We live in a time of excessive consumerism, where every holiday has become a reason buy, eat, wrap, and decorate mountains of stuff we don't need. It is a deep cultural problem—for some of us consuming is all we know. We have been raised to use our consumer choices to form our identities, find our communities, and express ourselves. We need to change the outsized roll of consumerism in our culture and create community connections on a deeper level.
Extinctin Rebellion Anacortes, ready to make our first demand of city council, set out to subvert the language of the consumer holiday to tell the truth about the climate crisis. XR-mas was our first major action and it led up to the presentation of a draft climate emergency declaration to our city council, just before the Christmas holiday.
We captured the faces and voices of our local rebellion in a series of photographs and quotes for a social media campaign. We posted daily throughout December, sharing thoughts about local climate action and announcing our plans to attend the last council meeting before Christmas with our first formal demand for the city.
On December 23rd we filled the council chambers at city hall and presented each city council member with a small gift. A small package of postcards shared the faces and words of community members concerned about the climate crisis. The cards were trimmed with western red cedar branches, an iconic local species that is showing significant stress from climate change.
Four eloquent community members spoke passionately to city council about the scale of the crisis, the science of our warming planet, the urgent need for a solution, and their own personal reasons for stepping up to take action.
We received an immediate, positive response from city council and a promise to have the emergency declaration on the agenda in January. We also secured a meeting with two city council members who support the declaration. We concluded the evening with a candlelight vigil and songs.
In the coming months we stand ready with a wealth of creative civil disobedience ideas if city council needs encouragement to pass a strongly-worded climate emergency declaration. Then we will join forces with the city to design a campaign that will tell the truth about the climate crisis and call for government and citizen action on all levels.