Catherine Love is a freelance arts journalist.
Introduction to XR York
Welcome to the Extinction Rebellion York blog. For those who are new to the movement, here’s a little bit about who we are and what we do…
Extinction Rebellion York is one of the many local groups around the world that make up Extinction Rebellion, an international apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the climate and ecological emergency. We recognise that we are now living in the midst of climate crisis and that not enough is being done by those in power.
Extinction Rebellion has three simple demands for the UK government:
- Tell the truth about the climate crisis and declare a climate and ecological emergency.
- Act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Go beyond politics by forming a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice, whose decisions will guide government action on the climate crisis.
Extinction Rebellion is a decentralised movement that organises in small groups. As a local group, Extinction Rebellion York acts autonomously in line with the movement’s core principles and values, which include challenging ourselves and our toxic system, creating a regenerative culture, and building a movement that is welcoming of everyone. The full list of values, as well as a whole host of FAQs, can be found on the main Extinction Rebellion website.
At the heart of Extinction Rebellion is the use of non-violent direct action as a means of driving change and a commitment to equitable, democratic participation. The three demands deliberately don’t set out any specific policies, because it is up to Citizens’ Assemblies to decide how we should respond to the climate and ecological emergency. While Extinction Rebellion’s members have a range of individual ideas, interests and political affiliations, the movement as a whole does not dictate what the path to zero-carbon should look like.
Here in Extinction Rebellion York, we welcome anyone in or around the city who wants to take action on climate crisis, ecological breakdown and biodiversity loss. Media coverage of Extinction Rebellion has tended to focus on arrests, but there are many different ways for people to get involved. We’re conscious that for many reasons, including the institutional racism in our policing and legal system, not everyone is able to put themselves in a position where they might get arrested. You don’t need to be willing or able to be arrested to join Extinction Rebellion; it’s just as important that we have people working on arrestee support, logistical organisation, wellbeing, arts, food – the list goes on.
Extinction Rebellion York was set up by coordinators Merry Dickinson and Mark Matthews in October 2018. We’re still a young movement and we’re constantly learning, growing and reflecting. So far, Extinction Rebellion York has organised several actions and events, as well as joining the International Rebellion in London in April 2019. We have staged a Funeral for our Future, successfully demanded that City of York Council declare a Climate Emergency, and joined with the local community to create a collective vision of a zero-carbon York.
Extinction Rebellion York organises through a network of working groups. These include: Actions and Logistics, Arts and Music, Communities, Regenerative Culture and Wellbeing, Media and Messaging and Finance. Each of these groups operates autonomously and feeds back to the wider group.
If you want to get involved, feel free to come along to one of our weekly meetings. These are usually held on a Tuesday at 7.30pm. If you can’t make it to the meetings, say hi on social media, sign up to one of our working groups, or get in touch with Extinction Rebellion York’s coordinators.