How Extinction Rebellion put the world on red alert

The radical group has galvanised young and old. But in the year since it formed, what has life been like inside the movement?

In the last week alone, members of Extinction Rebellion have been described as ecomaniacs (Daily Mail), ecoradicals ignoring our economic doom (Times), dangerous and a bloody mess (Daily Telegraph). They have been accused of “pulling 83,000 officers away from their normal duties” according to the police and costing Scotland Yard £16m. In London last week, dressed in funereal black, rebels tried to paint the Treasury red using 1,800 litres of fake blood and an old fire engine with a sign reading “stop funding climate death”.

While its actions may seem controversial in some quarters, Extinction Rebellion’s rise and influence have undoubtedly been extraordinary, galvanising young and old across party lines. Last October, the journalist and activist George Monbiot introduced the group in the national press, a homegrown movement “devoted to disruptive, non-violent disobedience in protest against ecological collapse”. The hope was to turn a national uprising into an international one by March. In fewer than 12 months, Extinction Rebellion has become the fastest-growing environmental organisation in the world.

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