2019 is behind us, and we are now living the first days of 2020 – a decade ends which has proved to be a tipping point in the fight against climate change. This year that ends represents an increase of awareness for many of us; the moment in which we said ‘enough is enough!’ and in which we started our own rebellion for life. This end of November and December have been especially intense, as we have found ourselves on the frontline of many of the fights for climate justice.
So, make yourself comfortable, friends. We will now present a summary of the most important things we have been doing at the end of 2019. All the things we have fought for, all the things we have achieved, and all the things that are yet to come!
Maybe you were on the Metro one of these days, going somewhere and thinking of the climate crisis, and then… suddenly a group of activists flooded the carriage alerting everyone to the very serious situation we are experiencing and how we can take action. These activists are the Underground Brigade, activists from XR that have decided to take action in the most direct way possible: talking to our fellow citizens face to face.
Their actions, which include performances and disruptive appearances in the daily routines of commuters, serve to strengthen our movement and put wider attention on the climate crisis.
Internal Training Day
We started November with a training day at Lafede.cat in which more than 40 rebels took part. The training day was aimed at giving out practical tools for a more secure, resilient and effective activism; digital security for daily life taught by XNET; self-organization, with a practical session on sociocracy; and an afternoon full of regenerative culture with a workshop on facilitation of empathy circles, and another one on caring and active listening.
The feedback given by the participants was very positive. We want to thank everyone who attended the workshops, and especially those who delivered them altruistically. We will continue working to maintain the quality of the trainings in next editions.
After the workshops, we ended the day in the best possible way, with a dinner prepared by El Menjador de La Base with local and seasonal products, and a concert by Ominira, an Afro-electronic dub band that protests against the environmental deterioration of our planet. Thank you all for giving us a fantastic night!
‘Oil’: Against Investment in Fossil Fuels
On the 12th November, in front of the European Commission, XR Barcelona together with 350 BCN carried out a performance to demand that European political leaders to completely stop the funding of projects related to fossil fuels by the European Investment Bank (EIB), and to support life. We could describe the action, which was entitled “Oil”, but we recommend you to check out the video if you have not done so yet, because the action was spectacular.
The EIB announced a few days later that it would stop funding this type of energy project from 2021 onward. Although this measure will be adopted much later than is needed, we think it is a positive first step to address the climate and ecological crisis.
Hunger Strike for Life
Faced by the inaction of the governments, on 18th November, more than 400 people around the world, including six rebels from Barcelona, started a hunger strike for the climate. The demand was clear: governments must act now to address the climate and ecological emergency that threatens the life of millions of species as well as human life.
Everywhere around the world there are people who are dying due to climate change. As the crisis deepens, the situation will only keep getting worse, especially for those who live in the Global South. It is for this reason that the rebels who went on strike wanted to also emphasize the need for justice towards migrants and the rights of indigenous peoples at the centre of our climate fight.
We offer you some words from the rebels that took part in the hunger strike:
“I want to make visible the people that are already in hunger and dying and express my solidarity. Hunger is not a choice for them, and it is directly linked to the climate emergency.” Chelo García
“I’m fed up of reading on the news that we don’t have time and that we need to act. We need to take action instead of just saying so.” Ilaria De Vita
“This climate and ecological crisis is a global injustice that will define our generation.” Ilias Bartolini
“I am here to show everyone that one day we will suffer hunger if we do not do something and demand that our governments to take action. We can’t continue living in the world this way.” Anna Dorthea Svendsen
“I have a 4-year-old niece and I am a researcher in the energy sector. I know that we are living in times of climate emergency, in a moment in which we don’t want to change our energetic model. We are condemning future generations to live in chaos: because of mass migrations, mass risks for agriculture… I do not want my niece to experience this.” Alberto Danese
“I believe that the time has come for us, inhabitants of the Earth, to speak on her behalf.” Jennifer Rooch Naiobis
Zeroport: When Activists Unite to Change the Model
On 28th November, a new single platform for the fight against the climate emergency was officially presented: Zeroport. It proposes to stop the expansion of Barcelona’s Port and Airport, and to make both infrastructures decrease. XR Barcelona is participating in this initiative: as we always say, what we need are structural changes.
