Saturday 19 October marked the final day of the Extinction Rebellion(XR)’s International Rebellion that lasted for two weeks.
During this time, people took to the streets in over 50 countries to demand action to halt the climate crisis. Whether you support XR’s methods or not, having town and city centres all over the world shut down created an urgency around the climate emergency that is unfortunately not always the case.
In joining some of the protests with other NCH students the thing that struck me the most was the courage, energy and optimism of those present- on the first day of the rebellion, we witnessed a marriage between two XR rebels on Westminster Bridge, which was beautiful. However, the Rebellion was not all celebration. In the UK, we are luckier than most in being able to take to the streets and exercise our democratic right. However, in the second week of the International Rebellion, the police banned XR protests, in an act that climate activist Greta Thunberg stated was ‘unlawful’.
The shocking footage of XR protesters being pulled off trains in Canning Town during rush hour was another reminder of the fact that XR is a decentralised movement that makes mistakes. The movement has been accused of being exclusive and of neglecting the needs of the working class and minorities citizens. As students of NCH, I think it is important for us to be critical of the weaknesses of this movement, whilst taking it upon ourselves as individuals to remain as strong climate protesters, in our own way.
The Rebellion is finished (for now), and this may be a good opportunity to reflect on how/ if this affected you, the causes that are important to you, and how you can act in order to affect positive change. Protest doesn’t have to be a huge act of taking to the streets for two weeks, it can manifest in small actions every day- such as refusing single-use plastic, getting a reusable cup to have coffee in, cutting down on fast-fashion buying and turning off lights when you don’t need them. These may be things you have heard hundreds of times before, but are you actually doing them? If not, maybe consider making these small changes – as a college, think about the cumulative effect this could have.
NCHarity Challenge: Reusable cup only!
Reusable coffee cups are hot news right now, standing at the forefront of the battle against single-use waste. They are an easy way to do your bit for the planet, especially if you are a regular “coffee before my lecture” drinker. Besides, bringing your own cups can save you a lot of money.
More and more high street cafes are offering a discount to eco-friendly customers for their oat milk mocha or flat white.
- Pret A Manger offers 50p off for customers coming in with their own reusable cups.
- Costa Coffee and Starbucks both offer a 25p discount.
- Caffè Nero offers double rewards, meaning that instead of you needing to buy 9 coffees to get your 10th one free, you only need to buy 5.
Why we care: It is estimated that the average disposable coffee cup can take up to 50 years to fully break down when thrown into landfill – and studies suggest 2.5 billion of them are tossed away every year.