Disclaimer: Articles on this website are written from the perspectives of various Localists, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Local Matters. Our contributors come from a wide array of varying political backgrounds, and we believe that cooperation across the political spectrum is essential.
Over the past year, activist group Extinction Rebellion has attempted to fill a gap left by Greenpeace, who have slowly moved away from activism over the years. The group represents an attempt to speed up the global response to the climate crisis and implement sweeping and radical changes to society claiming that we are running out of time. While this is correct, their methods show that they are out of touch and are constrained by the same dogmas present in previous environmentalist groups.
Since mid-2018, they have carried out various stunts across the UK and the world which has mostly inconvenienced normal people as opposed to informing people about climate issues. The largest was their blockade of London streets, and even disrupting some tube services. For the average person trying to get to work, a mob of disruptive XR members dancing on top of your 08:35 train to Waterloo would be the last thing to convince you to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Prior to that, a shutdown of Bristol caused delays which prevented one unfortunate man/woman from reaching the hospital to see their dying father. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, an XR East Midlands account tweeted a picture of stickers saying that “Humans were the disease, Corona is the cure”. XR attempted to distance itself from the account, claiming that it was fake, but there has been no evidence to suggest that this is true.
This repetitive style of disruptive activity displays that Extinction Rebellion, despite attracting attention, is in no way going to tackle the climate emergency in any meaningful way without drastic strategic change, and will instead continue to be either simply amusing or a nuisance, to the average person. If you disagree and question the alternatives to waking people up to the climate emergency. The answer is to think small. humans are not designed to think on macro levels. That is not a negative, but simply a result of nature. However, It does mean that political strategy must be planned at the micro level to get your point across. A group like Local Matters exists just for that purpose.
We practice what we call “Down to Earth Environmentalism”. This means asking people to look at the environmental issues in their area, which they can make a practical difference to. Maybe land there is being bought out for housing development, or maybe the local park doesn’t receive its due care and attention, or maybe there are no green areas near you at all. These issues directly affect people, and most importantly, are perceivable to them as something they can change. Although Most people aren’t equipped with the knowledge to do this, groups like Local Matters exist to step in and advise people, with what they can do, as well as offer on-the-ground support.
This is the necessary strategy to combat the growing environmental threat, and we ask that you consider your approach if you care about these issues. If you’d like to get involved with Local Matters and our work on the ground, please contact us via the details on our contact page.