On 17th Oct a group of around 25 activists surprised Greenpeace staff at their London HQ by staging a peaceful occupation in the main lobby of the offices. They handed staff letters, along with flowers and caking explained their action. The letter, from Extinction Rebellion and Rising Up UK!, spoke of the climate and extinction crisis that the planet faces, and asked for Greenpeace to take part in plans for massive civil disobedience to change public and media perception and force big changes in government policy.
Protesters used a megaphone to deliver a prepared hour-long message citing the recent IPCC report that calls for huge changes within a 12 year time frame, along with many scientific papers that are even more alarming and less conservative. They also spoke of past civil disobedience campaigns that have succeeded in effecting lasting dramatic changes in government policy.
No senior executives were available, but middle managers agreed to speak with 3 of the campaigners, and during that extended meeting, they were persuaded to bring the demands to the executive and to initiate debate across the organisation.
Campaigners told Real Media how in a previous meeting the Chief Exec had refused to commit to any civil disobedience call. They felt that this occupation stunt had helped ‘focus minds’ and had delivered some progress.
One campaigner, who has been a Greenpeace supporter for 20 years, spoke of his frustration that the only messages he receives from the movement were requests for money, rather than a call to be part of actions – he had been inspired to join originally because of the bravery of mobilisations such as Rainbow Warrior, and he felt that thousands, perhaps millions of Greenpeace supporters would step up and take part in bold actions to avert climate catastrophe, if given the call to do so.
Extinction Rebellion are planning a series of events in November and are asking for support for their ‘Declaration of Rebellion‘ in London on 31st October. They are giving talks and holding Non Violent Direct Action briefings all around the country presently.
Greenpeace were contacted for a statement but had not got back to us by the time of publication.