In support of the International Rebellion and the recent climate action in London, on Saturday the 12th of October, Extinction Rebellion St Andrews gathered together in Church Square for a die-in and silent protest. The symbolic action aimed to highlight the critical situation which we–as a civilisation–face due to the climate crisis. It also draws attention to the criminal inaction of governments and leaders failing to act on climate change. Extinction Rebellion presents three demands. First, to tell the truth about our climate and the ecological emergency, and to work with institutions to communicate the urgency for change. Second, to act now and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. Third, to create a citizen’s assembly for climate and ecological justice.
Over 50 people, both students and senior citizens, took part in the die-in. They lay down on the stones of Church Square as church bells rang noon, commencing a 15-minute-long die-in. Members of the St Andrews community chose to act in solidarity with all those in London–and in other cities around the world–who bravely commit acts of civil disobedience in order to stand up to the toxic system that actively keeps us trapped in a high carbon world. This die-in called attention to the global need for climate action, but also championed the concrete-local steps which need to be taken in order to push for climate action.
As students conscious of the state of emergency which our planet faces, the University of St Andrews’ lack of action is disappointing. Extinction Rebellion St Andrews argue that the University is not taking a strong enough public stance on the issue; while it supports various sustainability measures, the University is not prepared to publicly declare a climate emergency. Thousands of other institutions and universities affirm that we are in a climate emergency. Why doesn’t our University do the same? Why is that when the science it clear?
According to the 2018 IPCC report, greenhouse gas emissions must decline “well before 2030” to avoid an overshoot of emissions and a critical ecosystem tipping point. As of now, there are still options for changing our environment–and we cannot take them for granted.
Members of the St Andrews community can expect further action from Extinction Rebellion St Andrews–and other climate activist groups–as they plan to keep building pressure in order to demand for climate action from the University. Around the world, human rights to security are being impacted by climate change. Extinction Rebellion calls on everyone to start treating and responding to this emergency with appropriate urgency. Our planet has changed more in the recent past than most scientific reports predicted, and the changes will soon prove irreversible.
The October 12th die-in calls attention to Extinction Rebellion’s position that inaction is criminal and action is crucial to our existence.