The newly-formed Campbell River chapter of Extinction Rebellion met downtown on Saturday, Aug. 21, to demand climate action.
Extinction Rebellion is a “decentralised” and non-partisan movement employing “non-violent direct action” to convince governments to act on the “‘climate and ecological emergency,” per the group’s website.
With the federal election campaign underway, now is the time to raise awareness about the movement and find politicians willing to take on the problem of climate change, said organizer Murray Etty.
“We’ve got to get politicians to wake up to the crisis that we’re facing,” said Etty. “We can now elect climate champions who will work in Parliament to meet this crisis head on.”
The goal for Saturday’s event — which coincided with similar events in Victoria, Vancouver and other Canadian cities — was to kick-off the organization’s fall campaign, explained Don Goodeve, another organizer. As a first step for the group, a half-dozen participants put up signs and banners around Shopper’s Row in downtown Campbell River to make their position seen and heard.
British Columbia’s record-breaking fire season and summer heat waves cannot be ignored in the context of climate change, said Goodeve.
“There are so many people who are losing so much because of climate change,” he said. “We know 570 deaths have been attributed to the heat wave that came through, but there wasn’t even a heat emergency declared. That’s because then the politicians actually have to admit something is seriously wrong.”
The event follows the Aug. 9 release of a Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the physical basis of climate change, the first part of the group’s Sixth Assessment Report.
“We have been told in no uncertain terms by the IPCC we have to halve investments by 2030 to stand even a 50 per cent change of holding heating below 1.5 degrees centigrade,” he said. “There is change happening — far, far faster than it’s been expected.”
Despite this, government policies largely remain unchanged, he said.
“We know that this is code red for humanity, and yet, we have politicians going into the same cycle,” he said. “We have investments still going on in fossil fuel infrastructure as if it can remain as business as usual.”
Goodeve implored others to get involved, by “getting out on the streets and actually demand change.”
Now is the time for change, he said.
“This is beyond an emergency — this is a catastrophe that’s unfolding, he said. “Government is failing to protect its citizens. That is why we’re rebelling.”