ABOUT EXTINCTION REBELLION SF BAY AREA

Earth Week Oakland 2021

Extinction Rebellion, or XR for short, is a decentralized, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Rebels can establish XR chapters anywhere in the world. The XR SF Bay Area chapter (XRSFBay) brings action to San Francisco, California and surrounding areas. XRSFBay works alongside other local campaigns and ally organizations.

OUR STRATEGY

XR uses Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA), otherwise known as civil disobedience, to put pressure on the government to act on climate change. We see NVDA as the only remaining tactical option, as our government has continuously failed at legal and conventional means to make the needed changes to avert mass catastrophe. Nonviolent action attracts attention to our movement, disrupts business as usual, and puts authorities in an ethical dilemma. 

Three Banks Action 2021

OUR STRUCTURE

XR is a grassroots organization powered by regular people. We don’t believe that hierarchical structures of organization are a best practice in achieving our goals. Everyone is welcome! 

XR San Francisco Bay Area works in small semi-autonomous groups, which generally fall under two categories: affinity groups and working groups.

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Stop The Money Pipeline @ Chase Action

OUR DEMANDS

1. TELL THE TRUTH.

Governments must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

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2. ACT NOW.

Governments must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

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3. GO BEYOND POLITICS.

Governments must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

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4. JUST TRANSITION

We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and establishes indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of humanity and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all.

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Clarion Alley Mural Unveiling Party

OUR PRINCIPLES & VALUES

1 We have a shared vision of change.

Creating a world that is fit for the next 7 generations to live in.

Our vision of change is “A healthy, beautiful world, where individuality and creativity are supported, and where people work together, solving problems and finding meaning, with courage, power and love. This will be underpinned by cultures rooted in respect for nature, genuine freedoms and justice.”

2 We set our mission on what is necessary.

Mobilizing 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – such as “momentum-driven organizing”.

We recognize that full system change is needed. Because of the current neo-liberal system, we are experiencing the 6th mass species extinction. The world is deeply unequal, we have crises in our mental and physical health, and there is a global culture of competition and conquering “others”.

To change the system, we are focused on creating a functioning democracy where people have real agency in decision making, creating an economy designed to maximize well-being and minimize harm, and enabling a regenerative global culture (See Value #3). We build momentum so that our demands cannot be ignored. No regime in the 20th century managed to stand against an uprising which had the active participation of up to 3.5% of the population (watch Erica Chenoweth’s TEDx talk).

3 We need a regenerative culture.

Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

More than being a network of “activists”, we seek to find ways of being and doing that support positive change. Regenerative culture means improvements year on year, taking small steps to heal and improve, and on all levels, including individuals, communities, our soil, water and air. Regenerative culture within XR includes a healthy focus on self-care, action care for others while we undertake direct actions, and care for our broader communities. Learn more about regenerative culture.

4 We openly challenge ourselves and this toxic system.

Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

Evidence suggests that such open civil disobedience and direct action are crucial to change (See for example This is an Uprising by Engler & Engler). We have a duty to disobey unjust systems which destroy life on earth. Taking open action can be uncomfortable, tiring, or risky. Some of us will undertake actions that risk arrest and charges. Our Extinction Rebellion culture supports those of us willing to put ourselves on the line. Our Regenerative Culture enables us to challenge ourselves while maintaining care for ourselves and one another.

5 We value reflecting and learning.

Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action.

We are willing to experiment and learn from what we do. Through ongoing questioning, reflection and learning about what has worked elsewhere we will improve what we do and not get stuck in repetitive behavior. We learn from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

6 We welcome everyone and every part of everyone.

Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

Much of the world isn’t a safe space for individuals who are not privileged by traditional societal hierarchies. It is our goal to create safer spaces and welcome individuals of all ethnicities, races, classes, genders, gender identities, gender presentations, sexualities, ages, incomes, abilities, educational backgrounds, appearances, immigration statuses, beliefs or non-beliefs and activist experiences. Discriminatory behavior, defined broadly, is not accepted in any form, either during an action or elsewhere.

We also recognise that we are complex beings and exhibit many different parts of ourselves at different times and in different circumstances. We approach each other from a place of compassion, and encourage each other to increase our own self-awareness.

7 We actively mitigate for power.

Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.

While we aim to live in a world where these hierarchies no longer exist, we cannot simply pretend that they don’t within our own network. For this reason, we aim to center voices that are normally the most marginalized. In practical terms this means that we weight coordinating roles towards marginalized groups, refreshing and rotating those who hold positions of responsibility so that power doesn’t get entrenched. We consider accessibility (for example, child care, wheelchair access, avoiding technical jargon), both for meetings and actions. Our messaging also includes issues and voices that are normally ignored (for example, the link between climate change and immigration detention centers). However we are mindful of not trying to speak on someone else’s behalf.

8 We avoid blaming and shaming.

We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

Blaming and shaming will not serve us in the long run. While a specific campaign may seek to highlight the damaging role played by an institution, including individuals serving that institution, our starting point is that we live in a toxic system that has damaged everybody. We can point out behavior that is unhelpful, intentionally exploitative or abusive, and we won’t tolerate such behavior, yet we don’t hand away our love or power by blaming and shaming. This is also true in our interpersonal and group dynamics as well as our relationship to ourselves.

9 We are a nonviolent network.

Using nonviolent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.

We use non-violence to reveal the true perpetrators of systemic violence that people suffer from daily all over this world. At the same time, we must recognize that it is often privilege which keeps individuals safe. We stand in solidarity with those who have no such privilege to protect them and therefore must protect themselves through violent means; this does not mean we condone all violence, just that we understand in some cases it may be justified.

10 We are based on autonomy and decentralization.

We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power.

In self-organizing, we disrupt the usual hierarchies which govern our lives. Any person or group can take action in the name and spirit of Extinction Rebellion – so long as the action fits within Extinction Rebellion’s principles and values. There is no need to ask for permission from a central authority. We aim for flat hierarchies, dispersed leadership, and clear and fair forms of decision-making.

We embody these methods to show that they are possible throughout the world. We are working to equalize power to ensure every human has a voice and an influence, access to information that comes without the bias of the powerful, decent healthcare, education, social care and housing, clean energy production, and protections in law to prevent ecocide.

COP26 March