The global movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) seeks to bring a new approach to climate activism, calling on participants to demonstrate the change they want to see in society, and making regenerative culture its organising principle. The movement aims to nurture a new culture which is robust and resilient to support us all through the inevitable changes we are facing. By way of definition, XR has put forward a set of ‘caring’ principles, comprising care for self, for others, for the wider community, and for the planet. According to one of XR’s Elders, “For every citizen willing to risk arrest, we need 20 working in regenerative care”.
XR is not just making demands for change, but is actively seeking to build and demonstrate a new kind of culture which would make society more resilient and robust in the face of increasing ecological and social upheaval. This includes:
- Challenging power and privilege imbalance
- Building self-care and resilience into activism through restorative circles
- Giving time to take care of psychological and emotional needs.
There is a recognition that the change required is a long game, based on slow and steady development, as well as immediate action. Whereas the public disruptions instigated by XR divide opinion and distance many, could these principles enable the movement to play a role in rebuilding social cohesion and empathy for united climate action? Or will they merely serve to maintain a stand-off for longer?