John Hardy, one of the organisers of this week’s Rebel Camp, has been campaigning on climate change for 15 years, since he was at university. He has worked for the Green party in Northern Ireland and Scotland – as well as being an organiser for the Divest Parliament campaign which aims to get MPs at Westminster to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels.

“To me, Extinction Rebellion is another means of bringing about the change that is needed to tackle the climate emergency,” he said. “Only, it isn’t just about changing politics or changing finance, its about system change. It isn’t enough to simply tinker around the edges of our economy and society in order to fix climate change - we need to revoluntionise how we live.

“Our obsession with consumption and consumerism is not only bad for the planet, it’s bad for our well-being and mental health. The power of corporations means that politics no longer serves the people, so we need to change how we do politics.” XR is calling for a Citizen’s Assembly.

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Hardy first got involved in XR after seeing the occupation of the bridges in London last November and “felt empowered to take direct action to fight raise the alarm on climate breakdown”. He added:

“A few of us got together and launched XR Scotland shortly afterwards and it’s been growing and growing ever since. I hope that we can mobilise enough pressure to force the climate emergency to the top of the agenda for all governments. We are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction of life on earth and the UK Government is totally distracted by Brexit. This is not important compared to the potential collapse of human civilisation.”

The difference with XR is not just its tactics, he claims, which include using protest and arrests to force change – but also the culture of the movement. “We have a culture of non-hierarchy and respect which is counter to the profit driven, individualistic model we all currently live in.

“We are organising the rebel camp because the Scottish Government are currently passing a Climate bill through Parliament which does not go far enough, in terms of targets and actions, to limit carbon emissions and deal with the threat of climate breakdown. So, we will be camping beside parliament as they debate the amendments and reminding them that we are watching and they have this one chance to pass a climate bill which is truly world leading and benefits the people of Scotland.”

“Knowing even the basic facts about how serious the climate crisis really is, I am very fearful every day that we are a course to an unlivable world. But I can’t give up – the solutions to fixing the climate crisis are there, we just need to match them with the political willing.”