extinction rebellion guildford newsletter 27th August 2019: Our house is on fire
The Amazon is burning
The Amazon rainforest is home to over 10% of the earth’s species.
It houses 40k plant species. 3k fish species. And over 2.5 million insect species!!
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It is home to around 500 indigenous tribes. 50 or so of these have never had contact with the outside world. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of new species that we don't even know about yet fleeing these fires.
It produces about 20% of the earth's oxygen, and is one of our biggest hopes in the battle against climate change.
But we stand dangerously close to losing the rainforest forever.
The Amazon is so vast that it produces over 50% of its own rainfall. It literally waters itself through the huge rates of transpiration it creates. As deforestation increases, transpiration rates drop, the forest dries out, and drought and wildfire spread. When it reaches tipping point, the rainforest will turn itself to grassland.
Facing up to the reality of climate breakdown opens our eyes to some horrifying truths. We all suffer the grief, anger and sadness of knowing the possibilities that await us. What is happening in the Amazon right now is possibly the most upsetting incident many of us have faced since we set out on this path.
It is perhaps the symbolism of the rainforest as such a rich tapestry of life. Perhaps that this single incident so perfectly encapsulates humanity's wilful destruction of the natural world at all costs.
This is genocide. It is ecocide. It is the murder of indigenous people, of countless different species, of our planet. All in the name of profit.
It is a devastating blow in the fight against climate breakdown.
A firefighter observes Amazon fires in Sorriso, Brazil
After the oceans, the Amazon is our largest carbon sink. Not only are we losing this storage potential, but the previously sequestered carbon released during burning pushes us ever closer to global climatic tipping points.
The Amazon draws in the trade winds from the Atlantic, regulating ocean temperature and removing moisture from the Atlantic. Losing the rainforest means a dramatic increase in the severity and frequency of deadly hurricanes, as well as disrupt to the thermohaline circulation, (global scale ocean currents that move water by temperature and salinity gradients), which in turn destabilises the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets - which hold 10s of metres worth of sea level rise.
The impact of the loss of the Amazon simply cannot be overstated. We are being driven toward ecological and climate collapse. For profit.
This narrative may not sit comfortably with you. But this is the truth. Governments, hand in hand with corporations, conducting genocide for profit.
Our response to this is crucial. We must do everything in our power to protect our life-supporting ecosystems before we lose them for good. To stand alongside - and be led by - those indigenous people whose home is being destroyed. And to refuse to stand by quietly whilst the destruction of the natural world risks our very future.
Over the weekend hundreds of Extinction Rebellion members joined indigenous tribes outside the Brazilian Embassy to call for an end to these killings. You can sign petitions supporting this here. You can stop buying Brazilian imports - coffee, beef, soy, or donate to Amazon Watch. (more ways to help the Amazon)
Most importantly, on the 7th October you can join us in London to demand an end to ecocide. To demand that global governments respond to the climate crisis with the appropriate level of action. To demand that our futures are put firmly before profit.
Join the Youth Strikes. Join the Rebellion. We need every single one of you.
What's been happening
Last week we had 15 new people in induction. We're growing quickly, and we're on the verge of outgrowing our 2 meeting spaces. We need to think about logistics. If anybody has any suggestions for new (cheap!) spaces, or how we can arrange ourselves in a dynamic & interactive formation with so many of us then speak up!
This week also saw us hold our first Extinction Café. This is something we will experiment with for people who want to be involved but can't make evening meetings. If you know anybody who might be interested in joining get them to drop us an email.
Because of the size of the meetings, and the amount of general planning that needs doing for the Rebellion in October, our working groups are going to start meeting up outside of the regular meetings, at least for the time being. If you aren't in the loop for a particular working group drop us an email and we'll hook you up.
Finally, here is a list of what's on this week:
27th August: Green Drinks, Britannia pub, from 7pm
28th August: Woking Induction: Alison, David, and Matt will be delivering the first Woking meeting. If you are free to go down and lend moral support it would be great to have some friendly faces in the crowd.
29th August: XR Guildford weekly meeting: 7pm: St Nicholas Parish Church, Bury St.
31st August: Summer BBQ: If you’ve signed up you will receive an email this week with all the info you need. (Don't forget you £5 per person donation towards the vegan burgers!)
Love, rage, and much sadness for our beautiful planet