The takeaway from the meeting members of the Hants-Kings members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) held, according to XR member David Mangle, was that “we need to be upstanders, not bystanders.”
The presentations at the event and the group itself are focused on human extinction – and how to avoid it in light of the likelihood of it increasing, due to climate change.
That message echoed in three presentations from members, informing guests gathered at the Kentville Recreation Centre, that the climate of earth is changing – and many of its species, including humans are in danger because of that.
The presentation was a call to action for what XR members consider to be a critical-mass-moment, appended by climate science, along with a rough game plan of how to achieve their goals, all in the hope of avoiding extinction.
Extinction Rebellion member Gar MacDonald noted that rather than despair in the face of the damning statistics and alarming trends as climate change ravages ecosystems and brings humanity to the brink of extinction, grief is the basis from which action can best proceed.
“We’re all in this together, and uncomfortable in our own way with what’s happening,” MacDonald said.
In their talk, the members of XR spoke about their principles and values. These include creating change that they don’t see happening in the current state of affairs; mobilizing 3.5 per cent of the population to achieve that change; creating a more resilient, adaptable “regenerative” culture with a focus on learning, being inclusive in the process, avoiding toxic and violent means and challenging established power.
This is in the face of damning climate evidence that the world has irrevocably warmed, and serious action must be taken to stop it from worsening, MacDonald noted.
MacDonald alluded to theories such as the albedo effect, which states that as the ice caps melt, it will accelerate and exacerbate warming, through its lessening ability to reflect away sunlight with brighter surfaces.
“In the life time of children today, we are heading toward catastrophic temperature rises,” MacDonald said, noting that in the coming decades water shortages, food security diminution, flooding and extreme weather events and increasing ocean acidity are among the expected existential threats to civilization.
MacDonald noted the information they are using to come up with their plans has the consensus of the scientific communities of 195 countries who are members of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and 97 per cent of all the papers in every scientific journal in the world on the subject.
After a moment of symbolic silence, Mangle spoke to guests, with strategies on how to mobilize.
The main strategy he advocated for was non-violent, but disruptive action, because, “I don’t think any government are going to (take action on climate change) without us pushing hard enough.”
Mangle spoke about the demands XR has, which include a reduction in carbon emissions to zero over the next decades; investments in green energy and technology to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere; overhauls to transportation, and agriculture and massive change to restore and protect carbon sinks such as the Amazon rainforest and the earth’s oceans.
“Those who are getting wealthy while much of the world is not aren’t going to make these changes without a really big push,” he said.
That big push is necessary, Mangle emphasized, so that people realize how dire the situation is.
Mangle said hope, at this stage, is useless and that concerted, disruptive, non-violent civil disobedience is the only way to save civilization from a march to extinction.