Extinction Rebellion – giving out free vegetables in Abingdon then peaceful civil disobedience in London

Extinction Rebellion Abingdon
A few days ago Extinction Rebellion Abingdon were giving out free fruit and vegetables and talking to people about the urgency of the climate emergency.

This was something that other environmental groups could easily have been doing to raise public awareness.

Local councils have declared a climate emergency and are trying to find ways to put that emergency into practise.
Extinction Rebellion Abingdon
A day or so later Extinction Rebellion Abingdon were in London, with XR groups from other places, in an act of peaceful civil disobedience thinking much bigger actions were needed to tackle the climate emergency. All the other environmental groups had failed to halt the climate emergency. People had to realise this was serious.

41 thoughts on “Extinction Rebellion – giving out free vegetables in Abingdon then peaceful civil disobedience in London

    1. Tim

      XR are in Rebellion so no name change necessary. They are have more credibility than climate change deniers who disagree with 97% of scientists.

  1. Janet

    The other groups have failed because no one goes to the most poluting countries in the world. Why don’t extinction rebellion go to China and India and disrupt them? However, when I went to India they are trying to do something about the problem. But the problem is too big for them to tackle.

  2. Tim

    Extinction Rebellion were reaching out to the citizens of Abingdon, in Abingdon, to talk about ways that anyone can make a contribution to addressing the Climate Crisis. The solution does not lie in a few people doing everything, but many people doing something can have a significant effect.
    The bigger problems (China, globalisation, continued use of fossil fuels etc.) need bigger solutions that can only be made at a national or international level and we need to get our politicians to take this problem seriously.
    Tell the Truth
    Act Now
    Go Beyond Politics

  3. Jenny Hirst

    It was great to see such a positive community-based action where people were given away free homegrown fruit and veg in the centre of Abingdon. Everyone there was lovely and polite. They were raising awareness of the real possibility of food shortages in our children’s lifetimes. There are currently droughts, floods and wildfires across the world, and that’s just 2020. We are all in this mess together.

  4. Michelle

    Peaceful non violent civil disobedience is a tactic that helped women get the vote, thank you to the Suffragettes for their sacrifice… Gandhi and others used the tactic too and it worked, bringing about much needed change. Extinction Rebellion are using these tactics too. Peaceful and non violence is key to ensuring that they maintain credibility and respect. The messages are hard to hear, but the #truthmustbefreed – the response by our govt to the climate and ecological emergency is woefully inadequate and we have a right to protest.

  5. moan again

    I dont think anyone disagrees with their original intentions, however its the unlawful way they go about their business that I know are gradually turning folk against them. They are also hypoctritical,when thay had the big protest marches in london, how did they get there, cycle,horseback, walk, I suspect a few did, but the vast majority, by car, train, bus and plane.

    1. Tim

      There very little unlawful about handing out vegetables. When it comes to blocking streets and disruption, politicians of all stripes have spent 30 years ignoring this unfolding catastrophe because it has not been politically expedient. Conventional democracy is failing on this issue, we have to do something and we have to do something now. Non-violent disruption has a long and successful pedigree in this sort of situation. If XR believed there was another, less disruptive, more successful strategy, we would take it. But there isn’t.
      If you properly research the actions in London recently you will find that some people did, in fact, walk and cycle considerable distances to get to there. When it comes to a chosing between taking a train or not going at all, the rest of us have to live with that hypocrisy.

      1. Peaceful protester

        Yes, the government needs to act NOW before it is too late and now is a good opportunity to create new green jobs for those who have lost theirs due to the pandemic. The likely cause of this pandemic was deforestation and loss of wildlife habitats. Now is a good time to act to try to prevent more pandemics don’t you think?

  6. newcomer

    I agree with the cause, but is it the right time to demonstrate in large numbers of covid-spreaders and risk sharing-out the virus?

  7. Michael Harrison

    XR is disrupting life in this country just in order to clamp down on the tiny 1% CO2 of world emissions we produce. They should calm down and go away.

