Global Action to End Fossil Fuels

September 15 & 17

Fridays for the Future is calling for a global climate strike September 15th and a national coalition (including XRUS members) is organizing a massive march in NYC on September 17th to highlight the climate crisis and demand that the Biden administration declare a climate emergency and implement policies to end fossil fuel extractions and exports, and stop the financing of fossil fuels.

Our west coast XR collaboration, is calling on those not going to NYC to organize statewide actions that will encourage Governors to put pressure on the Biden administration, prioritize strong statewide action, and in the case of Oregon, to put pressure on the treasury to divest pension funds from fossil fuels.

We are joining together with Youth Climate Strikes around the state, Divest Oregon, 350 and many others for planning. We hope to draw in as many environmental and social justice organizations as possible.  

Mark your calendars for September 15th  as our statewide day of action in conjunction with FFF’s global climate strike.  To join the coalition or be involved in the action planning, write to us at info@xrpdx.org .

Bomb Trains and Butterflies

[Patti Robrahn, an active member of XRPDX and of the affinity group XRArt, gave this speech on April 29, 2023 across from the gates of Zenith Energy as part of the “Bloom Not Doom” action during The Spring Rebellion.]

Once I became a mother, the reality of our changing climate started to sink in. To be honest, I don’t know how much I paid attention until I had created two new people who were going to inhabit the future. I struggled with the sadness of realizing I’d brought my daughters into a world where they would feel this great impact of climate change, without having made the decisions that led to it. While that is the way each generation leads to the next, I thought, how utterly unfair of us to see the problem, and do little more than shrug our shoulders in hopelessness. My kids were at least going to know that I did what I could to move the needle of progress. 

So, in the fall of 2021, I got involved with Extinction Rebellion. I have a design background, so I figured I could help paint signs or something. I soon learned about what’s been going on out here at the CEI Hub – how Zenith’s (and other corporations’) unreinforced oil tanks sit here on land that will liquify in an earthquake, all the while releasing unfiltered, toxic chemicals into the air our children and grandchildren breathe, and how the dirtiest oil in the country casually rolls through Portland neighborhoods.

I found myself juxtaposing a bomb train with a butterfly. Little did I know my interest in protest art would soon lead me to create images, slogans, poems, a soundtrack, and a street performance – things I hadn’t even imagined I could do. And in the midst of it all, I got to work side by side with some people whose fiery badassery still inspires me. 

On June 4, 2022, we marched across the bridge [from Highway 30] and to the doorstep of Zenith with our message. The choice was clear then, and remains so now – we can accept the DOOM that’s been forced upon us by the failure of our city leaders, or we can tell Zenith to get the hell out of our backyard! Let’s get ready to restore this land and let it BLOOM!

This isn’t just the work of activists – every member of the community has skills and interests that can advance the effort, if only they choose to share them. Folksinger Joan Baez said that “Action is the antidote to despair,” and that has been true for me.


What are you good at? 

That’s what we need.

Together we will restore this land and let it BLOOM!

Spring Rebellion Sample Letter to Editor

[Please adapt and personalize this sample letter to the editor and send it to your local newspaper or neighborhood association newsletter.]

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on March 20 we must stop new oil, gas, and coal development now. Global temperatures will stop rising if we slash heat-trapping emissions, starting now. Here in Portland and Oregon, our public institutions and private corporations must step up to the task. Extinction Rebellion PDX, with other allied organizations, is challenging them to do that.  

We are launching a three-part Spring Rebellion campaign. First, along with Third Act, we are demanding that banks, specifically Wells Fargo among many others, divest themselves from fossil fuel companies. Second, in support of OPAL (Organizing People/Activating Leaders) Environmental Justice Oregon, we are demanding that TriMet work toward making public transportation (buses and light rail) fareless in order to encourage ridership and thus reduce emissions by private vehicles. And third, we are continuing our effort with others to shut down Zenith Energy, the fossil fuel storage and transshipment facility that sits on the Willamette River in an earthquake-vulnerable liquefaction zone in NW Portland.  

Time is running out. To get the details of and join us for our late April actions, go to our website at xrpdx.org.

