Extinction Rebellion campaigners hold a "Unite to Survive" banner at Durdle Door in Dorset, England on April 6, 2023.​

Extinction Rebellion campaigners hold a "Unite to Survive" banner at Durdle Door in Dorset, England on April 6, 2023.

(Photo: Extinction Rebellion)

'Unite to Survive': Mass Banner Drop Promotes XR Climate Rally at UK Parliament

"I am very worried about the world my students will inherit," said one history teacher. "This is why I will be in London from April 21st to demand meaningful action on the climate and ecological crisis."

Dozens of colorful banners were dropped across the United Kingdom on Thursday to invite people to London later this month for a four-day peaceful protest outside Parliament demanding action on the climate emergency to ensure "a future that is safe and fair."

Extinction Rebellion (XR), backed by nearly 100 other organizations, hopes to bring together at least 100,000 people for "The Big One," which the group announced at the start of this year along with its shift away from "public disruption as a primary tactic."

While XR members have still engaged in some civil disobedience since—from dousing a U.K. government building in black paint resembling oil to calling out law firms for "defending climate criminals" on office windows—the movement argues that "at this crucial moment in history it's time to do the work and decide together on the kind of future we all want and need."

Banners calling on U.K. residents to "Unite to Survive" were hung Thursday at iconic and everyday sites, from bridges and castles to coastal fences and stone circles—including Durdle Door, Dufus Castle, the Angel of the North, and Castlerigg Stone Circle.

"We will not stand by as the planet burns," vowed Olly Baines, a 72-year-old retired chief executive from St. Austell in Cornwall, England. "Our banners on the A30 in Cornwall are calling for all to join us and Unite to Survive on April 21-24 in London, which aims to be the biggest environmental protest ever. There is no time left."

During those four days, "the streets will be transformed with people's pickets outside government departments and a diverse program of speakers, performers, and workshops, awash with color and culture," says the XR webpage for the event. "There will be art and music, talks from experts, places to listen and engage, and activities for the kids."

The current schedule is:

  • Friday, April 21: Unite to Survive—Westminster is filled with flags, banners, and people.
  • Saturday, April 22: Earth Day—An enormous celebration and family-friendly march for biodiversity.
  • Sunday, April 23: Running Out of Time—The Big One coexists with the London Marathon.
  • Monday, April 24: Choose Your Future—Parliament returns, the demand is delivered.

"Extinction Rebellion is founded in creativity with arts groups all over the world," said Bridget Turgoose, a 57-year-old creative director from London. "We make things by hand with an emphasis on doing it together rather than the perfection of a brush stroke!"

"This mass banner drop is to spread the word about the Big One in London, where our creativity and passion will be impossible to ignore," Turgoose added. "There is so much joy in creating which is essential in these dark times. To create is to rebel."

The Big One will come on the heels of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in March and described by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as "a survival guide for humanity." The document stresses the need for immediate, dramatic cuts to planet-heating pollution, largely by phasing out fossil fuels—and details the dire consequences if the world refuses to do so.

John Lardner, a history teacher from Forres, Scotland, said Thursday that "I am very worried about the world my students will inherit."

"This is why I will be in London from April 21st to demand meaningful action on the climate and ecological crisis," Lardner explained. "For over 50 years we have known about these things but a cabal of greedy fossil fuel businessmen, bankers, politicians, and journalists, have obscured the truth. Enough is enough."

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