Our Story

On 31st October 2018, Extinction Rebellion assembled on Parliament Square in London to announce a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government. We were expecting a couple of hundred people. Instead, 1500 came to participate in peaceful civil disobedience. The energy was contagious! The next few weeks were a whirlwind. Six thousand of us converged on London to peacefully block five major bridges across the Thames. We planted trees in the middle of Parliament Square, and dug a hole there to bury a coffin representing our future. We super-glued ourselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace as we read a letter to the Queen. Our actions generated huge national and international publicity and, as news spread, our ideas connected with tens of thousands of people around the world. The XR project was resonating with a deeply felt need for community and solidarity. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” we chanted! Dozens of countries now have groups springing up, from the Solomon Islands to Australia, from Spain to South Africa, the US to India.

Extinction Rebellion New York was born in December of 2018, we truly believe that XR is a chance for us to rise up and fight for our lives. We declared a rebellion by marching down 5th Avenue, disrupting business as usual in the busy Rockefeller Plaza by blocking the avenue, staging die ins along the plaza and on the ice (in the shape of the extinction symbol) and hanging a banner declaring climate change = mass murder. Since then we have taken action outside of City Hall, joined the youth marching for their future, and created a huge disruption in front of the New York Times.

So what’s next? We are working relentlessly, building our movement in preparation for phase two, an international rebellion that will begin in the fall 2019. So come and join us. Rebel for life. For the planet. For our children’s children’s futures. There is so much work to be done.

Our Strategy

At the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary- we are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change.

We aren’t focussed on traditional systems like petitions or writing to our representatives and more likely to take risks (e.g. arrest / jail time). We don’t want or need everyone to get arrested – for some this is not a good idea – but we do want everyone involved to support civil disobedience as a tool.

We are promoting mass “above the ground”, or in other words- in full public view, civil disobedience. This means economic disruption- to shake the current political system- and civil disruption- to raise awareness. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience that this causes.

We have made some decisions about security. We have made a strategic decision to publish a certain amount of information about what we are doing. Except for the case where a small group is trying to do a specific action that needs the element of surprise, we generally don’t try to be secure in our communications about plans. We expect that we have been infiltrated by those without our best interests at heart and suggest people bear this in mind.

We are about political change, not personal change (though we welcome the latter).

We are completely nonviolent, our actions are done in full public view and we take responsibility for them. We have an Action Consensus which outlines how we work together on actions.

Read more about why protest works.

Our Structure

We organize in small groups. These groups are connected in a complex web that is constantly evolving as we grow and learn. We are working to build a movement that is participatory, decentralised, and inclusive.

The structure aims to empower anybody to act as part of XR, so long as they agree to follow our ten core principles (see below). You can read our Self-Organizing System(or XR Constitution) for more information. We are seeking a balance between being able to act quickly in response to fast-changing situations and being able to integrate the collective wisdom of multiple perspectives when needed.

Our Principles and values

All are welcome who want to adhere to our principles and values

  1. we have a shared vision of change

    Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.

  2. we set our mission on what is necessary

    Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change - using ideas such as "Momentum-driven organizing" to achieve this.

  3. we need a regenerative culture

    Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

  4. we openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system

    Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

  5. we value reflecting and learning

    Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

  6. we welcome everyone and every part of everyone

    Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

  7. we actively mitigate for power

    Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.

  8. we avoid blaming and shaming

    We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

  9. we are a non-violent network

    Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.

  10. we are based on autonomy and decentralisation

    We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.