    1. Daniel

      I like facts, especially true ones. So, I googled this one, and as far as facts go, it is not only a real one, but it is indeed also a true one…

      I know that “every little helps”, but it does seem that whilst the principle is worthy, practically, surely, a percentage difference in teh US, China, Russia, India would ACTUALLY make a discernable difference.

      I am happy to turn my TV off of standby…but are they going to do it in America as well – where it may actually change things?

      Out of interest..is EVERY new build development/warehouse having solar panels and grey water harvesting systems built in to their design by default yet…? One assumes the water harvesting and solar pannelling on the Fairacres development would make it go towards carbon neutral..?

  8. Daniel

    I look forward to the kiddiwinks having another day off in support of the issues.

    Perhaps not a day off this time though? Maybe an algebra sit-in? “Calculus for the climate”; a 48hr maths marathon by school children (and parents) to raise awareness?

    Or, maybe… “Periodic table for the planet”?

    Or…maybe stick to a march?

    1. Tim

      Calling active, engaged youth ‘kiddiwinks’ is churlish and laughable. The young people who have a genuine concern for the future of the planet that they are supposed to inherit deserve more respect.

  9. moan again

    whilst i acknowledge that Tims comment that giving out veg is not unlawful, I hope he or anyone else for that matter is not put in a situation as has happened whereby emergency services cant get thru because streets/bridges are illegally blocked or that he cannot afford to feed his family because of not being able to get to work and earn a livelyhood .

    1. Tim

      Dear Moan,
      I’ve been at actions where plenty of space has been given for emergency services. I also know of actions where the entire road has been closed, by Police, even to blue lights, despite access being available. XR are not unique targets for this sort of comment.
      The sort of employment where key workers, with little or no control over their pay, loose money for reasons outside their control is the sort of employment that we should all condemn and shun. XR gives strong support to any worker, anywhere, who suffers under this type of exploitation.

      1. moan again

        key workers pay is a separate discussion point(altho I dont think they are paid enough),in london eg last year bridges/ roads were blocked, emergency services couldnt get thru, folks couldnt get to work some businesses couldnt open,this is fact. again xr principle i dont think folks disagree with,but their methods are turning folk against them fact. do you think blocking newspapers was a good action what sort of publicity are the papers going to print about xr, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  10. rudi

    you’ll often hear them saying ‘ i want to save the planet for my children’ with no sense of irony.
    reproducing is the most environmentally unfriendly thing a human can do.
    a human who remains childless and takes 5 foreign holidays a year will do less harm to the environment than a person who has children.

    1. Tim

      This is exactly the kind of conundrum that we need to come together around and discuss. There are no easy answers to any of this, if there were we would have them by now. All that is certain is that we can’t carry on like this, where we go and how we get there is a difficult debate but it is a planet wide problem and needs a plante wide response. There are many many children in various parts of the globe whose carbon footprint is almost zero. They and their families are most at risk from climate change.

    2. Daniel

      I would thoroughly recommend the Ch4 drama “Eutopia” that provokes a powerful debate about this very issue…

      You’ll need to find it on catch-up or whatever….but it basically posses the answer to the questions raised by the elephant in the room…

  11. Michele

    So lovely to see Extinction Rebellion in Abingdon, doing their best and staying strong. Please keep it up, and thank you.

  12. Julian

    I would imagine that a lot of them were having “to live with that hypocrisy”.
    Making unnecessary journeys then preaching to the rest of us how we shouldn’t be making our necessary ones. No doubt he majority were filming it, taking pics, and texting how virtuous they were on their smart phones.
    You couldn’t make it up….

  13. Nicky

    I cannot think of a less disruptive and more positive way of engaging local people in conversation about this global crisis than by giving away excess fruit and vegetables. Climate change is a very real threat to food security and we are already seeing the effects a change in climate will bring. Well done to everyone involved.

  14. DavidofRugby

    Who knew free veg could arouse such ire!

    I was going to ask for three pounds of carrots, but i am frightened of getting lynched.

  15. Tim

    If you mean ‘Why aren’t our politicians doing anything?” or ‘How has conventional democracy failed?’ These are not either / or questions. XR propose that we ‘Go Beyond Politics’ and address these issues through Citizens Assemblies. These are not talking shops for vested interests and obsessives, they are more akin to jury service. A representative cross section are given time, space support and information to come to a conclusion that gets as close as possible to a unanimous decision when all views have been aired and considered.

