This is a love letter to Extinction Rebellion.
A movement that I devoted the last year of my life to. Lost jobs over. Got arrested with. Put everything on hold for. A movement that I believed in. A movement that believed in me. A movement that changed the debate. And that now needs to change.
It is also a letter addressed to those who have criticised us. An apology. A response. And, ultimately, an invitation.
I know that some of my friends will find this letter far too critical. Others will find it far too lenient. Either way, I don’t really mind. I hope, ultimately, it is honest. I am not writing it to appease or to placate anybody. Both sides are right about some things, and both sides are wrong about others.
But I hope we can agree on one thing. This year has changed everything.
The School Strikes. The Sunrise Movement. Zero Hour. The minority world has finally woken up to something the majority world has been trying to tell us for decades. The world is on fire. People are dying. Children are starving. The fossil fuel companies are refusing to change. And we need to fight back.
In April, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency, following a fortnight of continuous protest from Extinction Rebellion. A mass campaign of non-violent civil disobedience which saw roads blocked, roundabouts occupied, and bridges transformed into gardens.
It was, more than anything, a challenge. A challenge to the current system. A warning to our politicians and to our leaders that if they could not respond to the climate crisis with the seriousness it demands — if they were not prepared to imagine a future without death or destruction, without inequality or oppression — then we would.
Last month, the Labour Party made the first step towards answering this call for climate and ecological justice. It still has a very long way to go, but the changes in policy are incredibly encouraging. At its annual conference in Brighton, party members and trade unions worked hand in hand to pass a radical and progressive policy package to tackle the climate and ecological emergency: the Socialist Green New…