Dear Jacinda, this is an emergency – Extinction Rebellion

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You famously said climate change was this generation’s nuclear-free moment. But when Extinction Rebellion uses the tactics of the Nuclear Free movement, you say you aren’t impressed.

We are a fire alarm, and fire alarms are disruptive. When our house is on fire, and we’re asleep, a noisy alarm is what’s needed. Our house is already on fire. Scientists agree we are in the middle of a mass extinction driven by human-led climate and environmental breakdown.

We aren’t comfortable being the alarm. Before this emergency, many of us would never have considered even joining a protest. We are Tangata Whenua, lawyers, parents and grandparents, retail workers, church ministers, scientists, mental health advocates, business owners and others. And yes, some of us are activists who love to sing. We would prefer to be going about our daily lives, spending time with our families and enjoying ourselves.

But, this is an emergency.

Without action we face widespread human misery.

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We acknowledge your Government for doing more on climate change than the previous one. We celebrate the end of future oil exploration permits as a world first. We understand the “political reality”, but the science is clear that it isn’t enough.

We already have enough oil to push us beyond 1.5 degrees of warming – the limit agreed upon by the Pacific and United Nations to prevent a human catastrophe and collapse of ecosystems. Despite this, OMV (one of the 100 climate criminals responsible for 70% of global emissions) will soon explore for oil in pristine, untouched waters near Otago and Taranaki. The Austrian oil giant could only do this because MBIE extended OMV’s existing permits. MBIE could only extend their licenses because your Government allowed it.

Fire alarms aren’t just noisy; they work.

The United Kingdom was the first country to declare a climate and ecological emergency. The British Parliament credited the declaration to Extinction Rebellion UK’s non-violent disruptions in April. In Aotearoa, we have our own proud tradition of strategic non-violence. Without it, the suffragettes wouldn’t have won women the right to vote.

We commend the Labour-led Government for acknowledging the school strikers, while National and Act parties derided them. But this isn’t enough. On Monday, you asked the media why anyone would support our disruptive actions when thousands of students had just protested in the street. Like many New Zealanders, seeing waves of young people marching for climate justice gave us hope. But for us it isn’t an either/or. We support and marched with the school strikes. Yet your Government’s failure to put in place the school strikers’ demands is precisely why we back mass symbolic action and civil disobedience. We need more than lip service. As Greta Thunberg says: “We don’t need you to congratulate us, we need you to act.”

Our three demands.

Extinction Rebellion demands the Government:

1. Tell the truth and declare a climate and ecological emergency;
2. Act now and halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2025 and
3. Go beyond politics and setup a citizen’s assembly on climate and ecological justice.

We are consulting members to develop a fourth demand acknowledging Tino Rangatiratanga and climate justice.

While Extinction Rebellion is a fire alarm, we can’t be the escape plan. The citizens’ assembly we suggest will bring people with a range of expertise together to learn, deliberate and make recommendations to act. Similar to jury service, members are randomly selected from the population and quotas are used to ensure the assembly is representative. Assembly members hear balanced information from experts and stakeholders and work in facilitated groups to develop a recommendation. They are run by an independent body and are transparent, inclusive and effective. It was aCitizens’ Assembly that international media outlet DW says “broke decades of political deadlock in Ireland to usher in legal abortions and same-sex marriage”.

The Government needs to transition to a fully sustainable energy network, withdraw OMV’s permits, and end fossil fuels exploration.

It’s time to draw the line.

On Monday you told media you drew the line on illegal and violent action. Your use of our campaign slogan “Draw the Line” to spread a mistruth is unfortunate. Extinction Rebellion is committed to strategic non-violence and is inspired by Parihaka and the Nuclear Free movements. Police Inspector Wade Jennins told Stuffon Monday that we “were peaceful, did not damage anything or threaten anyone.” He noted that we thanked the Police for how they acted. No one was charged with an offence.

We will take whatever non-violent action is necessary to protect our future. Monday was just the beginning and we are willing to suffer the consequences of further action. Sometimes you have to get burnt to pull someone out of a fire. But it’s worth it.

