Climate activists Extinction Rebellion campaign in Leeds to raise awareness of waste at Christmas

by Emily Horner

The climate protest group, Extinction Rebellion Leeds, has organised a series of peaceful protests in Leeds city centre during the 12 days of Christmas.

Extinction Rebellion Leeds, who refer to themselves as XR, has called this The 12 Days of XRistmas, with alternative Christmas caroling, creating anti-airport expansion Christmas cards and staging die-in protests.

They lay down on the floor for one of their Die-Ins  in the Victoria Quarter and Leeds Trinity shopping centre, and broadcast anti-consumerism messages through a megaphone to passing shoppers while chanting and playing a song on the piano about the climate emergency.

They have also sung the carols with different lyrics directed at the climate crisis, such as ‘Food shortages, three rising oceans’, in the tune to the well-known 12 days of Christmas song.

They have organised these protests to raise awareness of how Christmas can be wasteful and have chosen to conduct their protests peacefully to challenge the perception that their protests are always disruptive.

XR preparing for the Die In Victoria Quarter

A member of Leeds XR, Emily, had first got involved with Extinction Rebellion with her Dad.

Emily, a French student, said: “It’s a different way to get the message into people’s lives- in a creative way.

“Be green this Christmas- wrapping paper has so much plastic.”

Another member of Leeds XR, Luca, first became aware of the movement when a protest in Leeds called Project Mushroom occurred in July 2019- the activists had blocked off a road for a week on Neville Street, Leeds city centre.

Luca, a music student, said: “We live in such a lazy, throw-away culture.

“There is a lot of frustration amongst climate activists, especially with me, and there is a lot of people who care about the environment but don’t know what to do about it.

“This is a crisis, it isn’t a climate change- its a climate crisis, and it’s something that needs to happen now.”

Extinction Rebellion is a climate activist movement, which has risen into prominence throughout the past year with non-violent protests across the world.

Extinction Rebellion Leeds themselves was established in October 2018.

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