"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
- Aldous Huxley
(Editors Note: This Newsletter was originally published on the 13th of July. With one exception it is the same as the first printing. This second printing is so that those who had not signed up in time to receive the news letter are given a chance to read it!)
Welcome to the first issue of Extinction Rebellion Toronto’s newsletter!
Our newsletter will keep you informed about recent actions we’ve taken, upcoming actions you can participate in, updates on our various working groups, information about Extinction Rebellion, essays, links and more.
Whenever we can, we’ll also provide a short, informative mini-essay on a different topic. To start, we’re going to go over Extinction Rebellion’s three demands, one by one.
EXTINCTION REBELLION’S FIRST DEMAND:
TELL THE TRUTH
Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
What is the truth? Broadly speaking, everybody knows that climate change is going to be bad in a big way. Many people even know that the terms ‘climate crisis’ and ‘climate emergency’ are far more accurate than ‘climate change.’ Still, how many are aware of just how urgent the situation is?
As long as governments, corporations, and the news media continue to tell half-truths and lies, how is the average citizen to know that, for example, the United States, the largest producer of corn in the world, could see production of that crop fall by 49% in the near future? That by 2100 or earlier damage from sea level rise and extreme weather events will cause economic damage totalling trillions of dollars more than even exists in the global economy? That according to Bill McKibben's Falter, burning the 173 billion barrels of oil in the Alberta Tar Sands will on its own take the world 30% of the way to the Paris target of 1.5° Celsius? The truth is that the effects of the climate crisis will be catastrophic on a scale unimaginable to us right now.
Extinction Rebellion wants governments to declare a climate emergency, but we also know that a declaration is meaningless if governments don’t act on the emergency. Justin Trudeau’s approval of the pipeline mere hours after our federal government declared a climate emergency would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.
A government that understands ‘emergency’ would know fossil fuels must be kept in the ground, starting now.
A government that understands ‘emergency’ would fight the misinformation about the climate crisis that exists in our newspapers, our televisions, and on the internet. It would use its power to promote truth, rather than let the pseudo-science and lies of the fossil fuel and agriculture industries spread unchallenged.
To tell the truth is nothing less than a moral obligation. There is no more time for ignorance, misinformation, and lies.
Love and Rage,
MONTREAL SIT IN
On July 13, rebels from XR Toronto participated in an XR Quebec action in Montreal. XR Quebec organized a sit-in outside the offices of Premier Francois Legault, and despite the peaceful and joyful nature of the action, police responsded with force and arrests. Our own Paul Carter was among the 26 brave rebels arrested. Here he describes what happened in his own words:
On July 13, I was arrested outside of Premier Legault's office in Montreal, along with 25 other Extinction Rebellion rebels.
When the riot police began removing the nonviolent, peaceful activists in our group, the shockingly excessive force they used clearly exposed the cruel system that seeks to maintain the status quo. Nonetheless, XR Quebec rebels cheered from the sidelines for each individual arrested and maintained an atmosphere of joyful disobedience and support.
With Love and Rage,
On June 25, XR Toronto rebels set up a lively climate circus at the corner of King and Bay, where four of the biggest banks are located, to protest their investment in fossil fuels and to encourage the government to act on the crisis.
From 8:00am to 6:00pm, singers, clowns, hula hoopers, chalk artists, rope skippers, theatre performers, poets, speakers, activists, and protestors of all ages including Toronto's Raging Grannies gathered for this fun, peaceful event that encouraged passersby to consider how they might become part of transformative change.
What will it take for governments to act? Are we going to avert a mass extinction? Will we choose life?
Do you find yourself asking these types of questions? You are not alone! We at XR Toronto have been asking these questions so frequently that it's become the main theme of our first in a series of traffic blockades. These blockades will take place every Tuesday.
July 23 - Bloor & St. George (5:30-7:30pm)
July 30 - Bay & King (5:30-7:30pm)
We will hold signs and placards in the hopes that will prompt Torontonians to ask these questions of their government, corporate and academic leaders. Unlike the first blockade which was conducted in dignified silence, these blockades will feature chants, song and activists reading selections from the recently published XR handbook 'This is not a drill'
Whether you wish to get more involved with XR Toronto, organise a chapter or affinity group in your community, or simply become better informed of the demands and principles that drive XR, our regular orientations are for you!
July 22 - OISE Rm. 5290 (6:00-8:00pm)
August 12 - OISE Rm. 5230 (6:00-8:00pm)
CONTACT YOUR MP
Call, write to, or go meet your Member of Parliament, and let them know how seriously their constituents take the climate crisis! Here is a list of contact info for all of Canada's MPs.
A call for Working Group members! If you have experience (or just a lot of interest) in the fields of Tech, Communications & Security, Actions & Logistics, Fundraising, or Legal, we need you. Attend an XR Orientation or reply to this email to sign up or get more information.