Extinction Rebellion Boston seeks to influence government action against climate issues

Photo Via Wikimedia Commons by Julia Hawkins

By Rickie Houston
BU News Service

BOSTON — When Extinction Rebellion executed an international “die in” last weekend, various chapters of the international organization, including Boston, joined in an effort to raise public awareness about climate change.

Extinction Rebellion, an international advocacy group, “uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimize the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse,” according to its website. The organization was founded in the UK, and its chapters extend to many different countries, including the United States, Germany, France, Canada and several other countries.

Though different chapters participated in the international “die in” April 27 at various times and locations, the approach to protest was the same — supporters of the movement would lie on the ground in public places. In Boston, supporters lay still on their backs inside the Prudential Center.

“Governments have failed us,” Bea Ruiz, a national coordinator for the U.S. chapter of Extinction Rebellion, said in a press release last month. “Those who are most vulnerable and least vulnerable for this crisis are the ones who are suffering the most.”

Nick Bain, one of the founding members of Extinction Rebellion Boston, wrote in an email how the local chapter started in December 2018 after he and other supporters of the movement collaborated to bring the organization to Boston.

“Along with many people all over the U.S., we were anxious to bring the peaceful movement here,” Bain wrote.

Bain said the chapter also strives to expand its network of collaborators, and has worked with 350 MA, Sunrise Boston, Divest Harvard and the Youth Climate Strike.

John Burkhardt, outreach coordinator of the Boston-area Extinction Rebellion, said the group also communicates closely with other chapters throughout the country.

“We have conference calls with other U.S. chapters and listen to what they’re doing and talk about different things that we can do,” Burkhardt said. “We think we can do things that are more impactful if we do them coordinated.”

Though the various chapters take different approaches to protest and advocacy, the international organization requires each chapter to adhere to certain guidelines.

The international group lists three demands that it seeks governments to meet. The Boston chapter, however, lists four specific demands in an attempt to facilitate change, Burkhardt said.

“We really are trying to make people aware of how urgent and how serious the situation with the climate actually is,” Burkhardt said.

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