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The Big One   21st - 24th April 2023


Tens of thousands of people are set to gather outside the Houses of Parliament in London later this month to highlight the UK government’s failure to act on the climate and the related crises. Climate change activists will be standing alongside health workers, anti-racism campaigners, and many well known and respected national organisations for a four day gathering starting on 21 April, dubbed ‘The Big One’.

It’s four years since XR brought parts of the English capital to a standstill, parking a pink boat in Oxford Circus. Following that the UK parliament declared a climate emergency. But, says Greenpeace UK’s head of climate, Mel Evans: “The UK government is failing to deliver the kind of wholesale action needed to avoid full-blown climate breakdown.”


Since bursting onto the global stage a few years ago, the main co-organiser of the event, Extinction Rebellion, has been doing some soul-searching of its own. In a New Year’s statement titled ‘We Quit’, the protest group announced it would now “prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks.” The Big One is the first major event since this resolution. Pitching up outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster from 21 to 24 April, it promises to be family-friendly, accessible, welcoming, creative and engaging.

“Awash with colour and culture, the politically powerful streets of Westminster will be transformed with People’s Pickets outside government departments and a diverse programme of speakers, performers and workshops,” Extinction Rebellion UK says on its website.

The invitation is open to everyone and if the co-host list is anything to go by, it promises to live up to its name. XR is calling on 100,000 people to attend, making them “impossible to ignore.” It certainly seems to be capturing the imagination of diverse groupings. For example, faith groups expected to take part include: A Rocha UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Christian Climate Action, Green Christian, the Iona Community, Just Love, Operation Noah, the Student Christian Movement, Tearfund, Young Christian Climate Network, Quakers, Faith for the Climate, and many other faith based members of the Climate Coalition.


Global Justice Now is a social justice organisation working to create a more just and equal world. They are campaigning for compensation for the global south to be paid by the big polluting corporations in the fossil fuel industry. Praising the “vital role” that XR has played in the past, director of Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden says that the Big One’s potential lies in its inclusivity. April’s mass action can help foster a “generational movement.”


Mel Evans, head of climate at Greenpeace UK, makes the point: “It’s clear that only through working together will civil society defeat the vested interests intent on putting profits over people and the planet.

“We either win as a movement or lose as individual organisations. That’s why The Big One promises to be such a key moment in the fight for climate justice and why we’re getting involved.”


Robin Wells, of Fossil Free London comments: “The climate crisis can be easy to ignore because it is continuous. It exists in the periphery of our attention all the time - in the weather when we wake up in the morning, the prices of the food we buy at the shops, and on the fringe of the news reports that we watch when we get home. But there are moments that cut through and grab our attention. One is the release of scary warnings from scientists like in [yesterday’s] IPCC report. Another is freak temperatures beyond what we’d have ever imagined, and another one, that we campaigners can make happen, are moments in which we are brought together and reminded of our power and unity in shaping the world we want to see. The Big One will be one such moment.”

How Can I Get Involved?

All the main information is on The Big One website, including ways to volunteer and donate. Click HERE

We know of at least one multi generational group that will be travelling to Westminster from Stoke. If you are on the Stoke Environment Group mailing list you will have had details, and an offer of advice if you are thinking of going. For others in the area contemplating the trip please get in touch and we will try and 'put people in touch with each other'. Contact Dave at envirostoke@yahoo. com

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