The term, also known by the initials “XR,” refers to a socio-political movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to stop mass extinction and social collapse associated with climate breakdown.  The movement was started in 2018 in the United Kingdom and has spread to cities and countries across the globe.  In numerous cities, the XR protesters have blocked traffic — on streets and at airports — chained themselves together outside politicians’ houses, glued themselves to public gates, planted trees, had massive bike rides, and generally tried to disrupt regular patterns of life.

While the groups oppose violence, they do support civil disobedience, which for some at times constitutes illegal actions.  Indeed, some of the early founders promote arrest as a tactic to generate publicity and climate action.


The XR movement does not necessarily promote a specific agenda of actions for dealing with climate breakdown, but does sometimes adopt a set of demands or principles, e.g., telling the truth, acting now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and convening Citizens’ Assemblies to develop programs for climate and other social actions, as has occurred in Ireland and elsewhere.




A new Climate Emergency Fund recently was established by a small group of philanthropists, including members of the Kennedy and Getty families, to support the work of XR and other climate civil actions.

Some further ideas to explore on Extinction Rebellion:

Look at the websites of several of the XR organizations and determine if they share any common goals or targets or agendas for specific climate actions.

Why did 1%ers, protesting economic inequality, largely disappear and how can the civil actions of XR and other youth movement organizations be sustained?

Are the XR organisations working with other local or national environmental groups on climate action?


“Roger Hallam, co-founder, Extinction Rebellion – The birth, the theory and the practice”  in the You Tube section of irish environment e-magazine (1 Sept 2019).


John Schwartz, “Philanthropists Spring for the Bullhorns as Climate Change Protests Grow Louder,” The New York Times (30 Sept 2019).


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