For this reason, we came together with other activists in an action before the participatory event on climate change that the City Hall of Barcelona organized (Taula pel Clima). We demand action, not words.
Black Friday is the annual festival of consumerism in our toxic system; a marketing strategy that incites consumption and production at a massive and unnecessary pace. To protest against it, we changed the metro and bus station ads for messages alerting about the depletion of resources, as well as the misery caused by the exploitation involved in the production of the most purchased items.
Under the motto “If your toaster has inbuilt obsolescence, so does life on the planet”, that same afternoon we carried out a performance in La Maquinista in order to create awareness about inbuilt obsolescence. Wearing mourning clothes, rebels of XR Barcelona celebrated the funeral of ‘Tosti’, a toaster which producers design to last for one year only. Sadly, there are 50 million tonnes of electronic waste accumulated around the world. Only 20% of the waste disposed of annually is recycled.
All in all, it was an awareness-raising campaign designed to raise our profile in the public opinion, and that allowed us to insist on the fact that the time to act is now or never.
And right after the festival of consumption came the moment we were all waiting for: the Conference of the Parties in Madrid (COP25). Although initially convened in Chile, the conference was moved to Spain with the intention, on the part of the Chilean government, of making the democratic and social struggles of the Chilean people invisible. To support Chilean civil society and organizations, several organizations fighting against the climate and ecological emergency at the state level joined together to organize a Social Summit for the Climate that would also be a voice for all those demands coming from the Global South. In the face of the inaction of governments around the world, organized civil society organisations at the international level demonstrated how ecological transition is not possible without social justice.
The week of action included a demonstration on December 6th at Nuevos Ministerios, which brought together more than 500,000 people. In addition to actively participating in the demonstration and the Social Summit, Extinction Rebellion also filled the streets of Madrid (and the COP area) with what we do best: civil disobedience.
Barcelona filled two buses with rebels, and participated in the demonstration, as well as two of the four big actions organized by XR: the performance in front of the stands of the big electric companies and the blockade of la Gran Via.
With each of our actions during that first weekend of the Social Summit we tried to show that governments around the world are blind, deaf and have no desire to solve the climate crisis. And yet we, the organized citizens, at the international level, will not allow them to burn down our house without encountering resistance. We said it loud and clear: Don’t take away our planet!
An Afternoon of Regenerative Culture and Strategy
On 18th December, the Regenerative Culture and Strategy Commissions organized two workshops to involve the rest of XR’s activists in these issues. Through various exercises, we immersed ourselves in regenerative culture to revive and strengthen the bonds between us. We rounded off the session with a sharing of the impressions and emotions that COP25 had generated in us, with the participation of both those who went to Madrid and those who didn’t.
The strategy that will mark 2020 is of vital importance for our movement and that is why the commission in charge of designing the main lines wanted to involve more rebels. Starting from a calendar of key events we facilitated a very enriching and interesting session, gathering ideas that will help to chart the direction for this year ahead.
A Year of XR Barcelona
And so it happened that on 27th December XR Barcelona celebrated its first anniversary of our first meeting. It has been an intense year for all rebels, full of hope, dedication, and non-violent direct action.
The year 2020 will be decisive, we cannot fail, we will need all our strength. Changing the system is not easy but we will achieve it with everyone’s tenacity and perseverance.
Thank you for your dedication. XR Barcelona is all of us and each and every one of us. Congratulations!
Love and rage,
- Training workshop to become a speaker for XR talks on Saturday 18th January from 10:30 to 14:00 (location to be confirmed)
- XR talk-debate on the climate emergency, 20th January at 18:30 in Espai 210
- XR talk-debate on the climate emergency, 22th January at 18:30 at Centre Cívic Can Castelló
- XR talk-debate on the climate emergency, 24th January at 18:30 in Centre Sant Pere Apòstol
- XR talk-debate on the climate emergency, 4th February at 19:00 in La Figa