Extinction Rebellion group call on BBC to tell ‘full truth about ecological emergency’
Sun 16 Dec 2018
Climate campaigners are calling on the BBC to declare a climate emergency and make the issue its top editorial priority.
In a letter published in the Guardian, the new civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion (XR) says the BBC, “as a respected media voice in the UK, needs to play a key role in enabling the transformative change needed”.
The group came to prominence last month when it organised the largest civil disobedience protest seen in the UK for decades, culminating in the occupation and closure of five bridges in central London. Since then it has grown rapidly and XR branches have sprung up in more than 35 countries.
In the letter, a version of which will be delivered to the BBC on Monday, campaigners request a meeting with the director general, Tony Hall, to “discuss how the corporation can tell the full truth on the climate and ecological emergency”.
They also call on the BBC to make the crisis its “editorial and corporate priority by adoption of a climate emergency strategic plan, at the level of urgency placed on informing the public about the second world war”.
The group, which launched at the end of October with a blockade of Parliament Square in London, said it would hold a peaceful demonstration outside the BBC on Friday.
The rapid spread of XR comes as frustration rises with policymakers who are failing to slow perilous levels of global warming and biodiversity loss. There have been a flurry of reports on the scale of the climate crisis , including one from the UN which said there were only 12 years left to limit some of the most devastating impacts.
During UN climate talks in Poland this month, David Attenborough said that unless action was taken “the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon”.
Several cities in the UK, including London, have now declared a climate emergency.
XR is calling on the government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a “citizens assembly” to devise an emergency plan of action, similar to that seen during the second world war.
During a second wave of civil disobedience this weekend, thousands of people staged peaceful direct action protests in towns and cities around the UK.
The latest XR group to set up internationally was in New York, where activists announced plans at their first meeting this weekend for a US national day of action on 26 January. The group is planning an international week of rebellion in April.
This month 100 prominent figures including the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the authors Philip Pullman and Naomi Klein backed XR, calling for people around the world to rise up and organise against political leaders’ “paralysis”.
“We must collectively do whatever’s necessary non-violently, to persuade politicians and business leaders to relinquish their complacency and denial,” their open letter stated.