Yesterday on Friday 12th April, the busy crossroads at Oxford Circus was brought to a standstill. Organised by Extinction Rebellion, a makeshift pink catwalk was rolled out in a huge cross through the junction to protest against the effects cheap disposable fashion has on climate change.
Huge pink banners were drawn across each road reading words like ‘Empathy’ holding back London traffic - knowing this might take a while, bus drivers stood outside watching the demonstration. Accompanied by a live band, the music brought the catwalk to life as the models started strutting down in their “disposable fashion” consisting of plastic bags and anti-fracking slogans.
You might ask, who are Extinction Rebellion? Do you remember seeing this?
On top of many other amazing demonstrations, Extinction Rebellion were the brains behind the naked protest in Parliament which drew attention to ‘the elephant in the room’ - climate change. You may have also heard about the arrest of Youtuber Jack Harries in the name of climate change:
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This week I was one of nine activists arrested for protesting outside the International Petroleum Conference in London. I didn’t set out to be arrested, I never have been before and I’m not here to endorse the act. 13 hours in a cell isn’t fun… But this is the action I chose to take because, frankly, I am terrified for the state of my future and we have run out of time. The conference is an annual event in which all the biggest names in the gas and oil industry meet to network, discuss the future of their industry and figure out how to make more money. (That they really don’t need) Science clearly tells us that we must keep two thirds of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to curb carbon emissions and stay below a 2 degrees rise in temperature. However this is an industry that has no intention of stopping, an industry who have consistently focused on corporate profits and short term gain at the expense of our future. Just 25 companies are responsible for 50% of carbon emissions. Forget changing your light bulbs and having shorter showers, these are the real climate criminals. Climate change is the greatest social justice issue of our time. 99% of climate related deaths occur in the world’s least developed countries even though those countries contribute to just 1% of emissions. The future will see extreme weather patterns, sea level rise, mass migration and disease. This may sound alarmist, and I wish it was, but it is unfortunately fact. Climate change is not something happening in the future, it is happening now, it is not just an urgent issue... it is an emergency. Whilst we can’t choose whether we will be affected by climate change (most of us will), we can choose whether we will be bystanders. 📷:@extinctionrebellion
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is ‘an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.’
In a statement, Extinction Rebellion said the protest was “intended to disrupt the language and symbols of the fashion industry.”
In 2016, it was reported 500,000 pedestrians walk Oxford Street everyday, browsing and buying shop after shop. XR’s protest could not have been in a better location and was supported by Fair Trade’s Safia Minney MBE FARS, Traid’s Maria Chenoweth, Katharine Hamnett CBE and Dame Vivienne Westwood.
In addition to the aforementioned supporters, almost 100 academics also declared their support in a letter published in the Guardian in October “When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and to secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship"
“The ‘social contract’ has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself. “
Yesterday’s protest comes as a warning to those who refuse to listen as the group’s International Rebellion begins on Monday across London.
In a statement from XR: “Extinction Rebellion would like to extend our sincere apologies to members of the public who are affected, and remind them that this relatively minor inconvenience could save us all from catastrophic consequences in years to come. We have informed the police, and will, of course, allow emergency vehicles to pass.”
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