17.3 Cultural Transformation: Extinction Rebellion

Author: Fiona Finnigan

ABSTRACT: The Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement is a group that advocates and protests on behalf of getting the government to act on the climate and ecological emergency.


Extinction Rebellion (XR) was founded in London England, on October 31, 2018, after a demonstration on Parliament Square announcing a rebellion against the UK government. Extinction Rebellion is a global organization that exercises nonviolent civil disobedience to stop mass extinction and the risk of social collapse. The group has three core demands: (1) tell the truth, (2) zero emissions by 2025, and (3) citizens assembly.

The organization follows 10 guiding principles:

  1. Have a shared vision of change
  2. Set their mission on what is necessary
  3. Regenerative culture
  4. Openly challenge themselves and this toxic system
  5. Value reflecting and learning
  6. Welcome everyone and every part of everyone
  7. Actively mitigate for power
  8. Avoid blaming and shaming
  9. A nonviolent network
  10. Based on autonomy and decentralization

Extinction Rebellion is a networked, decentralized, grassroots movement, with 1150 groups in 75 different countries currently active and are currently gaining followers. XR has taken swift action in the three years they have been operating. They are largely credited for compelling legislation, demanding justice from government bodies, and bringing the topic of climate change to the public conversation. Anyone who takes acts with the same goals of XR’s, can claim to do it in the name of XR. The Economist described the group as using the tenets of holacracy to operate more effectively with strong state opposition.

Not everyone is in favor of the XR movement. One of the Stansted 15, Ben Smoke, wrote in the guardian a criticism of the organization’s tactic of mass arrest in demonstrations. He argues that by having XR support the legal fees and court cases of demonstrators takes away funding and resources for the movement. Along with this argument against XR, 34% of the UK is strongly opposed to the XR movement, with another 20% of the population somewhat opposed. Although these trends are majorly within the senior, and adult age range, they are concerning, and make the argument that Extinction Rebellion isn’t actually what the people want.


“CIRCLES.” Extinction Rebellion Derby, https://rebellionderby.earth/circles

“The Extinction Rebellion Scorecard: What Did It Achieve?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Apr. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/25/extinction-rebellion-assessing-the-impact

“How the Anarchists of Extinction Rebellion Got so Well Organised.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, https://www.economist.com/britain/2019/10/10/how-the-anarchists-of-extinction-rebellion-got-so-well-organised

What Is Xr. rebellion.global/about-us/.


Fiona Finnigan is a second year Fashion Communications student at Ryerson University. She aims to use her knowledge of the fashion industry to ignite change through fashion journalism.

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