NGOs vs. GoI: The Conflicts and Scrutinies

What is Extinction Rebellion?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: XR

Mains level: Climate activism

Delhi Police have named some environmental activists who are volunteers of a global environment movement seeking to call attention to the climate change emergency, in the Greta Thunberg ‘toolkit’ case.

Q.Climate activism is increasingly turning into a propaganda movement. Discuss.

What is Extinction Rebellion?

  • The global movement Extinction Rebellion also referred to as ‘XR’, describes itself as a decentralized, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience.
  • It aims to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
  • XR was launched in the UK on October 31, 2018, as a response to a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • It had then declared that we only have 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change and our understanding that we have entered the 6th mass extinction event.
  • The movement now has a presence in 75 countries, including India.

What does XR want?

  • The group has “three core demands” of governments around the world.
  • It wants governments to “Tell the Truth”, to “Act Now”, and to “Go Beyond Politics” in order to confront the climate and ecological emergency that the world is faced with.
  • It wants them to communicate the urgency to bring change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025.
  • XR seeks to “rebel”, and asks groups to “self-organise”, without the need for anyone’s permission, to come up with collective action plans as long as they adhere to the group’s core principles and values.

What activities have XR done so far?

  • The group had announced a “Declaration of Rebellion” at launch, involving a public act of civil disobedience in London, demanding that the government reduce carbon emission to zero by 2025.
  • The eventual plan was to coordinate actions in other countries and to engage in an “International Rebellion” in March 2019.
  • The XR global website, however, states that the movement is “strictly non-violent”, and that they are “reluctant law-breakers”.
  • In April 2019, Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish climate activist, lent her support to the group by speaking to its members in London.

XR and India

  • The movement claims to have been inspired by 15 major civil disobedience movements around the world, including, apart from Women’s Suffrage and the Arab Spring, India’s struggle for Independence.
  • It refers to Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930.
  • XR’s website says there are 19 groups in the country, including in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Chennai.

Recent events

  • One of the group’s early public events was a “die-in” protest organised at Bandra Reclamation in Mumbai in October 2019.
  • Participants at “die-in” protests lie on the ground, pretending to be dead.
  • Since the city was already seeing protests against the felling of trees at Aarey Colony for the Metro crashed, police did not grant permission for the “die-in” protest.

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