How to respond to September Global Climate Strike and Autumn National Extinction Rebellion?

The Global Climate Strike is happening this September as is the Nationwide Rebellion in October. I am hugely supportive as I believe we need to raise public awareness but I’m not sure whether simply making national demands is sufficient (see their demands below).

Even if national policy changed tomorrow it would take ages to filter down. Shouldn’t these strikes also be asking the institutions which are being disrupted for policy change at a local level?

We know that to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees we need to be at net global carbon emissions by 2040, and to halve carbon emissions by 2030 (see report Climate Change Committee report). For the UK to lead in this change we will need to reduce our individual carbon emissions from 5.65 tCO2 to half the global average; 2.17 tCO2 (see World Economic Forums per capita analysis).

Individuals, organisations and local and national governments need to be given a means to respond to this challenge with feasible action. We have already shared so much to support this such as the discussion about what an individual could do and how a council could implement a climate emergency.. We would do well to talk about what a school, organisation or national government could also do to respond.

We have a huge amount of specialist knowledge within our community of renewable energy, energy efficiency, EVs, how money can be change maker and how we can alter our lifestyles.. I think we should start using that knowledge to help activists make demands across the board. We should also support them with people power where possible.

What do people think? Could you contribute to helping in some way by chipping in how you will support the action or giving some ideas about policy which these activists could ask for?

I’ll kick off the discussion with a few of my own thoughts.

Extinction rebellion National Policy Demands

  1. Tell the truth: Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

  2. Act Now: Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

  3. Beyond Politics: Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

School for Strikes National Policy Demands

  1. SAVE THE FUTURE: The Government declare a climate emergency and implement a Green New Deal to achieve Climate Justice.
  2. TEACH THE FUTURE: The national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority.
  3. TELL THE FUTURE: The Government communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and the necessity to act now to the general public.
  4. EMPOWER THE FUTURE: The Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy making and bringing the voting age down to 16.

I’m going to kick off with some thoughts about what demands could be made from a school.

This is on the context that my oldest is at a nursery (or pre-school today), however, I could stand outside and make a protest there. But if I did that I would also like to make some demands of the nursery.

  1. Have your school declare a climate emergency and as a result have the Head teacher and members of the trustee board champion the climate crisis. Establish a teacher, student and parent committee to oversee the implementation of the climate emergency within the school.
  2. Move the school to be powered by 100% renewable energy and divest all pension funds away from oil and gas.
  3. Conduct an energy audit of the entire school and identify different means to insulate and power the school differently (heating and renewable energy).
  4. Review the schools grounds management practices by having an independent charity or organisation to provide suggestions on what could be done to improve biodiversity.
  5. Implement policies that help the school move to zero waste and reduce impacts from school food.
  6. Consider various means to incentivise low carbon transport to and from the school grounds, consult with stakeholders and implement policies.
  7. Find innovative means to finance changes. Potentially creating bond schemes which allow stakeholders to invest.

Are you supporting your child in the school strikes, do you think it’s a good idea? Would you want to ask for policy to be adopted by the school?

Here are some thoughts about what could be demanded from a work place. I’m just doing unpaid work for Better Century so obviously can’t do something by myself but will be looking for local opportunities to get involved.

  1. A formal sustainability group is established at the workplace comprised of staff and Directors/Trustees.
  2. The environmental policy is established determines a pathway to reducing carbon emission by half by 2030 and zero by 2040, with zero waste to landfill by 2030, and an environmental management system is put in place.
  3. The organisation immediately moves to 100% renewable energy, or requests that the office facilities make this happen, if it hasn’t already.
  4. The organisation divests all pension funds.
  5. That Scope 3 emissions (indirect carbon emission (travel to/from work and supplier emissions) are measured by the organisation with a projected path to reduce these to zero by 2040.
  6. All fleet vehicles to be moved to electric by 2030.
  7. The organisation reviews the facilities it has control over and investigates the implementation of biodiversity, energy efficiency and microgeneration of energy in and around the office.

How does this differ to the policy you have in your work place. Are you taking any kind of climate action? Do you think your workplace would respond to these types of demands?

I’m going to kick off my views of national policy:

  1. The government must declare a climate emergency which results in the Climate Change Act to project zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2040.
  2. As energy efficiency measures are the cheapest form carbon reduction the government must be mandated to halve carbon emissions from our housing stock by 50% by 2030.
  3. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars, vans and trucks should be banned by 2030.
  4. Renewable energy and grid enhancements to be put in place in the UK to result in more than 100% of our electricity needs to be met in the country by 2030.
  5. All new houses built to not be reliant on fossil fuels for heating, and all fossil fuel heating in existing housing stock to be phased out by 2040.
  6. 10% of all land in the UK across a ecological network (or nature recovery network) to have habitat restored to a favourable condition by 2030, and for this target to become 17.5% (IUCN targets) by 2040.
  7. All UK businesses reporting turn-over of over £500,000 to report on carbon and natural capital impacts by 2030, with provision of plans to reduce emissions to zero carbon by 2040 and to have a net natural capital benefit by 2050, with enforceable fines if 3 yearly targets are not met. Businesses under £500,000 to report solely on carbon

Too many demands and everybody gets confused. I like the ones from XR. 1&3 for sure and 2. not going to happen but good to have a stretch target. Simplicity is key. Added to that to people need to understand at a local level that they can contribute by making small and incremental improvements in the way they live the lives TODAY.

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Thanks Alan. Agree that stretched targets are good. Perhaps Better Century could help form an early ‘Citizens Assembly’ with requests. We could get ahead of the policy demands… But agree that demands need to be simple and kept to 3 or 4…


I think so. It is for me about doing a little bit better than yesterday and including people to do the same. Too great a target and people feel disappointed with momentum but give people small hurdles to get over and they cross them they get the confidence and encouragement to do more.

We’ve recently bought an air quality monitor. It would be very interesting to stand outside a school with one at drop off and pick up time, and outside these times for comparison, and then feedback the results!

My three year old daughter’s tee shirt for tomorrow’s strike in Oxford. It says please on the other side. Important to be polite!