By Sophie Squire
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Climate protests across the world demand radical action 

As the climate crisis grows, activists worldwide took action to sound the alarm
Issue 2802
Activists block bridge

Scientists in Extinction Rebellion block a bridge in Berlin, Germany. (Stefan Müller)

Extinction Rebellion (XR) groups worldwide last week engaged in actions to save the planet from climate crisis. Rebels in New York blocked the printing facilities of several major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. 

The action, which ­coincided with Earth Day, saw rebels assemble tall bamboo structures and block printing plant entrances. In a statement XR New York wrote, “We stand behind the right to free speech and a free press, and view the ­breaking of certain concrete mundane laws as a public plea for ­societal change.

“The climate and ­ecological crisis is already here—destroying people’s homes and livelihoods with extreme weather, droughts, and fire. Yet governments and corporations, influenced by mass media corporations, are complacent by continuing to ignore the root causes of the crisis and the dire situation humanity is facing.”

They also attacked media outlets such as The New York Times for burying climate stories and continuing to ­provide ad space for fossil fuel companies. The group unfurled a banner that read, “Break up with Exxon.” The group ­managed to cause delays in the paper’s distribution. 

Bosses had to email ­subscribers saying their paper would be delivered a day late. 

The police arrested 15 activists in total for their part in the protests. Elsewhere in the city, activists blocked major roads holding signs that read, “Climate justice is social justice.” 

Activists in other parts of the world also took part in direct action on Earth Day. In Frankfurt, Germany, XR activists glued themselves to roads and blocked bridges. Student activists in Uganda, east Africa, blocked roads and organised several marches. In Switzerland members of the climate group Renovate Switzerland blocked traffic on a major motorway. 

The group is demanding the government takes action to renovate homes to be more energy-efficient. Members of XR joined with school strikers in Australia to blockade the world’s largest coal port using kayaks. 

Rebels said they wanted, “A shift to funding climate solutions including a transition for local coal workers and communities.” School student Emily Ashton who took part in the protest said, “Scott Morrison’s government has given billions of dollars to fossil fuel companies, selling out the future for all young Australians. Billions for fossil fuels is not a climate plan.” 

In Durban, South Africa, activists rallied outside the headquarters of Standard Chartered bank to stop the construction of the East African Crude Oil PipelineXR groups in Sweden kicked off their latest five-day rebellion on Monday by ­blocking roads outside ­government buildings. While governments ­worldwide sit on their hands as the world burns, hundreds of activists are escalating action trying to save the planet. 

‘Insect apocalypse’ warning

A new study has found that the climate crisis is leading to insect populations dropping by as much as 49 percent in some parts of the world. It also found that unsustainable agricultural practices and habitat loss made worse by climate change are leading to what some call an “insect apocalypse”. 

Insects are a vital part of our ecosystems. They pollinate plants that feed us and make soil more fertile. Failing to conserve insect populations could potentially lead to failed crops and food shortages. 

Peter McCann, a researcher for the study, said, “We need to acknowledge how important insects are for the environment in order to address the threats we pose to them.”

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