Newsletter March 2020

Love and rage in the time of coronavirus

Hi rebels

Firstly, we hope that each and every one of you, and your loved ones, are staying safe and well in these strange and frightening times.

Our first general meeting via Zoom call will be on Monday 30th March (agenda to follow). This follows hard on the heels of the first Zoom coordinators’ meeting, which took place on Monday evening. Suffice to say it was a bit different! It felt very strange not to be able do all the things that mean so much yet we normally take for granted – shaking hands, giving one another a hug, sharing our food. But it was largely successful – the meeting went off without any technical hitches, and there was plenty of constructive discussion. We think we can speak for everyone when we say it just felt great to be able to see our fellow rebels, and to talk to them about everything.

There was much talk about how we felt grateful to be living somewhere that was close to nature and away from the epicentres of the coronavirus crisis; about how we were worried for family and friends, particularly those in the vulnerable category; about the uncertainly of where this crisis is heading and how things will ultimately turn out. From an XR perspective, views ranged from despondency about how we could remain relevant in the current situation, to hopefulness. As one rebel said, if XR and the school strikers and all the other environmental groups in the world joined forces and worked for years, we could never hope to have such an impact on the airline industry as we’ve seen over the past weeks.

There were many questions asked. These included; how do we continue to rebel at a time when we can’t have mass gatherings? How do we continue to recruit when our traditional methods have been curtailed? How do we all keep each other motivated and focussed, able to look beyond the current emergency to the other and far greater crisis that’s looming? We need your help to try and find the answers! So we very much hope to see you on Monday.

There was also a lot of talk about precursors. We’re sure you’ve thought about this as well. If you haven’t read it, George Monbiot is very articulate on this recent Guardian article.

It’s potentially a very powerful argument. As a species, we should be able to stop coronavirus, but we won’t be able to stop the climate and ecological emergency if it moves beyond a certain point. But how do we frame the argument? We must remember that people are dying and will continue to die. That as oil prices plummet and planes stay grounded, many, many people who work in those industries, or are affected by them in some way (which means most of us) are terrified of losing their livelihoods. We must be sure to strike the right tone, and not to draw false equivalencies. In short, the answer has to be – we frame it carefully.

Love and health