[Image credit: annie cabeckstany]

Book Review: Fighting in a World on Fire

Fighting in a World on Fire is an adaptation, for a younger audience, of Andreas Malm’s How to Blow up a Pipeline by Jimmy and Llewyn Whipps. Fighting in a World on Fire is a call for the climate movement to become more militant, to use tactics like property destruction and violence against the fossil fuel industry. It outlines the history of recent large-scale movements and rebellions, and shows that they weren’t as nonviolent as we’d like to think they were. Discussion concerns past and current movements’ use of pipeline destruction, and the question is raised: if we’ve blown up pipelines for other reasons, why not for the climate crisis? 

Peppered with history, biographies, facts, and excerpts from speeches, the book is well-written and informed. Someone who knows very little about the history or science behind the climate movement could pick this up, learn a lot, and comprehend it with ease, which is what the adaptors aimed for by targeting a young adult audience. 

Capitalism funds the climate crisis. We cannot rely on our governments and the ultra wealthy to save us. We also cannot blame the consumers and must place blame on the producers of the problem. At this point in the climate movement, these are things we know. Common knowledge.

Malm’s argument is that the ways that the broader climate movement is going about targeting those causing the problem – those same governments, the ultra wealthy, and the producing corporations – are not and will not be effective because we’re relying on those people to care about us little folk. And they don’t and they won’t. So looking back on history, we must incite fear into them. Fear that they are not above the problem. And the way Malm says we should go about this is with a more militant arm of the climate movement, with violence. 

How do we define violence? This question is discussed at length in the book, from many points of view including pacifism, morality, and theology. XRPDX has been discussing this too. We’re part of an organization committed to non violence, it’s our ninth principle: “WE ARE A NON-VIOLENT NETWORK, Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.” But how do we define violence? Is wheat pasting property damage? Some would argue so. The murals that many activists paint could be damaged property. And XRUK’s smashing of bank windows without a doubt falls under the label. 

Now, Malm is not advocating for violence against individuals or actions that could harm human beings. But property destruction, stopping the fossil fuel production at its source, that’s what is being proposed. He goes on to say that “righteous property destruction falls within the boundaries of non-violence.”

I will say, this “what is violence” discussion, although very well-written and thought provoking, felt like the book’s weakest point. No two people are ever going to fully agree to what violence is, and by rehashing the question over and over felt like valuable pages could have been used on other points, or perhaps on tactics, rallying cries, or building the hope that is needed to incite long-term action. 

While reading, this struck me as a very European book. The author himself is Swedish and mostly centers European action and activism. There is brief discussion on the political climate in the US, but not enough to warrant endangering folks in our prison system. 

After witnessing the public’s reaction to the property destruction during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, I found that my gut reaction was outright rejection of the arguments put forth by Malm. He acknowledges this too. Malm, a Swede, has a different view of property destruction than those in the US, where “intolerance for violence committed by social movements is at its highest.” So looking further, past the initial claim that non-violence isn’t working fast enough, the proposal to use violent tactics against the fossil fuel industry is tempting. I was reminded of my high school AP Environmental Science class’s reaction to learning about dams’ impact on salmon populations. Then the cry of “let’s just go blow them up” didn’t seem too radical. So why should it be now?  

Does this book inspire folks into action? I’m sure for some it will. But for others, the disparagement of the current climate movement and the heavy focus on climate doom may spark climate guilt and grief, emotions that we know are not productive to action. I found myself feeling this way, that all the work we do and have done is pointless and futile, and had to take a step back and remind myself that we are doing something. And if you’re looking for a positive look on Extinction Rebellion, do not look here. There is valuable, but heavy, critique of the XR movement in these pages. 

Is this a good book? Yes. It’s well worth the read, and for us activists who are deeply entrenched in XR and nonviolent civil disobedience, hearing from a different point of view is incredibly valuable. It’s a well researched, well-written, good book. Is it an easy or truly enjoyable read? Maybe. It definitely has that powerful mix of love, outrage, despair, hope, and energy that climate books contain. If you have a young person in your life who is involved in the climate movement, you might want to suggest this book. 

I was kindly provided a copy to review by the editors, but that does not impact my review in any way. You can find a copy for yourself at Multnomah County Library here, or at Powell’s here.

And you can find Malm’s original here, and here.

No LUCS for Zenith: Public Testimony to Council

[Harlan Shober and annie capestany testified to the Portland City Council on February 8, 2023.]

Harlan’s testimony:

Hello, Mayor Wheeler and Council members. My name is Harlan Shober.

I was in this room when City Council voted to ban expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. Then I watched Zenith expand its capacity many times over – all without proper permits. Last year when they needed a Land Use Compatibility Statement, you recognized that their operations don’t fit with Portland’s plan, and you denied the LUCS. Zenith appealed, but they lost at every legal turn.

