We are Earth Strike UK, part of a global grassroots movement organising the world’s first general strike for climate. We need to raise at least £7,500 to make this possible. It's time for the adults to join the climate strikes!
In November last year, shortly after the UN’s Special Report on Global Warming was released, but just before Extinction Rebellion and the youth strikes had hit the headlines, a desperate online post titled ‘General Strike to Save the Planet’ captured the anxiety many of us were feeling.
This call to action was what we’d been waiting for. Just like that, an international movement was ignited, and we haven’t looked back since. We’ve been growing by the day and now have members in over 60 countries worldwide, all united behind the relatively simple concept of organising a general strike for climate justice.
So far, 2019 has been an incredible year for the climate movement, especially in the UK. We can celebrate the success of the rebellion in London and the tens of thousands of students that have been taking action every Friday that has pressured parliament to recognise that we are in an emergency. However, to rest on our laurels now would be a grave mistake. The UK’s continued thirst for fossil fuels and lack of decisive action is not by any means in line with what is needed to avoid catastrophic climate and ecological breakdown.
We’ve been working tirelessly for the last seven months with an amazing team of diverse individuals from all over the UK. We’ve already won the endorsement of several unions, MPs and other influential individuals. We have the support of climate groups all over the country including Greenpeace, 350.org and Extinction Rebellion. But we can’t do this without you. To change everything, we need everyone.
The scientific consensus is clear. Climate change is happening. It is happening now, and its impacts are only going to get worse. Our collective future on this planet depends on being able to seize this moment and work together to push back against the fossil fuel industry and governments fuelling the climate crisis, to achieve long-lasting and meaningful change.
In coordination with other environmental groups all over the world, we are organising a week of climate action around the UN summit on climate change on the 23rd of September. Three days before the summit, we will stage the first-ever global general strike, on the 20th of September, to send a message to world leaders that they cannot ignore. We’re calling on everyone to join this movement, to stand with the youth who have been sacrificing their education, and unleash an unprecedented demonstration of unified resistance around the world.
We have tried demanding, but they did not listen. Politicians have shown that they cannot - or will not - do what must be done. It is time for us to force their hands by approaching the issue at its root: money.
When just one hundred companies around the world produce 71% of greenhouse emissions, it’s clear that there’s more than just a problem of personal choice. Private interests and party donations have swung policy to suit the oil and petrochemical industry. To influence the policy of British councils and businesses, we must make our demands in the language they understand, by going on strike from the system which continues to allow planetary destruction.
This will be the first general strike in Britain in almost 100 years, and it is no small task. The organisational challenges we are facing are immense, and whilst our ambition is huge, our budget is far from it. We are aiming to raise £7,500, to give ourselves a true fighting chance at real change. We believe this a relatively modest target for the scale of what we are doing, but we’re confident we can use what we raise with maximum efficiency.
Is the Crisis Really That Bad?
In October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on the devastating impacts of exceeding a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. If we keep pumping out greenhouse gases at our current rate, this could be unpreventable by as early as 2025.
The dangers of a global warming of over 1.5C are clear and indisputable:
- Changes in weather will lead to more severe droughts, floods and other extreme events.
- Rising sea levels will cause a myriad of impacts for low-lying islands and land near deltas, leading to displacement of communities.
- Health, livelihoods, food security, water supply and human security are all under threat with an increased likelihood of deadly vector-borne diseases, widespread famine and mass migration from no longer habitable environments.
We are also dealing with a global ecological breakdown. Intensive agriculture and the use of pesticides are eradicating insect populations at an astonishing rate. Man has wiped out 60% of animals since 1970 and, according to scientists, this biological annihilation of wildlife means we have now entered the phase of the 6th mass extinction that our planet has experienced. All life on earth is at risk if we continue at this rate.
This might all seem like it’s far away in the future, and we have plenty of time to prevent it, but the truth is we have an extremely limited window left in which to take action. The effects of human-caused climate change are not immediate. Due to carbon lag, there is a delay between the emissions we produce and their eventual environmental impact. This means there is a certain amount of warming (and all the effects warming causes) that is already locked in. Every day that we continue to emit carbon dioxide, we take a step closer to the irreversible ‘tipping point’ of runaway climate change - when a series of feedback loops are triggered causing a catastrophe that will be entirely out of our control.
It’s not too late to prevent this, but we can’t afford to be complacent.
Isn’t the UK Doing Enough Already?
The UK government argues that we have one of the best records on climate in the world. This claim is not only irrelevant in the face of a global emergency, but it ignores developing countries all over the world who are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, which we have contributed massively to. Our society today is built on the back of imperialism, and only because of that do we find ourselves in this privileged position. We have a moral responsibility to be doing everything we can, and we are far from doing that.
The legislation to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, whilst a step in the right direction, is not ambitious enough. It essentially entitles us to continue with business as usual under the pretence that we are playing our part when we’re more than capable of decarbonising at a far quicker rate. Delaying decarbonisation is consigning millions - and potentially billions - of people all over the world to a higher chance of suffering the impacts of climate change.
