Clare Farrell is a Bussey Building resident and founder of No Such Thing; a successful environmental cyclewear brand. Now, still based in Bussey, she is a full time activist, dedicating her time, experience and creativity to the ecological non-violent direct action group which she helped to found; Extinction Rebellion.

The chances are that you have heard of Extinction Rebellion down to the group’s greatly successful attempts at shutting down cities over the world in order to get governments to listen to their concerns. In London alone they shut down Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus, Marble arch and Parliament square,plus XR youth group closed Piccadilly Circus during their April rebellion. The mainstream media was filled with news about both their group and the climate and ecological emergency. Now XR is working on an international scale with ‘rebels’ all over the world organising their own protests in over 50 countries.

Why do you think Extinction Rebellion broke through to the media and public consciousness with such force compared to other environmental groups?

Extinction Rebellion has come from a group who have been working specifically towards the social and political ideas or actions that might help our current situation, to be able to change the toxic systems that are killing human beings and destroying the natural world. We have been able to take people on a journey towards asking big questions, being honest about the horror of the times we are living in, and feeling the grief which comes with that.

Admitting that you’re miserable because of the environmental disaster we are in/heading for used to be taboo and hopefully now it is not. However, the willingness to give your liberty for what you think is right has a historical precedent and it has always been a powerful way to communicate with the world. We have been extremely lucky in some ways; there have been several well-timed scientific reports which coincided with our work, the school strikes and other movements have also stepped up with great energy and timing, and not to mention David Attenborough here in the UK. We know we aren’t the only ones doing the work but I think we’ve added some volume and there has been some serendipity too.

What words of advice regarding climate change do you have for our readers?

The situation is out of control, everything is unfolding ‘faster than expected’ and looking at the facts hurts – but if you look at it all the time it will help you to act like it’s real. Read science every day, track the arctic melt, look at biodiversity loss and weep. It requires dedication to the truth, and dedication to love. We should remember to be kind to ourselves, each other and our communities; we are all part of the problem.

Of course you should stop flying, stop eating meat and insulate your homes properly; but really, finding a way through this requires national and international political work on a scale never seen before. What I’m trying to say is, that personal lifestyle changes have been sold to us as a way to solve it, but you can’t do it alone and you can’t do it by shopping for greener products. It’s a total emergency; we should prepare ourselves to let go of things we don’t need. Get ready to really show love and solidarity to our family all over the planet; we need each other; there are already hundreds of thousands of deaths per year and that will continue to rise. Air pollution alone is causing an annual global genocide, mostly due to fossil fuels.

We must be absolutely critical of what politics and business tell us – the systems we govern with have allowed global carbon emissions to rise 60% in 30 years, since we were told unanimously to reduce them or face the collapse of civilisation. GLOBALLY THEY’RE STILL GOING UP.

Political will has been missing and our current political system cannot deliver the bold life saving work required of it in the current emergency, now that it has taken our species (and all of life on earth) to the cliff edge. One million species are at risk of extinction. We anticipate to only have around 30-40 harvests left before soil in the UK reaches total infertility.
Both nature itself and the people of the world have been brought here by decades of lies and exploitation. It’s time for love and compassion to take their place. Put simply, it’s time to rebel. We’re having a great time whilst we’re doing it – Join your local rebels.

What is happening with Extinction Rebellion now: what should we be looking out for?

Extinction Rebellion are going to be touring tonnes of UK festivals – you’ll spot us a mile off, I’m sure.

Political teams are consulting the movement on a mass tax refusal concept (again this has a great heritage as far as civil disobedience is concerned), and we are still training, community building, and generally preparing for autumn rebellion… and networking all across planet Earth for the future global rebellion….

Find out more about Extinction Rebellion here 

Want to learn more? Coming up is an exhibition about climate change in Copeland Gallery: Sadness is a no gO-Zone