‘It’s time’ announces the back cover of the new Extinction Rebellion (XR) Handbook, ‘act now before it’s too late.’ THIS IS NOT A DRILL released last week is a manual on how to live a rebel life in the fight for the planet. In the face of the global climate and ecological emergency humanity faces XR is making it impossible to continue to advert our eyes from the crisis.
Brixton-based designers This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll designed the book which is already a best seller available from local bookshops.
Following April’s protests in London in which XR shut down Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Marble Arch and Parliament Square over a ten-day period, the handbook is a manual to execute acts of mass civil disobedience. Designed to be read, referred back to and used as a guide to live consciously, the handbook is split into two sections: the first ‘Telling the Truth’ covers the severity of the climate crisis. While the second section ‘Act Now’ is concerned with action and is filled with practical instructions on what to do and how.
‘Telling the Truth’ is covered by 12 essays from different writers covering science, the experience of people globally who are attempting to survive in drastically changing and dangerous conditions, and the fight not to die. Essays include ‘Indigenous People and the Fight for Survival’ by Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, ‘The Climate Emergency And The End Of Diversity’ by Matthew Todd and ‘Adapting to Collapse’ by Professor Jem Bendell; other contributors include a firefighter in California who tackled the recent wildfires, villagers from the Almores district in the Indian Himalayas and Mohamed Nasheed former president of the Maldives; the mix of voices reinforces the message from XR, this is a cause that believes in equality, the dissolving of hierarchy and the power of the masses.
In the second half of the manual we hear from XR members on the three actions: disruption, outreach and visioning. Advice comes from Momo Haque the food coordinator for the London demonstrations, Miles Glyn and Clare Farrell from the Arts Factory, Ronan McNern the coordinator for XR’s media strategy. Other people cover the imminent threat of arrest, spending time in jail, the midnight snacks while demonstrating and what rebellious economics look like.
Clive Lewis MP and Caroline Lucas MP, who opens her text with the sentence ‘Climate breakdown is inseparable from politics’, both contribute from a political insider position and are both followed by a statements from XR stating that they think beyond politics, ‘The voice of two politicians are included here as they represent important forward-thinking sentiments that we hope will resonate and develop rapidly with the UK political sphere.’
THIS IS NOT A DRILL has been designed by This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll designers Clive Russell and Charlie Waterhouse. They requested the book be printed on recycled paper and controversially killed the iconic black and white penguin on the cover. The XR handbook is the second fastest ever turn around for penguin; utilising the current focus on climate breakdown the book continues the movement, initiating a new generation into the art of civil disobedient on a mass scale to call for critical change.
We are all ‘Earth citizens’ as Vandana Shiva writes, we all need to fight for our futures and the future of other species unable to do so. This book will not be easy reading for many, but it is a manifesto for now, in the hope of saving our future. ‘Ultimately this book is about love’ states Sam Knights, ‘About the love we are currently lacking. And the love we desperately need.’
XR groups are now active on every continent except Antarctica. ‘Now or never, we need to be radical. We need to rise up. And we need to rebel.’ To become a rebel (or continue rebelling) THIS IS NOT A DRILL: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook is available in your local bookshops now.