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Sixteen Extinction Rebellion Activists Arrested in Asheville, NC On Valentine’s Day

Protesters Combine Holiday Message Of Love With Urgent Climate Action

Asheville, NC — Local climate activists in a North Carolina mountain town marked their Valentine holiday this year by risking arrest in front of a US government climate agency. With more than one hundred onlookers gathered in support, sixteen people were taken into custody just before 4pm for blocking a busy downtown street in front of the headquarters of the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI). NCEI, a branch of NOAA, archives and monitors global climate data for the nation.

The demonstration was organized by Extinction Rebellion WNC, one of several newly formed North Carolina chapters of an international climate movement now active in 56 countries. The local group used the Valentine’s theme to express love and support for NCEI scientists who regularly meet the first demand of Extinction Rebellion:  to tell the truth about climate change. 

One of those arrested, 24-year-old David Saulsbury of Woodfin, NC, said NCEI’s most recent report reveals the alarming extent to which the climate is changing. Saulsbury said, “According to NCEI, not only was the past month the warmest January globally in the entire 141-year-old climate record, but we have now experienced the 421st consecutive month with global temperatures above the 20th century average. And not only have I personally never lived even a single month in my whole life with a normal monthly global average temperature, there is no one alive under the age of 35 who ever has, either.”

Extinction Rebellion organizers say that it is realizations like Saulbury’s that are now driving people to take unprecedented disruptive action to overcome politicians’ complacency on climate change. Of the sixteen people who took a 22 ft. banner proclaiming a “Climate And Ecological Emergency” into the street in Asheville, most had never been arrested for an act of civil disobedience before. 

Amanda Seta of Asheville was one of these. Seta says she took part in the street blockade in order to communicate the magnitude of the threat she believes that global warming and ecosystem collapse pose to the future health and safety of her eleven year old daughter. Seta said, “I’m taking action because the time for ‘wait and see’ is over.”

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Panel 1

Get Involved

XRWNC wants your help

Come to a meeting, share in a potluck, participate in an action. There’s work to be done.

write us

contact@extinctionrebellionwnc.org

attend a nonviolence training

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Join us online at 7pm on May 20th. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83539445177

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Panel 2

Places To Help And Be Helped

BeLoved Asheville – belovedasheville.com, belovedasheville@gmail.com, 828-242-8261

Manna Food Bank – mannafoodbank.org, 828-299-3663

Bounty and Soul, Black Mountain – bountyandsoul.org, 828-419-0533

Red Cross Asheville – redcross.org, 828-258-3888

CIMA (supporting immigrants and advocating for their rights) – cimawnc.org, info@Cimawnc.org, 828-713-5124

We Give a Share – wegiveashare.org

WIWGIA

Neighbors In Need project of https://www.blueridgeop.org/neighbors-in-need

Panel 3

Our Values

1 WE HAVE A SHARED VISION OF CHANGE

Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.

2 WE focus ON WHAT IS NECESSARY

Mobilizing 3.5% of the population to achieve system change.

3 WE Build REGENERATIVE CULTURE

Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

4 WE OPENLY CHALLENGE OURSELVES AND THIS TOXIC SYSTEM

Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

5 WE VALUE REFLECTING AND LEARNING

Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

6 WE WELCOME EVERYONE AND EVERY PART OF EVERYONE

Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

7 WE democratize POWER

Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.

8 WE AVOID BLAMING AND SHAMING

We live in a toxic system and no one individual is wholly to blame for our predicament.

9 WE ARE A NONVIOLENT NETWORK

Using nonviolent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.

10 WE ARE BASED ON AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION

We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

Panel 4

Our Demands

These demands only represent XR US. They are still in the process of development.

1

That the Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities and businesses need to do.

2

The Government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year.

3

We do not trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve these changes and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.

4

We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all.