ACTIVISM: Extinction Rebellion is a rapidly growing climate protest movement, which seeks to convert love of nature, and the rage over political inaction, into collective action. But what is the political potential of grief?
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Anders Dunker
Dunker is a Norwegian philosopher, and regular contributor.
Published date: March 5, 2020

In the US, I recently decided to attend an Extinction Rebellion briefing, and found that their main message is actually basic facts: in numbers and charts local representatives sum up our climate predicament and the sinister statistics of the so-called sixth extinction – the ongoing dying out of species and beings in the wake of mankind’s industrialized civilization. This is the kind of knowledge that demands a response. The first principle of Extinction Rebellion is «Tell the truth» is followed up by the elegant and provocative second principle: «Act as if the truth is real». With this allusion to climate denial, ubiquitous both on political and personal levels, they directly address the explosively conflicted feelings caused in each of us by the emerging global disaster. Feelings are, after all, what must fuel the change that is needed – beyond knowledge of the facts.

Among themselves, participants in Extinction Rebellion often begin and end their communications with the phrase «with love and rage», which also precede the opening title of the Czech documentary Žal Žen – «Grief». In the opening scene of Andrea Culková’s new film, a mother and her daughter are sitting in front of a bonfire talking about the environment and the mother talks about …


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