Then, in what to many of us felt like a sneaky move, you snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and granted Zenith a LUCS based on their promise to convert to renewables in five years. Why? Regular citizens have to conclude that your real loyalties belong to big business. All the testimony from neighborhood associations, social justice groups, congregations, and climate organizations counts for nothing. It looks like your real marching orders come from the Portland Business Alliance and Zenith’s lawyers at Stoel Rives.

You say that issuing a LUCS is a standard administrative function and that you’re not required to involve the public. But that’s disingenuous at best. There was a pattern of consultation and the expectation of an open process. You showed further bad faith on January 17th at the scheduled meeting with Commissioner Ryan. Our group, strictly limited to four people, was confronted by more than 10 city employees. Time was arbitrarily limited to 30 minutes. Our questions weren’t answered. Stop trying to outmaneuver the public. You’re supposed to work for us, not against us.

The stakes are high. From Lac-Megantic to Mosier to the unfolding disaster in Ohio we know that rail tank cars derail and explode. Our own CEI Hub Seismic Risk Analysis is unequivocal. Fuel storage along the Willamette is a catastrophe spring-loaded and waiting to happen. We know that when profits come from weapons, tobacco, oxycodone and petroleum, corporations cannot do other than drive all of us over the cliff – if we let them. Don’t let them. Stop caving into the big money. Partner with your constituents. Rescind the LUCS.

We have cardboard gavels to present to the council, with messages written on them. These gavels also represent oil train cars because the council is erroneously relinquishing their power to the fossil fuel companies, instead of recognizing that the power lies in the people’s hands.


annie’s testimony:

Good morning, thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I am annie capestany of SE Portland (speaking in place of Lynn Handlin). I use the pronouns she/her. I am a member of Extinction Rebellion, 350PDX and the Scrub the Hub coalition.

I will get right to the point: the City must rescind the LUCS (Land Use Compatibility Statement) that was erroneously granted to Zenith Energy in October by Commissioner Dan Ryan. We must clean up the mess he made before Zenith makes a dangerous, deadly mess of our Willamette River.

In addition to rescinding the LUCS, the Scrub the Hub coalition has two other demands:

1) the city should immediately schedule a public hearing about the LUCS and give Portlanders the opportunity to share their opinions on Zenith’s operations. A decision of such importance should have ample public input;


2) this is directed to Commissioner Rubio: you are now overseeing the Bureau of Development Services. You have been a climate champion in the past and we look forward to working with you to shut Zenith down. Our coalition has requested a meeting with you, and we have not gotten a response. We have sent our questions via email, but we have not gotten answers. We had a brief meeting with Dan Ryan in January with a surprise appearance by you, but the meeting was dominated by condescending lectures from staff members and then was unexpectedly cut short. We still have no answers.

When we get a proper meeting with you, Commissioner Rubio, we will have many questions. And they all deserve answers. Here is a small sample:                           

• Given impending earthquakes and possible derailments, how do renewable fuels address the dangers spelled out in the CEI HUB seismic risk analysis? Don’t renewables still burn, spill, pollute and kill? 

• The city’s Comprehensive Plan has explicit language regarding community involvement, stating that the city works as a “genuine partner with all Portland communities and interests, providing meaningful opportunities to participate in and influence all stages of planning and decision-making.” Knowing that tens of thousands of people have expressed their concerns about Zenith, why did you make a back door deal with Zenith, betraying our trust and violating the Comprehensive Plan? 

• How do the benefits outweigh the dangers of Zenith’s exports for the next five years?

• What evidence do you have that Zenith is and will be in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan?                                                                               

The Scrub the Hub coalition is here today to make sure Portlanders’ worries concerning Zenith’s dangers get the attention they deserve. We are here because we refuse to be ignored. We are here to tell City Council that it doesn’t matter who holds the gavel, the real power is with the people: the voters, the taxpayers, the workers, the protesters, the old, the young. Black. White. Indigenous. The power is in the people’s hands. Please stop banging your gavel and listen to the people.

Why I Chose to Intern with XRPDX

When the cold in Wisconsin came, we knew this time seemed different. At nearly minus sixty degrees Fahrenheit, it was far too cold to snow with any consistency. In fact, it was too cold to walk your dog; it was too cold to breathe without the sharp air running its jagged teeth through the lining of your esophagus and lungs. Twenty-one or more people died in the 2019 Polar Vortex. I was 16.

