Last week Extinction Rebellion (XR) organised a climate demo – The Big One – lasting from April 21st -24th. They mobilised more than 200 organisation, trade unions, and charities UK-wide to join them demanding to end the fossil fuel era. BFoE went to London of Saturday April 22nd to join Extinction Rebellion and thousands of others. The protest on Saturday, which coincided with Earth Day, focused on nature and biodiversity.

We started the day early at 7.30am with a coach ride to London along with members of other organisations from Birmingham. When we arrived at about 11.30am, thousands of people had already assembled around Parliament Square, in Westminster. Over the whole day there was a diverse program of activities. Various organisation had organised stalls, there was music playing, and experts such as Chris Peckham gave speeches on a small stage. The atmosphere reminded more of a festival with a very serious message than a demo and gave attendees a chance to socialise, meet new people, and exchange. At the meeting point, we met other Friends of the Earth groups and had a short chit-chat before the main event of the day started. The collective biodiversity march started at 1.30pm and ended with a symbolic mass “die-in”. By laying on the street at The Mall the protesters mourned the shrinking animal population and warned about the loss of biodiversity and future extinction of humanity due to global warming. In line with the days theme and the message the protesters wanted to send, multiple attendees, many of them children, dressed up in animal costumes.

Amongst all negative consequences, climate change is one the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Over the past few hundred years, humankind has increased the rate of species extinction by 1000 in relation to the planet’s history (Habibullah et al., 2022). Factors such as an increasing temperature, precipitation, and natural disasters, all of which are related to climate change, increase biodiversity loss. On the other hand, governmental policies like the control of corruption, regulatory quality, and rule of law can reduce biodiversity loss (Habibullah et al., 2022). It highlights the importance of demos like The Big One and shows the necessity of people using their voice to make demands to the government. 

Therefore, we were glad to be able to join XR on Saturday and were happy to see that many people supported the demo and took part in the protest.

Written by Celina Bischoff

Habibullah, M. S., Din, B. H., Tan, S. H., & Zahid, H. (2022). Impact of climate change on biodiversity loss: global evidence. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 29(1), 1073-1086.