  16. Jenny Hedges

    As a mother and horticulturalist who lives in Abingdon i am thankful that we have an Abingdon XR group. I had felt alone and burdened with the the problems caused by human kind and the destruction of our own environment. Through Abingdon XR and other local environmental groups i have become more efficient in raising awareness of the issues we all face, both localy and nationaly. We do need to support the CEE bill and collectively work at implementing solutions to the climate emergency before its too late.

  17. Kelly Simpson

    When my friend, who agrees with their basic message and told them this, politely questioned, at this event, their methods, she was told to p**s off as she wasn’t worth discussing with. Also not impressed with the trail of litter (and wasted paper) from the posters they put up all over the place, especially down the Wootton Road.
    Peaceful civil disobedience in London? But not legal – defacing buildings with paint, meeting in large groups.
    They may think they need to do this to get results, but, rightly or wrongly, they are just alienating people who might otherwise wupport the cause. They may be right in their message, they are wrong in their tactics.

    1. Peaceful Protester

      XR Abingdon members are the loveliest people I know and they definitely did not say anything of the kind to this lady. We were there to gain support and would never be rude to people. We are trying to save the planet and the people on it, we are nice people!!!

      (Moderators please print this response as you didn’t print my last one. Please can you let me know why, thanks. You can delete this bit after reading.)

    2. PH64

      Spot on!

      They are quite literally their own worst enemy: the irony of the people promoting a cause being the very ones who defeat it.

    3. Iain

      Cant quite imagine what sort of ‘polite questioning’ would have elicited this kind of response. The ladies running the stall when I went down seemed very well mannered

      1. Kelly Simpson

        It was a man. The question was ‘how do you justify your methods of protest when they seem to alienate and upset people?’

  18. David

    When it comes to blocking streets and disruption, XR are nothing when compared to private vehicle owners, who do this on vast scales, every day of every week.

  19. PH64

    XR talks about being beyond politics, but is entirely political when the surface is scratched even the tiniest bit.

    We’ve seen it all before: the great un-washed vegan student types, telling everyone the end is coming in a matter of months and we have weeks to save the world. It’s the same story the climate change industry has pumped out for decades, and since the world didn’t end, average Joe (me) stops listening and files these people in the “looney” box. That’s undoubtedly grossly unfair, but it’s what happens, and XR needs to understand how they come over before they’ll be effective.

    Let’s see XR stop being “anti”, and instead show us the way. Let’s see how life will work in their alternative world by having them live it.
    What industries and wealth will they create?
    How will the economy, education and social services function under their operating model?
    How will jobs, wages and retirement be funded?

    Perhaps XR has a genuine set of improvements to put forward. Unfortunately, giving away some vegetables does rather pander to the Monty Python “People’s Front of Judea” impression they’ve created. That’s genuinely a shame.

  20. Dino Marks

    I’m sorry but this for many is just another bandwagon to jump on. I get the need to think and act differently but there are ways to do this through schools, advertising and not disruption.
    One member of the the XR ‘team’ in Abingdon on this particular day was stood drinking from a plastic bottle of water. Surely a questionable choice considering that type of thing is what they were protesting about??

  21. John

    Thanks to Tim for moving the debate forward with careful, measured answers.
    If the questions were more careful and measured we might start to see a way out of the problem in time.

  22. newcomer

    I’m sorry, but I thought Tim was the self-reichteous blowhard of the group …

    I think that the environmental helter-skelter we’re on is due to a lack of appreciation of consequences by decades of ‘decision-makers’ … who would have guessed that plastic wouldn’t degrade …

  23. Tim

    This action has generated a lot of opinion, which is great but there is a lot of focus on XR, which is also great but XR are not the problem. Whatever you think about XR and their activities they are not the problem. The issue is the Climate Crisis. When we start to seriously address the Climate Crisis XR will go away. But unless and until that happens XR will continue to fight for our lives and our planet out of love for them both.


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