Congress is ignoring the climate crisis, so these Extinction Rebellion activists did something remarkable
Fed up with Congress conducting business as usual and dragging its feet as the climate crisis continues to worsen activists with the worldwide Extinction Rebellion movement did something that was sure to be attention-getting. They superglued themselves to doorways along the halls of the U.S. Capitol building Tuesday and called for lawmakers to declare a climate emergency, Common Dreams reports.
Congress members, journalists, and law enforcement officials could hardly fail to notice as they tried to move around the demonstrators who chanted:
“We’re out of time! This is not a drill!”
The goal of the activists was to create a little civil disobedience, which resulted in 17 arrests, was to prevent legislators “from being able to go about their day as if this isn’t a crisis,” said one Extinction Rebellion member.
The demonstrators say they want to force a House and Senate resolution on the climate emergency which is on hold right now so that it receives immediate attention, The Guardian reports. Using Gorilla Glue, the activists stuck their hands to doors and to each other and were draped in yellow-and-red tape that warned “Caution.”
They also drove their message home carrying signs that said “Declare climate emergency,” or “Closed. We’re sorry. Due to the climate emergency, Congress is shut down until sufficient action is taken to address the crisis.”
And when some members of Congress arrived, they did indeed find their route was blocked, forcing them to turn around. Other people arrived and gathered below the Cannon building rotunda to watch the goings-on. At least one protestor said she was willing to be arrested if it got the job done.
“I’m doing this today because the Congress is dragging their feet on declaring a climate emergency, and it’s supposed to be like a speedy transition, and that’s what the resolution says,” says Sara Soko, whose hand was glued to a glass door. “So we’re here to try and make this more urgent.”
Soko excoriated Congress for not doing its jobs.
“They have not done anything,” she said. “And this resolution is asking the simplest thing: it’s just to recognize the science and to declare it an emergency and that we need to do something. And they can’t even do that.”
It wasn’t long before Capitol police arrived, forming a line of five officers and ordering people to stand ten feet back. As the protests gathered steam, one demonstrator noted:
“DC was underwater last week. DC was on fire this weekend. We can’t live much longer like this.” Another protester added “I know you’re listening officers, I know you have children. Do you want them to live in a world that’s burning?”
And more chants began:
“What do we want? Climate emergency. When do we want it? Now.” That was followed by an additional chant: “Climate extinction rebellion.”
Extinction Rebellion also released a statement Tuesday that called on Congress to pass the climate emergency declaration introduced earlier this month by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Earl Blumenauer (Oregon), and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont).
“The U.S. Congress is not treating the climate emergency legislation with the urgency it deserves,” the statement notes. “The existential threat that climate change poses to our economy and the health of all Americans should make this resolution Congress’ top priority. Extinction Rebellion activists are calling on both chambers to recognize the truth of the emergency we are in and to pass the resolution as a first step to acknowledging the severity of the crisis.”
With deadly heatwaves ravaging France, parts of the U.S. and India, current research shows the Earth has warmed up more rapidly in recent decades than at any other time in the past 2000 years. It’s well past time for Congress to act.
Featured image courtesy of the video above