We’ve seen quite a lot of comment on various social media platforms about Saturday’s Procession for the Planet in Lewes. While the overwhelming majority of the comments have been supportive, we felt it important to address a couple of issues.
Firstly, concerns about Saturday’s march being an illegal gathering. We’re pleased to confirm that this is definitely NOT the case – we’ve spoken with the local police and they have confirmed they do not view it as such, provided we observe social distancing. While we feel it’s essential to keep protesting even during these unprecedented times, due to continued government inaction on the climate and environmental emergency, we’re acutely aware of the need to do so in a responsible and safe manner.
Secondly, we’d like to explain why we’re staging a funeral-procession type event at a time when people are dying from a terrible disease, and relatives have been unable to attend funerals. Experts broadly agree that Covid-19 is likely to have spread from animals to people as a result of human activity, as agriculture, forestry, mining and oil push into previously unpopulated areas, destroying animals’ natural habitats and bringing them into proximity with us. If we don’t change our behaviour we’re very likely to see new – and potentially worse – pandemics in future. This march is a tribute to the millions who have lost their lives as a result of the Emergency – be that through disease, dirty air, wildfires, storms or some other event – the billions of other living creatures that have died (1bn animals in the recent Australian wildfires), and a lament for the Earth itself.
We were very pleased that the vast majority of commenters agreed with Extinction Rebellion’s aims. It’s our methods, specifically civil disobedience, that seem of concern to some. To those who disagree with our methods we say; none of us want to rebel. We’ve all voted, petitioned, lobbied and marched, and none of this has worked. The case for rebellion is stronger than ever. Despite fine words of building back better and greener, the UK Government’s post-Covid environmental spending pledges currently stand at £3bn. This is so inadequate it’s being challenged in the courts. Until we see the sort of concerted political action required to address the Emergency, we feel we have no choice but to continue.
Finally, we were delighted to see a lot of constructive comments and suggestions. Rest assured we’ll be reflecting on all of these. We’re far from perfect, because we’re only human; we’ve made mistakes and will continue to do so, but we want to ensure we learn from them, and we truly value input and criticism from people outside our movement. If anyone would like to contact us directly with thoughts, you’re very welcome to email them to us on firstname.lastname@example.org – if they’re constructive, informed and a genuine attempt to engage with us, we promise we’ll reply!