Dying in at Rockefeller Center. Photo by © Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/ZUMA
The "staggering moron" in the White House is at it again, noticing it's cold outside and witlessly tweeting, "What the hell is going on with Global Waming (sic). Please come back fast, we need you.” His gob-smacking idiocy prompted the usual freakouts: They ranged from scientists and others with functional brains patiently explaining one more time that weather isn't climate; to less-than-patient people tearing out their hair while ranting that if you have a sandwich for lunch that doesn't mean there's no world hunger and requesting their climate change with a hamberder and covfefe to go and trying to explain reality with the analogy of a Russian prostitute peeing on you with pee that goes from warm to cold.
Another helpful antidote to our "virus of stupidity" was this week-end's first American action by the U.K.-based Extinction Rebellion - "Rebel For Life" - which uses protests and civil disobedience to urge world leaders to address climate change; to date, it has reportedly spawned over 200 global satellite groups. After five weeks of organizing, Extinction Rebellion NYC marked its American debut with a rowdy march down Fifth Avenue that stopped at Trump Tower and featured now-extinct golden toad head gear and the Rev. Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir singing, "There are only so many beautiful days left!" The march culminated in a die-in at Rockefeller Center's skating rink, with bodies forming the group's hour-glass logo - a reminder that time is running out.
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Organizers saw the event, dubbed "Rebellion Day 1," as part of the build-up to an international week of action in April, a sort of American launch for what they hope will be chapters across the country. Ultimately, they hope to "provoke an uprising on a scale that’s never been seen before in the U.S., a national coordinated economic and government disruption" that will continue until leaders address the climate change emergency. "This is not a one-off march," they say. "We will keep going for as long as we have to." From one Oregon organizer, “We are all going to die, and we need to shout it from the rooftops.”
Earlier, organizers asked the several hundred protesters to divide into groups willing or not willing to be arrested. Police ultimately arrested nine people; they charged eight with disorderly conduct and one, organizer Gregory Schwedock, with reckless endangerment after he scaled the rink's golden Prometheus statue to hang a banner. Historically, Schwedock argues, any successful movement for change requires only three-and-a-half percent of the population to take to the streets. When it comes to the severity of the climate change crisis, he adds, the science speaks for itself. "We are so far behind," he says. "We are so fucked.”