Since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) October 2018 report, the international community responded with outrage as government officials and corporations failed to acknowledge the need for extreme environmental action. According to the IPCC report, society has 12, now 11, years before climate change and the actions towards the Earth become irreversible. Therefore, the world will experience food shortages, dying of coral reefs, increased extinction of species by the hour, economic decline, and a multitude of other horrific effects.
Groups like the United Kingdom’s “Extinction Rebellion” have been protesting across Europe and Australia by stopping traffic and protesting at government and corporate conventions. Initially taking off this past spring, the group aims to create a social disruption that forces policymakers and corporations to make sustainable change, as stated by group leaders to ABC. Ultimately, the group’s goal is to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2025. To do this, they blockaded bridges across London and Melbourne, as well as pressured GreenPeace to take a harder stance against these officials.
Additionally, this group takes inspiration from the Freedom Riots and the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, believing that civil disobedience is the best way to create change. This strategy held throughout the past several days as busy streets throughout Europe and Australia have been blocked. According to TIME, over 450 people have been arrested during this two day period for their acts of protest.
Boris Johnson, the UK’s Prime Minister, responding to these events by calling the protesters “uncooperative crusties,” a slang term for eco-protesters. This does little to violate their cause and will likely invigorate the group.
Nevertheless, these actions do not stop in Europe. In Brisbane, protesters chained themselves to intersections and others locked themselves in barrels of concrete for demonstration. Another individual hung from a harness on the Brisbane Story Bridge branding the “Climate Emergency” flag. The majority of these individuals were taken into police custody by the end of the protest as reported by Newsday.
Through these actions, it is clear the climate emergency is more than a social or environmental issue, but rather an international security crisis as it threatens global well-being. Additionally, these protests prove that environmentalism is not just for “treehuggers,” but those fighting for animals, society, and the environment alike.
Sustainability and environmentalism are extremely intersectional, as it extends across business, agricultural, social, and production lines. This is a movement for everyone regardless of age or profession. Participation in this movement does not require a mass demonstration, but your voice. The most powerful thing we as individuals have. As headlines read, “hottest summer on record,” use your voice to say, “this will be the coolest summer for decades to come, if we do not stop it.” Prove your voice to be powerful and take action.