On Thursday, everyone was talking about the fires in the Amazon — so we teamed with animal rights’ activists and Fridays for Future Toronto to mobilize almost a hundred people at the Brazilian consulate on Friday.
Everyone is talking about the fires in the Amazon — but not everyone knows that these fires were started on purpose to drive out indigenous people and clear land for cattle ranchers. Bolsonaro campaigned on this policy and world leaders said almost nothing — until the fires got completely out of control — because they didn’t want to risk their precious trade deals.
XR Toronto greeted visitors to the CNE with an ‘Extinction Pavillion’ that shared info about the many animals — including the Northern White Rhino — that have gone extinct in recent years. We also shared our strategy of mobilizing 3.5% of the population to participate in non-violent civil disobedience in order to force the government to meet our three demands:
Tell the truth.
Act Now. Act to reach net-zero and halt the biodiversity collapse by 2025.
Launch a People’s Assembly to oversee this environmental preservation.
On July 23, 2019, Extinction Rebellion Toronto continued our weekly traffic blockades where rebels formed a human chain and obstructed east and west-bound traffic at the intersection of Bloor and St. George Streets in 5-minute intervals.
We held signs asking the urgent questions that our leadership in the political, corporate, and media spheres have been unable to address such as How many species must die before you act? How will my children survive? Who does the government serve?
While some drivers were upset by the disruption, we received a great deal of support from motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians during the action.
Around 6:20pm, a motorist drove through the blockade and struck three rebels who sustained minor injuries. Police responded immediately, and the driver was arrested. We’d like to thank the Toronto police officers on the scene for ensuring everyone’s safety and supporting our right to protest.
Thanks to all the rebels present for sticking steadfast to our principles and remaining peaceful and calm. We have come out of this stronger and more determined than ever to fight for action on the climate crisis.
During our debrief, one of our rebels asked us to remember this: Sometimes, when we are headed in one direction and an obstacle arises, we are so focused on where we are going that we don’t realize how simple it is to turn around and go in another direction. This is what happened today to the driver who drove through our line, but it is also what is happening to our society as a whole. It’s time for all of us to realize we can simply turn around and go in another direction for the climate.
While it’s unfortunate that this incident occurred, Extinction Rebellion Toronto remains committed to nonviolent direct action to demand the government act right now to address the climate emergency.
Please join Extinction Rebellion next Tuesday July 30, 2019 at 5:45pm at Bay and King as we continue to ask the urgent questions that our leaders are ignoring.
In Love and Rage,
Extinction Rebellion Toronto
About Extinction Rebellion:
Time is running out. The ecological crisis is upon us, and we have now entered the 6th mass species extinction as a result of unabated global pollution, and extreme, compounding global heating. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by our world’s leading scientists, who have warned us that human extinction is also a possibility if rapid corrective action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion exists to ensure that action IS taken. We are dedicated, non-violent, and compassionate defenders of our future generations’ right to a viable existence. We believe it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal environmental negligence by our government.
Extinction Rebellion’s Three Demands:
Government must tell the truth by declaring a binding climate and ecological emergency, and by working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. More info here.
Extinction Rebellion Toronto held our first roadblock in the Questions Series on July 16th and despite the heat and an aggressive, climate-denying street preacher, we stood our ground and kept the vibe loving. Our regenerative culture group did an outstanding job keeping everyone calm and collected and our actions and logistics team adjusted to unforeseen circumstances like old pros.
We had a lot of support from passers-by and cyclists and even some drivers. Others, were understandably frustrated. We are genuinely sorry for disrupting people, we would also have preferred to be chilling in the shade watching the leaves rustling — but our government has failed to act with sufficient urgency and we have exhausted all traditional means of political organizing.
Some asked ‘how will this stop climate change?’ We, as a group, are under no illusions that 50 people slowing traffic will make the government cave to our demands. However, studies of protest movements have found that mobilizing 3.5% of the population in an ongoing disruption usually lead to rapid change. Our aim is to grow rapidly until we can not be ignored. And it’s working — our orientation sessions are packed and our working groups are all growing rapidly. For those who still critique our approach we ask “do you have a better plan?” Because we have tried petitions and letters to our MPs and voting and personal footpring reductions and emissions STILL ROSE IN 2018.
Join us on Tuesday July 23 at 5:15 at St. George and Bloor where we will ask the University of Toronto when they plan to take action.
On June 25th we were at the corner of King and Bay from 8AM-6PM announcing the obvious: climate emergency. We were also calling on banks and bankers and investment professionals to divest themselves from fossil fuels — both for the sake of the planet and their own bottom line, because we all know the CARBON BUBBLE is going to pop real soon — and the Tar Sands Bubble is going to pop even sooner! Even OIL COMPANIES are already moving away from high-carbon sources like the Tar Sands.
We had a funk band (Commander and Thief), young people singing original songs about climate, a full choir, hula dancers, dozens of clowns, spoken word, entrancing story-telling, bubbles, t-shirt making, an ABSURD street theatre piece in which bankers and politicians in masks battled for control of the economy and a huge inflatable globe. It was general, joyous chaos. And even in the heart of the financial district we mostly got positive responses.
Some people said we should have sent more targetted demands to the banks, but honestly, we’re not naive, we don’t think the banks are going to listen to a couple hundred Torontonians making music on their doorstep — our message was to the public, to the bankers as individuals:
There is a climate emergency. You know it. You see it in the news. Chennai — which is the size of three Torontos — has ALREADY RUN OUT OF WATER. It’s time to choose sides. Are you on the side calling for climate action that meets the demands of science? Or are you on the side that will continue blindly with business as usual until society collapses? Because we need hundreds of thousands to join us in the streets as soon as possible.
If you missed it, we are definitely doing this again.
While Extinction Rebellion is often painted as just a climate protest movement, we are demanding action on all forms of ecological damage — including damage to the waters that are the blood of our Living Planet. In the 1970s, a paper mill ruined the river that runs through Grassy Narrows by dumping mercury. The federal and provincial governments have refused to clean this mess up for decades and the people of that community have been living with the consequences. On June 20, Extinction Rebellion Toronto marched through Toronto in solidarity with the people of Grass Narrows and their demand for a clean environment for themselves and all living things. We thank the people of Grassy Narrows for their courage and perserverance in the face of so much injustice. Indigenous people have been defending our planet against predation for centuries.
To learn more about Grassy Narrows watch this video:
In advance of the Liberal’s Trans Mountain Expansion decision, we teamed up with Fridaysforfuture Climate Strike Toronto and visited Bill Morneau’s Office to make our position clear: NO NEW PIPELINES ANYWHERE. They wouldn’t let us in, so we lay down outside, sang together and then chalked our outlines to remind them of the harm they are doing to us, our planet and future generations. Follow Coast Protectors for more on pipeline resistance.
This was a pop-up event in response to a news item, but we quickly turned out about a dozen people.