Climate change presents an existential risk to life and the potential collapse of civilisation as we know it. A mobilisation greater than the second world war is required to negate this risk altogether, and until the government demonstrates this level of urgency we should not be satisfied. We have declared an emergency, yet our actions do not reflect that. We continue to drill for oil, build roads and airports and are the biggest fossil fuel subsidisers in Europe. This apathetic attitude has to change, and the government must take a more serious approach to reflect what is at stake if this crisis develops.
Can A General Strike Work?
In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government reformed much of the legislation that covers industrial action and unionism. This established a trend of neoliberal politicians eroding and undermining the ability of the worker to strike. It is on these grounds that strikes have been largely hidden from public view, and any strike action that extends beyond a single workplace has been prevented.
No major politicians have approached this denial of freedom and expression, due to the political environment and vested interests in exploitative big business. When our leaders’ time is wasted arguing and electioneering, it falls upon the people to act.
Strikes were originally organised without any permission from authorities; historical strikes go as far back as the artisans in ancient Egypt, long before the dawn of trade unionism. In the 19th century, it was the Chartist political movement that led to a wave of strikes across the country, for the right to vote. Unions have not existed forever, and workers have organised their own action when the need has arisen, with frequent success.
Workers continue to strike without permission for matters too important to ignore - such as the 2012 prison guards’ strike, Spanish air traffic controllers, anti-apartheid miners in Marikana, and the iconic French ‘May movement’. People are again starting to understand that the law is not always right; politicians have shown themselves corrupt or incapable of effective measures too many times, and to overcome this it’s essential to take a stand.
Shutting off the labour supply will force governments and industry giants to listen. There’s no way to avoid the conversation when profits are in danger of eroding, and production has stalled. We don’t yet have the capacity to stage a general strike of indefinite length, but with even one day of action, we can demonstrate how the true power of our societies lies with the people: as Gandhi said, even the most powerful cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled.
People must understand that democracy means regular people standing up for what’s right, and our action in September is all about reviving this idea, as the first step towards longer strikes in the future.
What Will We Spend The Money On?
We are focusing all our efforts on the 20th of September, and we’ve divided our necessary costs into three key areas that we think are crucial to making the event a success. We are entirely volunteer-led, and will not be paying any of our members, which gives us the advantage of channelling all funds into the campaign.
Campaigning and Promotion
Strikes only work if they have mass participation. We’re aiming to get one million people out in the streets in September, which means we have to extend our audience reach to every corner of the UK. We have the capability to do this, but we need a strong budget to make it feasible.
Campaigning costs will cover a range of different things including online marketing, targeted adverts and social media campaigning; printed resources such as posters, stickers and flyers; funds for art projects such as murals and subvertising; logistics for campaigning events and direct action to raise awareness of the strike; and travel costs to ensure our activists can attend key events.
Prioritising campaigning and promotion is our key financial strategy, allowing us to make the maximum impact in terms of marketing with a simple and focused campaign around one specific action - the general strike on the 20th of September. We have volunteers all over the country ready to put this campaign into action, we just need the funds to kick-start this process.
We’re trying to put on a show and raise the alarm about the climate crisis. To do this we need a certain amount of equipment and the freedom to allocate funds to spontaneous projects and events. Our main expenditures would go towards sound and live equipment; banners and other materials for actions; and office supplies, so we can work as productively as possible.
There are numerous technical costs involved in sustaining a movement of this size if we want to work effectively and efficiently. These include software for things such as communication, email distribution and online organisation systems; fees and registration costs; website hosting and maintenance; and plenty of other things that are essential for the backbone of a grassroots organisation like ours. At the moment we are restricted from working at full capacity because of financial limits. Although we would not need the full 15% for these costs yet, we have left plenty of room to accommodate growth and the increasing admin costs that will ensue.
We are directly opposed to the nature of senseless and irresponsible commercialism in modern society that encourages a throwaway culture of disposable products, ravages our planet’s resources and produces outrageous amounts of waste. We will never commercialise our movement in disregard of these principles. All of our rewards are ethically sourced and will have no negative impact on the environment.
‘Solidarity Forever’ T-Shirt
All t-shirts are hand-printed using reclaimed materials to prevent waste and avoid contributing to the insidious fast fashion industry. We have four size options available and a large variety of colours; please let us know which colour you’d prefer and we will try and accommodate or leave blank for a random colour.
Earth Strike Zine
An in-depth summary of Earth Strike in this 25-page zine covering how the solutions to climate change are only viable if they implemented across the entire social, political and economic spectrum and why a general strike is therefore highly relevant in achieving this. Printed in A5 on sustainably sourced rice paper.
Stickers & Badges
A sticker will be included with any other item or you can order a batch of 100. They will include a design of our full logo whereas badges will be simply the match-leaf icon in white on a green badge.
We are extremely grateful that you have taken the time to support us and we pledge to do everything we are capable of to ensure your donation is used effectively in the fight for climate justice. We thank you on behalf of those already suffering the impacts of climate change all over the world and the future generations, who we hope will be able to inherit a planet of natural beauty and prosperity if we act now.
If you would like to join Earth Strike UK, you can sign up to our mailing list and find more info on how to get involved at www.earth-strike.com/uk.
Please share this page far and wide and encourage your friends and family to take action on the biggest issue of our time.
Thank you and solidarity forever!