Extinction Rebellion, The Big One: Chris Packham and Caroline Lucas among speakers for mass demonstration
Extinction Rebellion’s demands include implementing “a fair society that includes reparation” as part of its four-day event, The Big One.
and live on Freeview channel 276
Taking place from Friday (April 21) to Monday (April 24), the group is hoping for 100,000 attendees to head to Westminster in protest over the government’s current response to the climate crisis.
Backed by more than 200 organisations, and with nearly 27,700 people indicating they will attend on the group’s website, the event will consist of a range of speakers, musical performances and workshops, and will be both family-friendly and accessible.
Extinction Rebellion has said The Big One will involve “non-violent, direct action”, with no roadblocks, locking-on or glueing to anything, and no paint thrown at buildings, in a clear divergence from the group’s standard disruptive tactics.
Why is Extinction Rebellion organising The Big One?
The core demands behind The Big One are for “a citizen-led democracy to end the fossil fuel era”, and for “a fair society that includes reparation”, according to Extinction Rebellion’s website.
These are in addition to the group’s three core demands present throughout all of their work; tell the truth, act now, and decide together.
The event follows the recently-released synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which last month warned the world will blow past 1.5C of global warming by 2030 if we continue emitting at our current rate.
Anna Hyde, of Extinction Rebellion UK, said: “The climate, ecological and biodiversity emergencies are not distant threats – they are happening right now, unevenly affecting many – ultimately affecting everyone, and life on earth is at stake.
“Covered up by corrupt media, those in power continue to profit from the crises unravelling around us. The fossil fuel era must end, and restoration of the world must begin.
“This is where solidarity comes in.”
Who will be speaking at The Big One?
Ranging from scientists to journalists and musicians, Extinction Rebellion’s line-up features more than 50 speakers and 30 acts over the four days.
Some of the big-name attractions announced include:
- Caroline Lucas, former Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavillion since 2010
- Chris Packham, author and TV personality
- Sir David King, head of the climate crisis advisory group
- George Monbiot, author and columnist at titles including the Guardian
What else is being organised for The Big One?
As well as the speakers and acts, Extinction Rebellion is also organising a series of workshops, pickets and public demonstrations over the four days, with each revolving around a different theme.
- Friday - Unit to Survive: Westminster will be filled with flags, banners and people.
- Saturday - Earth Day: A celebration and march in support of biodiversity.
- Sunday - Running Out of Time!: The Big One will intersect with the London Marathon, with support for those running for climate-related causes.
- Monday - Choose Your Future: More pickets and gatherings outside Westminster due to Parliament returning.
Dr Caroline Vincent of scientists for XR said: “Disruptive protest has done so much to change the conversation around the climate and ecological emergency over the last four years; more and more people are waking up to realities of the climate crisis, and more and more are saying they want immediate and decisive action.
“The reality is however, that as the general public becomes more concerned, the government in the UK backtracks on its already meagre climate promises, sanctioning a new coal mine in Cumbria at the end of 2022.
“So, the government isn’t listening and the only way that changes is by all of these newly concerned people recognising their own power and stepping into active resistance.
“At the same time, the government is clamping down on the right to protest and criminalising those raising the alarm.
“In the current circumstances it’s clear that only larger numbers of people taking peaceful action together over prolonged periods will prove impossible to ignore.”
How can I get involved?
For those looking to get involved with The Big One, the easiest thing to do is to signal your intention to attend, with a section on Extinction Rebellion’s website showing how many people have said they will be heading to the event.
There is also a Crowdfunder page being run to help support local groups and fund legal support for volunteers, which is currently at nearly £230,000.
Finally, there are a range of volunteering opportunities available, all of which can be viewed on the group’s website.