What once didn’t seem fathomable had come to pass. The temperature swings that have hit my Midwestern childhood home, even within the past decade, provide indication of the tipping points we were once only vaguely warned about. The effects of these tipping points snowball across all ecosystems; they wreak havoc on all communities.

Climate justice may be needed now more than ever before. I’ve personally seen the impacts of the climate disaster ravage the communities I call home; I know what it’s like to watch your home die right in front of you. Increased temperature fluctuation, and the unnatural warming which ensues, encourages the collapse of freshwater ecosystems and endangers the beautiful lakes of the region. Corporate takeover of local farms encourages unsustainable agricultural practices leading to, among other things, increased methane emissions. Transition seasons have faded from barely visible to nonexistent. This shift promotes hotter, longer summers, and colder, fiercer winters. I thought it couldn’t get worse.

When I moved to Portland for undergrad, I was looking forward to perhaps more predictable weather patterns. Within my first month on campus, wildfires spread throughout the state. Six months later, an unprecedented blizzard obliterated Portlanders’ access to power and heat. That spring, I learned about Extinction Rebellion (XR) through my studies. I’d been involved in various kinds of protests, occupations, and walk-outs before, but XR intrigued me with its global network. After some research, I realized that the pillars of XR are founded in deep relationships – relationships to ourselves, one another, our communities, and the Earth itself. Through these relationships XR aims for a future of hope and sustainability. More than that however, XR itself is a narrative outlining humans’ capacity to stay strong. 

At Lewis & Clark College I study sociology through a feminist framework with an emphasis on class relations. Some authors that stand out to me include Silvia Federici, Alicia Garza, Maura Kelly and Barbara Gurr, C.J Pascoe, and Patricia Hill Collins. The works of feminist sociologists and scholars encourage the reader and me, as a scholar, to study matrices of power – the interlocking forces of dominant culture that structure our lives and experiences in relation to the social identities we occupy. I extend my interest in power relations towards my interest in class structure – shoot me an email via XRPDX at info@xrpdx.org if you ever want to borrow a bit of light reading! It interests me right now to relate how hegemony constructs/reconstructs global narratives to the work I do here with XR, activism, and social change.

Extinction Rebellion, however, knows this narrative isn’t always an easy one to tell. I knew long before joining that political power and dominant culture are often at odds with the “radical” demands of climate justice organizers. Locally and abroad, climate activism and other social justice movements withstand scrutiny and ridicule, while some of its leaders are persecuted, imprisoned, and even murdered. Other times, we’re just completely ignored. We’ve seen this play out here in Portland and the whole Pacific Northwest in the City’s recent decision to grant a new LUCS to Zenith. Zenith is nothing but a temporary, corporate-money-making timebomb waiting to explode. Yet, no matter how much reasoning climate justice leaders attempt, the City Council’s “progressive” political takes ultimately do not extend towards the safety of the community or environment.

For these reasons, I chose to do my internship with the Portland chapter of Extinction Rebellion. I post to Instagram and Twitter; for me this means providing outreach through posting about our current actions, climate news from the PNW, and reposting others’ posts from all over the world. Social media links Extinction Rebellion as an global movement. I hope to engage with an online network of climate justice advocates, while engaging audiences of all backgrounds from all over the world.

XR’s narrative is composed of members who actively strive to create a future to believe in. One way XR does this that I particularly admire is through cultivating a regenerative culture. In a dominant culture that feeds off our labor, exploitation, and interpersonal competition, it is important and – frankly – radical to advocate for a culture of healing, support, and a care that extends across interpersonal and sociocultural realms.

I always knew I wanted to do work that not only gave back to local communities, but actively helped to put forth a vision of a better, realistic future. The future XR envisions is not only hospitable and inclusive, but demands self-reflection and a mass assertion of the legitimacy of climate and social justice advocates in society and politics. I admire how XR prioritizes the future in their visions. I want to say that that’s selfless, but, at my core, I think it’s just human; I strongly believe that to care, to dream, and do – that is, to construct, deconstruct, and recreate – is among the most human of qualities. To create is to care. And to care is human. And that is worth believing in.

