Red Brigade catches public's attention at Extinction Rebellion Vancouver funeral procession on Black Friday
For Black Friday, Extinction Rebellion activists incorporated several theatrical elements in their Vancouver street protest for the climate.
It began with a funeral procession that began at Art Phillips Park, which is beside Burrard Station.
Pallbearers dressed in black carried picked up a black casket with the words "Change or Die".
Then they carried it through downtown Vancouver, accompanied by a silent Red Brigade.
These red-robed, white-face painted marchers have been a hallmark of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in the United Kingdom.
They started popping up at Vancouver events this month.
The colour of their costumes symbolizes the blood that connects the human species to the Earth.
And the visual imagery is designed to convey the emotional magnitude of what humanity is facing this century as a result of the climate crisis.
To show their displeasure with consumerism associated with Black Friday, the Extinction Rebellion protesters then entered Pacific Centre, where they staged a die-in.
Like all other Extinction Rebellion events, this was peaceful, civil disobedience designed to attract media attention.
It was also staged in a way to generate sympathy from upstanding citizens who might be considering joining the climate rebellion.
"Vancouver is not immune from the issues surrounding climate change," Extinction Rebellion Vancouver states on its website. "Rising sea levels are poised to submerge Richmond and beyond. Year by year record wildfire smoke threatens the lungs of our vulnerable youth and seniors. We are the terminus of a pipeline from the most destructive tar sands on Earth. That is why we need your help locally, here on the ground in Vancouver as our best chance to turn things around."
Extinction Rebellion has three demands:
1. Tell the truth
By this, it's calling upon governments to be honest about how deadly the climate crisis is and to reverse policies not in alignment with this reality. Plus, it involves governments working with the media to communicate the urgency for change and what individuals, communities, and businesses need to do.
2. Act now
It wants the federal government to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2025 in Canada.
3. Citizens' assembly
Create a citizens' assembly to decide what measures to take to achieve climate objectives while guaranteeing a just and fair transition to a net-zero carbon economy.
Why these protests occur
The magnitude of the climate crisis is still hard for some to comprehend.
Here's just one of many reasons for concern. Last year, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper pointing out how dangerous the climate crisis is, once feedback loops are taken into consideration.
These include the melting of the West Antarctica and East Antarctica ice sheets, the disappearance of alpine glaciers, disruptions to the jet stream, and the melting of Arctic permafrost, which would result in massive releases of methane.
That's to say nothing of warming oceans eventually belching up monumental amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
All of this could wreak havoc on food production, especially if storm surges rendered agricultural land unproductive near the sea in countries like the Philippines and Vietnam. That would be because of higher salt concentrations in soil, making it far more difficult for rice crops to succeed.
The PNAS paper charted a "Hothouse Earth" pathway that could lead to a much higher average global temperature than at any time in the past 1.2 million years.
It also showed how sea levels could rise significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene, which covers the last 11,700 years of history.
To learn more about Hothouse Earth conditions, check out this 2018 video on PBS:
Also in 2018, German public broadcaster DW News ran a segment on Hothouse Earth, which you can see below:
Teen climate strikers were also in the streets of Vancouver for a #FridaysforFuture event. They gathered on Granville Street between West Georgia and Dunsmuir streets for a party.
Climate protesters are blocking Robson and Burrard streets. Three people have been arrested, according to CTV News.
Police say there were six arrests in what was a peaceful protest.