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Main image: Extinction Rebellion / Vladimir Morozov, 2020
Today (20 March), Extinction Rebellion Youth (XR Youth) joined with Polluters Out to demand that representatives of fossil fuel industries are not included in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) due to take place in Glasgow this November.
Young people across Europe united to create a ‘cyberstorm’ – a digital form of direct action that will target major polluters and key European figures associated with the Paris Agreement, as well as the UNFCCC.
’Not welcome’ at COP26
The young people bombarded their modes of communication by constantly calling their business lines, emailing them, Twitter storming with #pollutersout and posting on their Facebook pages.
The intention was to disrupt these companies’ businesses for a day, and possibly longer, in order to send the message that they are not welcome at COP26 in Glasgow this year.
‘Coronavirus has been crippling to many of the foundations of our society, and pandemics like it will only be more disruptive as climate and ecological breakdown worsens, due to displacement and reduced resources.’
Action from young people
The action was taken as part of the Polluters Out campaign – a global coalition of young people in over 60 countries, united with scientists to challenge the fossil fuel industry’s control of our land and our futures.
Groups taking part in the campaign include the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), XR Youth and various Fridays For Future (FFF) groups across Europe. Actions were confirmed in Austria, the UK and Ireland, and expected in Germany and Sweden amongst others.
The coalition of young people taking action believe that fossil fuel companies should not be able to partake in climate policy-making discussions as they have a vested interest in maintaining the use of the carbon-emitting products they create.
COP26 and COVID-19
The action took place amid speculation that COP26 will be delayed due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on diplomatic processes usually undertaken in the run-up to the conference.
In addition to the digital action, Polluters Out organised a series of webinars throughout the day, covering topics like climate inequality as well as platforming stories from frontline communities on the impacts of the climate crisis in different regions of the world.
As many people around the world are currently quarantined, it was hoped that this could be an accessible and informative space that would empower people to take part in the fight for climate action.
COVID-19 and digital action
While the spread of COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the global community in the past few weeks and is prohibiting mass gatherings, the climate crisis continues.
The fight for climate justice should not be ignored or forgotten – every crisis should be treated as a crisis.
Today (March 20), Polluters Out’s International Day of Action and mass mobilisation moved online after a reconsideration of the format for future advocacy.
‘We are not going to pause our activism just because we can’t gather in the streets. We must adapt and find new forms of resistance.’
EXTINCTION REBELLION YOUTH SPOKESPERSON