Since the Global Climate Strike and Greta Thunberg’s UN speech, a lot of people are asking “What can I do to help?” The answer to the question is short and simple: get involved with your community.
Your community has a direct impact on your day-to-day life, so start there. In the Pensacola area, there are a couple of environmental organizations you can join such as Keep Pensacola Beautiful, UWF Student Environmental Action Society, and Unlitter Pensacola— to name a few.
However, if you are looking for a local organization that is focused on climate change, look for your local Extinction Rebellion (XR) chapter. XR was founded in the UK on Oct. 31, 2018. This movement uses nonviolent civil disobedience to stop mass extinction.
XR in Washington D.C. had a major protest where they blocked traffic with a giant pink boat at an intersection near the White House. Protesters chained themselves to the boat and were removed by police.
The XR in UK used an out-of-commission fire truck to spray 1,800 litres of fake blood on the treasury’s building in Westminister. The protesters hung a sign that said “Stop Funding Climate Death.”
The Pensacola chapter, which is lead by Nick Breland and Paige Plier, had a meeting in the UWF Commons on Thursday. Breland and Plier explained why they started an XR chapter in Pensacola.
“My belief is that if Florida isn’t taking climate change seriously,” Breland continued, “then who will?” “In Pensacola, we have a real chance of making a difference.”
XR Pensacola’s main purpose is to get Pensacola to use the Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Task Force to address climate change threats. Members of XR Pensacola have been attending Pensacola City Council meetings to speak about their concerns on climate change during the open forum.
They plan to be at the city council meetings in City Hall at 5 p.m. on Oct. 10, Oct. 24, and Nov. 13. Breland and Plier said that if you attend the council meetings, you don’t have to get up and speak in front of the council. They said just being there to support the members who do speak is enough support.
However, if you are interested in speaking, they have a script you can follow or you can come up with something original to say.
They are also participating in 350 Pensacola board member Jett Zhang’s Fridays for Future protest. Each Friday, since Oct 4, protesters will be outside of City Hall at 4 p.m.
Pensacola used this UWF meeting to come up with what Plier called “choreographed acts of art and resistance.” After the Pensacola Climate Strike on Sept. 20, XR Pensacola performed a Die In during Gallery Night.
A Die In is when people pretend to have died from the effects of climate change. This protest helps personalize the issue of climate change.
“Our whole motto is to listen to the scientists,” Breland said. “But to also present that information creatively.”
Breland explained that since the Pensacola chapter is significantly smaller than the chapters in major areas, the risk for arrest is higher. So, they plan to do random acts of civil disobedience such as short roadblocks, projecting artwork on buildings and interrupting events with choreographed performances.
To keep up with all of XR Pensacola’s events, like them on Facebook @xrpensacola or email them firstname.lastname@example.org .