WHAT IS A CITIZEN’S ASSEMBLY?
A Citizens' Assembly brings together everyday people from all walks of life to investigate, discuss, and make recommendations on an issue. Members of the Assembly are selected in a lottery process to ensure they aren’t beholden to any political party or special interest, and to ensure they actually reflect the whole country. This means that anyone can look at a Citizens’ Assembly and see people who look like them, live like them, and share their concerns. With the aid of skilled facilitators, this representative group of everyday people works through information from a wide range of experts and stakeholders. They talk through different views and opinions and find common ground.
Citizens’ Assemblies are used around the world to address important issues that politicians are unwilling, or just plain afraid to touch. In recent years, Ireland has used Citizens' Assemblies to successfully break the deadlock on two controversial issues: same-sex marriage and abortion. The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly informed public debate and provided politicians cover to make the necessary changes. The Irish Citizens’ Assembly has also called for Making Ireland a Leader in Tackling Climate Change (scroll down to the Recommendations section to see their conclusions on this issue), and now the Irish Parliament is considering banning oil and gas exploration.
THE CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY ON THE CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL CRISIS
This is an emergency. The challenges are big, wide-ranging and complex. And solutions are needed urgently.
Extinction Rebellion believes that part of the problem is the way that government operates.
Electoral politics has proved incapable of making the long-term decisions needed to deal with the climate and ecological crisis:
Politicians can’t see past their next election campaign
Politicians are pressured by their parties, and parties are influenced by lobbyists, sensationalist corporate media, and billionaire donors.
Even those politicians who want to represent the public tend to rely on opinion polls, which capture uninformed, offhand opinions
To break this deadlock, Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to commission a Citizens' Assembly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency to create a roadmap for the US to navigate this crisis.
Note: Citizens' Assemblies are not the same as People's Assemblies! You can find out the difference between them on our Assemblies page.