Who Are Extinction Rebellion? And What Do They Want?

Joseph FurnessJoseph Furness in News, World
Published 17.10.19

‘Hell on Earth’ is how environmental movement Extinction Rebellion (abbreviated as XR) describes the present state of the world.

Using civil disobedience to push global change, XR is urging the government, and the people of the nation, to start addressing the pressing, potentially life-threatening issue of climate change.


What makes XR so fascinating is the way it’s dividing the public into three groups. A first, the group of individuals who agree with Extinction Rebellion enough to join the movement; a second, those who understand the ethos of the movement and concerned about the facts they’re presenting but wish they’d go about their protests in a more peaceful manner; and lastly, there’s those who think that Extinction Rebellion is a bunch of prats talking codswallop.

I won’t disclose my opinion on the matter.

Still, Extinction Rebellion believe that, no matter who you are, if the human race doesn’t unite together ASAP then we’ll all be dead as dodos. In short: they’re confident our current lifestyles are causing the human race to go extinct.

Who are Extinction Rebellion?

Their official website tagline reads: ‘We are facing an unprecedented global climate emergency. The government has failed to protect us. To survive, it’s going to take everything we’ve got.’.

What do Extinction Rebellion want?


XR have three fundamental aims. They want the government to: ‘tell the truth’ and declare a ‘climate and ecological emergency’, reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2025 and to create and be led by a citizens’ assembly to focus on climate and ecological justice.

When do they want it?


What does the Extinction Rebellion logo symbolise?

The logo for extinction rebellion, often dubbed ‘the extinction symbol’, is an hourglass: symbolic of their beliefs that time is running out for humanity (and many other species).


Which celebrities are supporting the XR movement?

Celebrities supporting the movement include Emma Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jude Law.

In fact, there are over 100 high-profile names that have signed an open letter to show their support towards the movement and to highlight that, although it may seem hypocritical for them to be part of XR (due to their high carbon footprint), they are conscious of this threat to humanity.

One section of the letter reads:

“Like you, and everyone else, we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm.”

Will this letter be what pushes the government to start taking the matter seriously?

What are the XR protests in London all about? 


The supposedly ‘non-violent’ movement is urging Londoners to ‘wake up’ and realise that (according to them) we can’t continue to live with our planet-destroying lifestyles. In an effort to bring this to the attention of city-goers, XR continue disrupting travel services, such as the Jubilee Line and the DLR, to make noise about our impending doom. That’s all good, but risking your life by making irrational decisions (eg. jumping on-top of a train) to highlight the ‘urgent’ issue of human extinction, seems awfully ironic to me…