Pimp My Unicorn
We were thrilled to be offered the chance to be part of the two week event showcasing art, poetry, politics and glamorous dress ups from the LGBTQ+ community in Norwich.
XR Norwich had a space at the back of St Margaret's church to exhibit some of the heartfelt protest art that has been created over the past few months.
Our talented member Fern also created a giant unicorn piece to hang on the wall. A very colourful little corner of art activism to be explored during the two weeks.
The event kicked off on Monday 22nd July with lots of powerful speeches made on Launch night. Having many queer members, XR Norwich have a real gratitude and admiration for those who for generations have protested and fought for the rights that the LGBTQ+ community have today in the UK. XR Norwich member Simon spoke about his involvement with Extinction Rebellion and the importance of protest and taking action whilst there still remains inequality in the world.
We share this one planet and we share it with one love.
There is no Climate justice without Equality.
XR members also used the space in St Margaret's Church to hold a mini practice peoples assembly ahead of the real one planned for the end of August. It covered how Extinction Rebellion can become more inclusive and how the rights of LGBTQ+ people will be affected by Climate change.
Special thanks to Vince Laws for getting us involved and Victoria for organising it.
Stalls at the Forum
The 27th and 28th of July were two very busy days for XR Norwich, with stalls at both Pride and The Vegan Fayre.
A great team effort to get the stalls looking beautiful and thanks so much to all those who volunteered some of their time to hand out leaflets and talk to people at the events.
Whereas before at outreach events, a lot of time has been spent explaining who we are, this time there was a real feeling that the name 'Extinction Rebellion' has hit the mainstream. Although it remains hard, having conversations about the climate crisis seems to be becoming a much more approachable subject for people of all ages.
Although the activism remains a tricky concept for many, there was a sense that most people agree, something has to change ! Local support seems to be growing.
With so many new XR groups springing up, we were able to not only promote XR Norwich but also point people in the direction of their own local group in Norfolk or Suffolk.
There were some really interesting and encouraging conversations with the public and it was a pleasure to spend the weekend at two such joyful and important events.
We also got to let our hair down at Pride and danced till we could dance no more!
What a great bunch of people to spend a weekend with.
Bring on October !
Today across five cities in the UK, people have risen up and the Summer Uprising has begun.
We stand in solidarity with these actions and today held a peaceful protest outside Norfolk County Council in opposition to the Westernlink road.
For two weeks last April, Extinction Rebellion took over central London to demand the government acknowledge the climate crisis and do what is necessary to tackle the emergency.
Extinction Rebellion had 3 demands :
1) DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY - Tell the truth and acknowledge the crisis
2) GO CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2025 - Act Now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gases
3) CITIZENS ASSEMBLY - Go beyond Politics to bring about climate and ecological justice.
In response to the Rebellion the government declared a climate emergency but since doing so have failed TO ACT like it really is an emergency. Our government continue to go about business as usual with worryingly insufficient responses. Time is running out!
Ice is melting, fires are raging, sea levels are rising, and hundreds of thousands of people are suffering because of climate breakdown. We are facing the sixth mass extinction and the collapse of civilisation will be a stark reality of this.
Nationally and locally we continue to see companies drilling for oil, fracking, expanding airports and investing time and money into more highly polluting infrastructures. Just where is the urgency? Where is the respect, care and protection of our world and our children's future?
Norfolk County Council have today announced their chosen route for the Western link road. If the threat this poses to local wildlife, peoples health and the beautiful landscape wasn't bad enough, the decision also shows their desperately disappointing vision to tackling climate change. Our house is on fire!
As a young local protester so bravely put it to the council today.......'I am Amelia, I'm 9 years old and you're taking away my future!'
A member of Norwich XR made this speech at the protest today-
'We stand in solidarity with movements around the world, seeking climate and social justice just like we are here calling for today. We are here today calling for justice locally, and yet our vision and message is also international, as we acknowledge that communities all around the world are facing the effects of climate change and environmental degradation, standing up for their rights and against the powerful and corrupt, and facing the dangers of repercussions against their campaigning and activism.
I wanted to talk briefly today to remind us all that the first reality we must face is that the effects of climate change are not shared equally. While it is people in the Global South and marginalised communities here in the Western world who are the first to feel the impacts of extreme weather events, food crop failure, and air pollution, their voices are rarely heard.
I recently heard an inspiring talk about the huge social injustice that underpins the crisis we all currently face. In it, I was introduced to the idea of the climate change Titanic. The idea is that we are all on the climate ‘titanic’ together, and we are all about to hit the proverbial iceberg - the tipping point, the point of no return, the ‘too late’.
Yes that might be true, but aren’t some of us on the deck, drinking cocktails and listening to the orchestra, thinking that there is going to be some miraculous answer that will save us, and while that’s happening we can keep building roads… And in the hold, isn’t that all the people facing extremes of marginalisation, poverty, injustices on the front-lines of environmental conflicts, in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin america ….and right here in the UK in some of our most deprived communities. And aren’t they drowning, and aren’t they trying to escape, and as they try aren’t they realising that YOU have welded the hold shut. And isn’t THAT the real story of climate change?