In the Climate Emergency, Speak Up for a Silenced Activist

“No one knows what happened to the lost climate letter. All that is known is this: Alaa Abd El Fattah, arguably Egypt’s highest profile political prisoner, wrote it while on a hunger strike in his Cairo prison cell last month.” – Naomi Klein, “From Blah, Blah, Blah to Blood, Blood, Blood”

In 2015, at the notorious now-closed penitentiary on Alcatraz Island, I attended the amazing exhibit by Chinese artist/activist Ai Wei Wei, which was focused on modern political prisoners around the world. In one area, Wei Wei had a single chair placed in each of several tiny barren cells. As I and other visitors took turns sitting on these chairs, a soundscape began in the voice of a particular prisoner of conscience: music, poetry, speeches, and life stories. It was beautiful and horrifying. In another area, portraits of 174 political prisoners were recreated with Legos. Among these portraits was that of Alaa Abd El-Fattah.

And who is El-Fattah? A leader of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, author of the essay collection (some smuggled from prison) “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated,” and a political prisoner for the last decade, he organized protests calling for an independent judiciary. The repressive government accuses him of supposedly “spread[ing] fake news” — sound familiar? El-Fattah holds both British and Egyptian citizenship, but has yet to meet with British attorneys. His absence will shadow COP27. Currently on a hunger strike of many months, El-Fattah does not believe he will leave prison alive. Once a week he is allowed to send and receive letters — but his recent letter with his reflections on the immense, devastating floods in Pakistan, and the suffering of people in the Climate Emergency, has disappeared.

Meanwhile COP27 is a gold mine of financial opportunity for the oppressive Egyptian regime. (Click on the Naomi Klein article linked above for more info.) Carefully screened “Egyptian youth leaders” will be showcased, while El-Fattah and 60,000 other political prisoners, many of whom were young activists during the 2011 Revolution, are imprisoned and tortured. Only international solidarity can save Alaa Abd El-Fattah.

The struggle for human rights and freedom of expression is inextricable from the global movement for climate justice. In England, Extinction Rebellion continues to organize actions on his behalf. Here in Portland, in the middle of COP27, XRPDX and allies will hold a rally in Pioneer Square highlighting El-Fattah and other political prisoners and victims of state repression on COP27 Global Day of Action, November 12, noon. Let our voices ring out: Free Alaa! Free political prisoners and environmental defenders!

You Have Not Yet Been Defeated,” translated from Arabic by an anonymous collective, is available at Powell’s Books and at the Central and Hillsdale branches of Multnomah County Library.

XRUS All-Member Gathering!

By The XRUS Chapter Engagement and Support Working Group
(Leah, Philip, and Ellen)

The next few months and years are utterly crucial for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. The United States, as one of the wealthiest nations and largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, must step into a meaningful role in bringing about global climate justice, and U.S. activists must hold our country’s leaders to account. Extinction Rebellion is one of the most effective global, grassroots activist movements. We need a strong XRUS to be sure that the U.S. plays its part for global climate justice!

XRUS has been rebuilding, and now we are ready to help all of our chapters rebuild. It’s been a rough two and a half years for climate activism, but we have been developing resources and processes to help existing chapters rebuild, new chapters get started, and all interested activists find or create an active chapter.

One of the processes XRUS is trying out: semi-annual all-member gatherings. In March we held a Members Assembly, at which the new XRUS structure was ratified. On Saturday, November 5 from 11amPT/2pmET to 1pmPT/4pmET, we will hold an All-Chapter Gathering, inviting members of XRUS chapters from around the country to share ideas, hear about what XRUS has to offer and network with other chapters across the country and in your region. We are aiming to create strong ties among all XRUS chapters that will make our collective work more effective. Register here:

Proposed agenda for the two-hour meeting:

1. Opening: Land acknowledgment, centering activity, and introductions

2. Break-out rooms for regional circles to network and coordinate

3. Report-back on regional circles

4. Overview and discussion of XRUS resources for chapters

5. Overview and Q&A on XRUS Working Groups and the Nomination Process

6. Report from XR Global about potential chapter partnerships

7. Closing and optional break-out rooms for further discussions

Let’s come together on November 5 to keep building an effective XRUS. All members of all XRUS chapters are welcome and needed!

Stop Manchin’s Dirty Side Deal!

XRPDX is taking action!

Who: XRPDX and Allies
What: Street Theater Protest and Letter Delivery
Where: Senator Wyden’s Office, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland
When: Friday, September 9, 1 pm
Why: To #StopTheDirtySideDeal

Here is the pledge we are asking Oregon’s Senators to sign on to:

1. Tell Majority Leader Schumer NOT to add the Manchin side deal as an amendment to the Continuing Resolution or ANY Senate bill.