Because this is an emergency.

Either we make history or we’re history. Like the Nuclear Free movement before us, we choose to make history.

Ngā mihi,

Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa New Zealand

5 COMMENTS

  1. Yes i’m with you Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa New Zealand.

    It appears jacinda is being controlled with her actions now sadly.

    I believed in her 100% WHEN SHE STOOD ON THE PODIUM AT THE AUCKLAND TWO HALL THAT NIGHT SAYING (quote) “CLIMATE CHANGE IS OUR GENERATION’S NUCLEAR MOMENT.”

    Helen Clark WAS STANDING THERE and we know that she would follow then with a swift action after being elected.

    But we see that Jacinda and her caucus is spinless and not prepared to move forward it seems.

    “Lets do this”

  2. What is it with this “nuclear moment” rubbish? You do realise the rest of the world gives not one shit right? It did not start any sort of disarmament fad, even 40 years later. ICBM’s are on the ready at a moment’s notice, as they have been for decades. One B-52 carries enough payload to stop the world in its tracks. (USA! USA!)

    JA’s speech was more like a “nuclear bowel movement.” The petrol stations are still open for business, some of them 24 hours a day with a McDonald’s attached. Auckland airport plans a $100 million expansion, under the eyes of a so-called “climate change is our nuclear moment” govt. See the big, big planes come and go and burn burn burn jet fuel. Tourists using air conditioning, Maui vans, and little plastic hotel shampoo bottles increase every year. The evil money-spending bastards! LOL

    Democracy was deliberately designed to LIMIT govt power. To truly achieve the Left’s goals, we all know what needs to happen. First, you better have some serious reliable contacts with international arms dealers. Then you gotta sneak those tanks and artillery in. Then, you have to be willing to murder half your countrymen unless they “see the light” at gunpoint. Yep, the world has certainly seen that before! Let’s see some action- ain’t there some guy called Castro on here that always wishes for a revolution, aka Fidel and Che? Is that your real name, or do you just admire dead losers? You talk tough but I bet you are a girly-man who wouldn’t know which end of a rifle the bullet comes out of.

    Back in the day, not so many years ago, a sick Govt like the USSR could control every damn thing a citizen could read or hear. That would never work today in an age of instant news/opinion/bullshit on a billion smartphones connected to the mighty internet.

    Sleep tight folks, and remember to Vote next election. We are all obligated to do so, for what one thinks is best for this spectacular country! These are the best of times.

    • Market solutions just raises the cost of institutions and business. That would hurt everyone who has to pay those prices. That there can be only one solution to any type of problem by hurting people no less is extra ordinary. It’s not the only solution. Unit her solution is to just cut and ban stuff. Plastic is a start but if business really want to take the piss then there is always the possibility of another oil ban.

  3. I am in the UK at the moment on holiday. The Extinction Rebellion leader has just been outed for taking an 11000 mile flight to Costa Rica for a holiday . Many of the leaders are being paid by a fund but not paying tax . The rebellion in London has lead to 1700 arrests traffic jams (wasting petrol and not making any friends with those trying to get to work . I was around for the Ban the Bomb marches that proved to be as usless as this protest movement will turn out to be

  4. Yes, but in demanding the above, you will provoke a civil war kind of scenario, as the ‘silent majority’ of the population remains firmly addicted to fossil fuel powered cars, fossil resource based plastic products, fertilisers and so much more.

    An economic upset, possibly crisis, that is what will bring the Nats back in office, and they will do all to silence you activists with any new law and draconian measure, you will be locked up just for daring to organise civil disobedience.

    That is the challenge, the government is just part of the problem, people vote in governments, so people need to be challenged, your neighbours, work mates, business clients and so forth.

    They will not shy away from fighting to preserve their ‘rights’ and fossil fuel addiction.

    They are the enemy, and have no doubt about it. I support your kinds of actions, so get real, take on the silent majority full steam, thanks.

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