So Norfolk county council - take our planet off your development business plan because it is NOT for sale. The fight we bring here today is the fight of our lives and we refuse to sacrifice those of our oppressed brothers and sisters for your profit.' - Tina
To find out more about our actions to stop the Westernlink road and what you can do to help, please see the bottom of the homepage
For more pictures from the days protest visit our gallery here.
News articles below.
At the beginning of July, Hayley Pinto, her daughter Sasha and a group of volunteers teamed up to deliver day long workshops to children aged 12 and 13 in Norfolk. First at Norwich School and then twice at Thorpe School the week after.
Hayley is a member of Greenpeace, CHAIN (Climate Hope and Action In Norfolk) and most recently Norwich XR. As a local doctor, she realised the urgent need to address climate change after reading the word ‘Catastrophe’ in a medical journal. Her daughter Sasha has just completed a degree in Zoology and understands the need to protect and enhance biodiversity in the face of human ecological destruction.
Believing strongly that young people have the right to know the facts regarding their world and their future, the aim of the workshops was to inform, educate and empower young people to take action for change. The workshops were in depth and inspiring, covering hard hitting topics in a powerful yet playful and dynamic way.
Split into two parts, the first half of the day covered the current issues of climate change and its impacts on the earth, its species and humankind. A mixture of talks, videos and interactive quizzes, the morning session explained the facts, science and consequences of the current crisis. There was then a lunch break and an opportunity for the children and staff to digest the material they had covered.
The second session was all about the ‘Solutions’ to the crisis. Encouraging the children to problem solve and come up with inventive ideas that could address the climate emergency. The children worked in small groups each dealing with one subject matter.
1. Energy - demand
2. Energy - production
4. Cities - Design and Materials
5. Buildings - Design and Materials
6. Consumption - Fashion and what we buy
8. Diet and Food Waste
9. Land Use, forests and wetlands
12. Human Health
Given fact sheets, online references and books, they were required to work together and negotiate with other groups to come up with action plans. For example Agriculture may of requested people change their eating habits by communicating with Diets and Health may have requested better air quality from Transport and cycle paths form City Design to improve activity levels.
Groups were rewarded points for their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and also scored for their ability to enhance biodiversity. Prizes were given to the winners so competition was high!
The days workshop was rounded up with short presentations from each group and reflection on what they had learnt. The children were asked to consider what they could do as individuals to take action and a summer challenge was set.
The workshops were really positive with the children engaging really well with the subject and working really hard to understand the content. There was a lot of information given and it was respectfully pitched at a very high level. The children responded really well to this and thrived when given the chance to take on the responsibilities to solve the issues themselves. Coming up with more solutions in the space of an afternoon, than many politicians have managed in a lifetime!
Feedback from Norwich school:
‘I am emailing to congratulate you on Climate Day (4) – certainly the best so far. As always your organisation was superb, and you presented your message in a way that conveyed both urgency yet a determination to apply practical, effective and balanced responses. I thought timings were precise: a morning to present a range of challenges and an afternoon to focus on solutions. Delivery was excellent and the pupils responded accordingly. It was evident to them that Hayley was passionate but also highly informed, nuanced, balanced and non-judgemental. I judged the quality of student response to be high. Hayley did an excellent job marshalling pupil comments and offering tweaks or insights of her own.
Climate Day also seemed quite ‘easy’ this year. This reflects excellent organisation (thanks Helen and Fran too), support from volunteers (thanks to Sasha and your colleagues Hayley) but mainly because a well-paced day was packed with learning and purposeful activity.’ - Tom
‘Please can I echo your thanks Tom. Although I didn’t get to see the activities (other than a brief 5 mins in the morning) I’ve heard from my son, who is in U4, just what a good day it was – he certainly learnt a great deal and also said he enjoyed himself. Thank you to all of you for your hard work in organising this excellent and really beneficial day for our pupils.’ -Richard
It was a pleasure and a privilege to volunteer at the workshops. It was a breath of fresh air to hear the children's perspectives, intuitions and clarity on what needs to be done! A real mess us adults have got ourselves into! Lets stop and listen to some of these wise younger folk.
There is hope these school workshops will continue next year. If you are a teacher or a parent, why not suggest one is held at your local school.
Mother Earth, known by her friends as Home, passed away on the eve of the sixth mass extinction.
That fateful evening, she made one last request to humankind, ‘on the day of the 6th mass extinction, you must look the future generation in the eye and say you are sorry !’.
This week a memorial service was held in Norwich City centre, to mourn all that Mother Earth has lost and continues to lose to climate change and human destruction.
The service commenced with tributes paid by the Undertaker. Acknowledging what had so sadly been lost and remembering those around the world living daily with the terrible consequences of the climate crisis. The Undertaker encouraged the attendees to support each other in their grief but to remain united in hope because together people can make a change.
