvable by, addressing individual hypocrisy, and it points to an urgent problem that requires immediate unified action from our international governments and industry leaders.

XR – An International Rebellion, Calling for Immediate and Substantive Action

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international movement that aims to halt mass extinction, which is an increasing danger brought on by the climate crisis and global warming, and minimize the risk of social collapse through non-violent civil disobedience. So far, they have engaged protests in cities all around the world, including London, Dublin, Vancouver, and more to come.

Founders Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbook created Extinction Rebellion to bring people together to express collective power to bring about necessary ecological change. Their motto “Rebel for life” stems from the very real crisis that our world is under attack and we need to do something about it now.

The movement was formed just under a year ago, and it has sparked worldwide attention by highlighting the world’s imminent collapse. Their vision on their official website, rebellion.earth, states: “We rise in name of truth and withdraw our consent for ecocide, oppression and patriarchy.

We rise up for a world where power is shared for regeneration, repair and reconciliation.” Their logo symbolizes the current state of mass extinction: an hourglass in the middle of the earth highlighting that time is running out and the earth is dying. The black coloring is also intentional and represents the color of mourning.

Photo Vladimir Morozov XR Protestors at Black Rock in London
PHOTO / VLADIMIR MOROZOV / “BLACK ROCK IN LONDON, UK”

Meaningful Action Comes from Breaking the “Business As Usual” Mentality

In one form or another, most people can get behind the notion of doing “better” in regards to how we treat our planet, but Extinction Rebellion is taking that concept to another level: one of urgent action. Their stance is that our governments have failed us, and they continue to do little to nothing to address the climate crisis. In response, XR has taken a public and open defiance against the government, and they vow not to stop until their demands are met.

Their mass-coordinated events happen frequently, whether for inducting and training members regarding how to handle police presence, fundraising and organizing “rebel ringers”, facilitating global meditations, or targeting strategic locations for demonstrations. Their protest campaigns initially started in and around the UK, and now, even more are significantly being seen worldwide, in multiple countries and continents: XR is very much an international movement.

Their concept is to work outside our failed system because the government is currently unresponsive regarding what is truly happening to our planet. They do this by creating disruptions to the government sectors status quo, which is seen when XR shuts down roads, bridges, creates blockages, spills fake blood (the blood of our children), fake oil, or even super-gluing themselves to government buildings.

In whatever they do, their point is to make a drastic and bold statement that this is a planetary emergency. The disruptions are not meant to incite, but rather to maximize public exposure to garner more people to join the cause for change. Protesters are willing to uproot their lives and liberties, often getting arrested, just to join forces with others and call on those that can make actionable changes to save us and our future generations from a dying planet.

XR Extinction Actors on Escalator
PHOTO / YAZ ASHMAWI / “RED BRIGADE ON THE UNDERGROUND”

XR’s Demands for Earth Rescue:

Extinction Rebellion has 3 main demands, which also encapsulate the general demands of the entire climate action movement. The first is to “Tell the Truth.” Governments must stop denying or hiding the fact that there is a very real and threatening ecological crisis, and they must properly and honestly declare the climate emergency.

The second is to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by the year 2025, by reducing green house gasses and preventing losses in biodiversity.

And finally, to insure a lasting effect, the creation of a Citizen’s Assembly, which would include ordinary educated people to lead in the decision-making processes for enacting innovative climate and ecological justice.

These movements are a multifaceted phenomenon that will not fade away and could soon become the largest sociopolitical movement the world has ever seen. And with each non-coincidental catastrophic weather event, the backlash against the entrenched “fossil-fuel industrial complex” will grow in size and influence.

“Global warming causes major damage to the global economy and the natural world and engenders risks of catastrophic and irreversible outcomes”

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, 10TH OCTOBER 2019

The number and size of ‘in-your-face’ protests will also increase. It will soon be impossible to ignore the reality of the climate crisis, as it unfolds before our eyes, and more and more people around the world will recognize the threat of almost certain global extinction, if we do not take immediate action to change the underlying corrupt systems immediately.

Right now, there are countless scientific and technological advancements that are available to give us another choice to save ourselves and our planet, and yet, nothing is happening because the powers-that-be are too complacent or corrupt to act. They continue to hide behind the media’s ignorant cry of celebrity and activist hypocrisy thereby blocking any meaningful change.

The Time to Act is Way Overdue: The Thin Line between Survival and an Uncertain Future Existence is in Immediate Action

Since the industrial revolution, there has been a struggle escape the system that threatens our collective survival, and now we desperately need a way out. The climate IS changing, whether it manifests overtly by droughts, flooding, heat waves, storms, melting polar caps or any number of catastrophic events. The chosen path should be obvious: one that works with sustainable energy, ‘zero-waste’ innovations and ultimately finding ways to halt any further planetary abuse. 

“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” 

Sir David Attenborough, 3rd December 2018

The XR, along with other Climate Crisis Inspired movements will inevitably and unquestionably grow with each new extreme weather event, and this “battle” between those who are fighting for the planet and those who block progress will become the central issue of our time.

As a critical mass approaches, grass roots movements will increase in power and, hopefully, their influence will mark the beginning of a permanent change away from the human behaviors that created this crisis.


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