2. Vote NO on the side deal if it is brought to the floor in any form.

3. If the side deal is brought to a vote as an amendment, ask for a roll call vote, so that all senators’ votes are on the record. 

As if the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Biden, didn’t include enough concessions to the oil, gas and coal industries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer agreed to a backroom side deal with “Coal Baron Joe” Manchin, and is now “pledging” to pass it no matter what, as part of the must-pass Continuing Resolution government funding bill: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/3632802-schumer-pledges-to-pass-manchin-deal-despite-democratic-opposition/. Not so fast, Senator Schumer!

This so-called “permitting reform” bill would fast track fossil fuel (and renewable energy) infrastructure projects. If passed into law, our rights to publicly comment on, file lawsuits against, and eventually STOP destructive projects, will be severely eroded. As John Walsh of Food and Water Watch Policy warns“This should no longer be considered a ‘side deal,’ it is the main event for fossil fuel polluters that have pushed to weaken environmental reviews. The draft requires a constantly updated list of projects that will be placed on the fast track, limiting public input and necessary environmental review.”

Please join us if you can, and spread the word! We will gather this Friday, 1 pm, for a street theater skit with puppets, chants and songs, brief speeches and letter delivery to Senator Wyden’s staff. If you cannot attend in person, please call Senator Wyden’s DC office, (202) 224-5244, and demand that he oppose the dirty deal! Also, please call Rep. Blumenauer or Bonamici, plus Senator Merkley at 202-224-3121.

Pacific Northwest climate/environmental justice activists have long fought fossil fuel infrastructure and export projects, earning us the name “The Thin Green Line.” This dirty side deal would slash through the Thin Green Line leaving our region, and indeed the entire country, more vulnerable to corporations determined to squeeze every dollar they can out of our lands and waters. Hundreds of organizations including Extinction Rebellion are speaking up in opposition, and Senator Wyden, who claims to be a “climate champion” on his website, should stand with us. It’s time for Senator Wyden (and Merkley) to speak out against this dirty side deal.

For more on the Dirty Side Deal: 

Stop the Dirty Side Deal! Senator Wyden didn’t cozy up to Manchin and agree to this, and neither did we!

[Photo taken from Senator Manchin’s official website. He’s a hugger, apparently.]

Speech at OMSI Youth Climate Event

Hi everyone, thank you all for being here today. My name is Victoria, and I’m up here with Mike today to talk to you about the work happening at Extinction Rebellion PDX.

Portland had yet another record-breaking heatwave recently that rolled us headfirst into fire season. Sweltering in that heat, breathing in the smoke, and really feeling the effects of climate change can often feel hopeless, but standing here with you all is inspiring. Thank you all for the work you do to protect our climate. 

As you all know very well, fighting climate change is one of the most pressing issues we face today, and as this new generation of climate activism blooms, I feel confident here today, hearing about all of the work you’ve done and are continuing to do: I know that we are in good hands. So, thank you for taking on this monumental challenge, for taking on the work that our elected leaders should be doing themselves, and for doing so with such grace. It really is an honor to be with you all today.

We have 4 basic demands at Extinction Rebellion that we structure all of our activism around.

The first demand is that we, and our government, tell the truth about climate change. They must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities, and businesses need to do.

The second demand is that our government takes action now. The government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. 

Our third demand is to hold a citizens’ assembly. We do not trust our government because they have repeatedly, and systematically failed us in this fight time and time again. They’ve given SO much power to corrupt industries that value profits over people and our planet. We want to take that power back. 

Our final demand should go without saying. We demand a LIVABLE and JUST PLANET FOR ALL. We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; one that establishes reparations and remediation led by and for BIPOC and poor communities. We want to see legal rights established for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity.

It feels pretty insane to be standing here today advocating for our leaders to take the existential threat of global climate change seriously, and I know you’ve all felt that too. I know this is a huge burden to bear, and it’s one that you never asked for. It’s important to remember that we are playing the long game here, and your stamina will be the most important piece. So friends, keep fighting.

For those of you here today looking for new ways to engage in this work, or if you’re not sure where to start, I’ll say that there are climate villains in our city, right here, right now, that you can take action against in this fight for a better world.

[Victoria Wingell gave this speech at the OMSI Youth Climate Event on August 13, 2022. Photo credit: Michael Fairhurst.]