With the funeral musician on the guitar, the mourners then sang Amazing Grace to a reggae beat. Reggae being one of Mother Earth's favourite genres and thus a fitting tribute.
Six of Mother Earth's close friends stepped up to be pallbearers and lifted the coffin down the steps of City hall. Slowly the funeral procession made its way across the top of the Marketplace and onto the cobbles of Gentlemans walk. Some sobbed into their hancichiefs while others showed their respects by singing ‘People gonna rise like the water’ along to the low beat of the funeral drum. The coffin was laid down once again and mourners placed flowers and ears of wheat by its side.
As the Undertaker announced the 6th mass extinction to the crowd gathering on the street, the forty or so mourners dropped to the ground and died. The Undertaker paused for a second and then began to read aloud the Extinction Rebellion Declaration. A few funeral attendees did not die and instead passed messages of hope and solidarity to the curious crowd.
At the end of the declaration came the call for people to take action and rebel. Hearing this the mourners stood up from their graves and the pallbearers lifted the coffin up once more. The procession walked slowly along the bottom of the marketplace and back up to the City Hall steps. The coffin was laid down and in one final peaceful moment everyone dropped to the ground and died
The Undertaker read the declaration once more before closing the ceremony and inviting the mourners to sing one final hymn together.
The wake was held at the Greenhouse. Coffee and cake was shared and people shared their stories and love for Mother earth.
Norwich XR funeral services would like to thank everyone who attended and commends their peaceful nature and courage shown at this difficult time. In the midst of the 6th mass extinction. We stand with you in grief.
Find all the great photos of the day in the gallery here.
See the press coverage below
As climate emergencies are being declared all around the globe and people are waking up to the crisis, an urgency to cut carbon emissions becomes more and more apparent. Instead Norfolk County Council is planning to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to build a road, increasing transport emissions. This is an embarrassing example of leadership in the fight against climate change.
The road will also be catastrophic for wildlife. Cutting across woodlands, wetlands and grasslands destroying habitats and causing local extinctions. However, like all environmental issues, the picture is much more complex when you take it down to a local level and investigate the impacts decisions are having on local people.
The NDR (Northern Distributor Road) has been left unfinished and for many this is a point of huge frustration. Public transport services are infrequent or non existent, leaving people with no option but to drive. Traffic through many of the villages in the area is congested and dangerous and local people want a solution to this as soon as possible. Acknowledging this frustration and accepting that many people welcome the new road for these reasons is vitally important when proposing actions and solutions.
On Sunday 7th July, a few Norwich XR members visited Ringland River Green to meet locals and discuss peoples hopes and fears about the road. Some of the words that came up where feelings of 'helplessness' and 'resignation' with the proposed road being a 'necessity'. Some expressed feeling devastated at the idea of losing the natural surroundings, but remained angry at the congested roads and being ignored.
People also shared how much they loved the area and the childhood memories it evoked.
There was a real sense that the area is loved and of course no one wants the destroy the natural landscape. However, transport is a real issue and if not a road then what ?
We hope the council will slow down and consider other options. For example, regular and reliable bus services could be introduced as a way to improve congestion. Yes it may not be the final solution, but its progressive.
Thanks to all those that attended. We had a lovely afternoon on the grass and the cake was delicious.
This year saw the parades organisers say no to carbon emitting engines and instead encouraged participants to find cleaver environmentally friendly ways of moving their float. The reality of the climate crisis is slowly starting to hit home and a greener way of approaching things accepted as the only way forward for us now.
Our support for this decision in combination with our love of the Norwich community and a chance to dress up meant we were delighted to be given a space in this years parade 'Love the world around you'. We were even more delighted to be gifted a spot just ahead of Norwich Samba band.
Samba drums were the beating heart of the London rebellion in April, so on foot, in wheel chair and on bike, boogieing to the beat of the drums in Norwich was a real treat.
If samba was the blood pumping through the veins of the rebellion, the pink boat was most definitely it's soul. Reminiscent of the space created in Oxford Circus by Berta 1, our very own Berta 2 made her first appearance. Pulled in the parade by a penguin in a hat and a dancing bear. Decorated with banners, flags and giant toadstools, she was beautiful. We are the boat!
The costumes were also fantastic! Bears, penguins, jellyfish, crocodiles, birds, butterflies and many more. Our well loved animal kingdom was well represented. Even Lilly the dog came dressed as a bee.
The atmosphere in the crowd was joyful and those who knew us clapped and cheered. Those that didn't seem to know us were curious and some asked questions. Shereen and her mum did a great job singing into the mega phone and engaging with children and adults in the crowd.
Despite the terrible weather earlier in the day, skies cleared and it certainly didn't rain on our parade this year!
A huge thank you to Norwich Samba for your amazing talents.
A huge thanks to all those rebels involved in the days fabulous celebration of our love for nature !
Lets continue to raise awareness in Norwich so that next years parade is even more environmental conscious.
More Photos in The Gallery