Climate action groups are crucial. Climate change is affecting everyone, including here in the UK. And with Extinction Rebellion launching the “Big One” on 21 April, the year 2023 is set to be pivotal.
Combatting the crisis is urgent. As the slogan goes: if not now, when? Many people want to take action. Yet it can be difficult to know where to start. What’s more, it can be hard to know who’s who. After all, protest groups get plenty of press when their activities are seen as disruptive. However, peaceful actions do not always receive so much publicity.
At Bagmaya, we are passionate about creating sustainable futures. So, we support positive, peaceful climate activism. For us, raising awareness is critical in the race to change minds, habits, and the world.
Your guide to the major climate action groups of 2023 is below.
Greta Thunberg’s youth-led climate action group
15-year-old Greta coined the phrase “Fridays for Future” in 2018, launching a movement that inspired millions.
Thunberg, a household name, spent Fridays skipping school, protesting against climate change. Soon, her passion drew others to join her. Later, the Friday strikes spread all over the world. Greta’s strategy of direct action — and direct speech — forced world leaders to sit up and listen. Since then, Greta has represented younger generations at the World Economic Forum, the UN Climate Action Summit, the COP25 summit, and more.
“Fridays for Future” is led by young people across the globe. Together, they organise school strikes, connect children and teens, encourage climate change education in schools, enlist parents’ and teachers’ support, and petition companies and governments on a range of issues.
Extinction Rebellion: a grassroots movement for change
You might have heard about Extinction Rebellion, or XR. Right now, they are getting a lot of press.
The climate action group skyrocketed to fame in late 2018, when activists blockaded bridges in London. Protestors assembled outside Parliament to show the urgency of addressing climate change. Then, they quickly drew support from UK thought leaders, sparking a national (and international) movement.
Extinction Rebellion’s core philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. They cite the suffragettes, Gandhi, and the US civil rights movement as inspiration. But what does this mean?
Essentially, Extinction Rebellion argue that we must overhaul the political and financial system to combat climate change. So, rather than traditional activism (writing to MPs or signing petitions), XR members disrupt economic activities. Doing so, they hope to mobilise the UK population. They aim for 3.5% support, pointing to the fall of the Berlin Wall as an example of a mass nonviolent uprising.
XR’s current emphasis is on mass participation and building relationships. They are a network, with local groups operating throughout the UK.
Just Stop Oil: a controversial climate action group
On the other hand, climate action groups like Just Stop Oil are more controversial.
Members of these groups call for civil resistance, distancing themselves from more peaceful protest methods.
Over the past year and a half, supporters of Just Stop Oil have superglued themselves to London streets, poured a can of soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s oil painting “Sunflowers” (protected by glass), disrupted a Premier League football match, and damaged petrol pumps.
The group claims that 12 of their activists are currently behind bars. As it stands, police have made hundreds of arrests at Just Stop Oil demonstrations.
Insulate Britain wants a solution to the energy crisis
Meanwhile, protestors acting for Insulate Britain, who blockade roads and ports, were acquitted of charges in March 2023.
However, members of “Writers Rebel”, which includes prominent UK authors Simon Schama and Ben Okri, wrote a public letter in support of jailed UK climate activists in January 2023.
Local actions: Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace UK
At Bagmaya, we believe in acting locally to act globally. And to do this, there are many places to turn.
For example, longstanding environmental group Friends of the Earth supports 5,000 local networks across the UK and other countries. Groups campaign on issues relevant to their communities. Also, they come together on national campaigns like “United for Warm Homes”.
Members of Friends of the Earth have convinced UK councils to implement climate action plans. And, they have successfully prevented fracking. You can find out more on their website.
Also, Greenpeace UK’s “Take Action” site has a wealth of resources relevant to the UK. From volunteering locally to petitioning MPs on issues as diverse as the right to protest, protecting British wildlife, and stopping North Sea oil expansion, there is something for everyone.
2023 is the year to take action on climate change
Positive, peaceful actions create a better, more sustainable future for us all.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, NHS Workers Say No, Global Justice Now, Black Lives Matter and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament are just a few organisations supporting the Big One. It starts on 21 April at the Houses of Parliament.
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