Cross pollination between youth, extinction rebels and grey-haired councillors

As we enter 2019 with record-breaking temperatures, three new global climate emergency movements are making headlines: Extinction Rebellion, which started in England in 2018, the council climate emergency declaration campaign, which started in Australia in 2016 and now counts 40 councils, and the FridaysForFuture school strike movement, which Greta Thunberg started in Sweden in August 2018.

The three movements are inspiring and cross pollinating each other, supporting and working for each other, across ages and country borders, and they are achieving convincing results by doing so.

15-year-old teenagers are mobilising their communities, class mates, teachers and parents to strike from school on Fridays, while 75-year-olds are making FridaysForFuture sit-ins in front of senators’ offices. 15 March 2019 has been marked in the calendar as a special climate-strike campaign day – and preparations have started for an International Rebellion Week on 15-21 April.

The young people are finding courage and speaking up all over the world – in their schools, in media and at city council meetings – all as a result of the inspiration they have taken from the 16-year-old Swedish climate-oracle Greta Thunberg.

For instance, this passionate speech from 15-year-old Oxford resident Linnet Drury (see the video above or on Youtube) clearly made an impact on the city’s grey-haired councillors at their meeting on 28 January 2019, and shortly after, Oxford City Council unanimously backed its first-ever climate emergency motion.

» Climate Emergency Declaration – 31 January 2019:
United Kingdom: Oxford City Council unanimously backs climate emergency motion

Something similar happened in Vancouver just a few weeks before. Rebecca Hamilton, a Vancouver high school student who is part of the global #SchoolStrike4Climate movement, had helped mobilise support among local youth for their council to declare a climate emergency. She said:

“We are living in a time of climate crisis and, as teens, we struggle to reconcile that knowledge with the lack of action we see around us. We are asking our leaders to step up and start treating this crisis like the emergency it is. We are at a crossroads: we can continue failing to reduce emissions, resulting in accelerating climate catastrophe. Or, we can take dramatic action now, creating a safe future for our generation. We are demanding our leaders choose the latter path.”

» Climate Emergency Declaration – 17 January 2019:
Canada: Vancouver passes climate emergency resolution

As demonstrated in this video from Frome in the United Kingdom, local Extinction Rebellion groups have been instrumental in making the climate emergency declaration take off in the United Kingdom, where – over less than three months – more than 20 councils now have declared a climate emergency. See the list of UK councils below.

“We must do all we can to protect the basic environmental conditions that allow humanity to flourish. In this context, Extinction Rebellion’s economic and political program is on the side of reason, and well supported by academic research.”
~ Simon Mair and Julia Steinberger

» Global News Canada – 5 February 2019:
Elementary students challenge Quispamsis town council on climate change
Five Grade 5 students at the École des Pionniers Elementary School in Quispamsis, N.B., have made a pitch to town council on the issue of climate change. The students are asking the town to sign the Citizens’ Universal Declaration of Climate Emergency. They feel the time to act is now.

Populations covered by governments that have declared a climate emergency now exceed 19 million citizens in four English-speaking countries, with over 12 million of these living in the United Kingdom.

These are the overall figures, according to population statistics available via the Internet:

Australia: 8 councils, 650,187 persons
United Kingdom: 21 councils and 1 authority: 12,633,895 persons
USA: 9 councils, 5,759,171 persons
Canada: 1 council, 631,486 persons

Total: 40 local government bodies representing 19,665,739 persons

…and counting. This figure keeps growing almost every week as more and more councils keep joining in. For instance, these two UK councils have a climate emergency motion on their agenda in the coming days:

Sheffield Council

» Yorkshire Post – 31 January 2019:
Sheffield is largest city in UK to declare ‘climate emergency’

Somerset Council

Climate emergency declaration map. Click to zoom in and see details on

Bryony Edwards, CACE: “Councils are breaking the silence on the climate emergency, leading central governments and NGOs around the world.”

Published on on 22 December 2018

Intergenerational support-strike on 15 March
Grey Power supports School Strike 4 Climate
The Grey Power Climate Protectors is a new Australian group which uses “the political, financial, or social influence of older people” to protect the climate for now and future generations.

Declaring a climate emergency: city by city

This data compilation was initiated by Philip Sutton

Ballarat City Council, Victoria: 101.686
Byron Shire Council, New South Wales: 33.987
Darebin City Council, (@CityofDarebin), Victoria: 158.745
Gowler Town Council: 26,472
Moreland City Council, Victoria: 162.558
Town of Victoria Park, Western Australia: 34,990
Vincent City Council, Western Australia: 35.768
Yarra City Council, Victoria: 95,981

United Kingdom:
Bradford District Council: 534,300
Brighton and Hove City Council: 273,369
Bristol City Council, (@BristolCity): 535.907
Calderdale Borough Council, Halifax: 208,402
Cornwall Council: 563,600
Forest of Dean District Council: 86,000
Frome Town Council: 26.203
Greater London Authority: 8.174.000
Kirklees Council: 423,000
Lambeth Council: 324,431
Lancaster City Council: 142,500
Langport Town Council: 2,872
Leicester City Council: 329,839
Machynlleth Town Council, Wales: 2,235
Milton Keynes Council: 229,941
Oswestry Town Council: 17,105
Oxford City Council: 161,300
Powys County Council, Wales: 132,500
Scarborough Borough Council 108,400
Stroud District Council: 116.627
Totnes Town Council: 8.076
Trafford Council: 233,288

Berkeley City Council, (@CityofBerkeley), California: 112.580
Hayward City Council, California: 147,000
Hoboken City Council, (@CityofHoboken), New Jersey: 55.131
Los Angeles City Council, (@LosAngelesCity), California: 3.999.759
Montgomery County Council, (@MontgomeryCoMD), Maryland: 971.777
New Britain, Connecticut: 73,200 – resolution
Oakland City Council, (@Oakland), California: 390.724
Richmond City Council, (@RichmondCalDemo), California: 103.701
Santa Cruz City Council, (@CityofSantaCruz), California: 62.864

Vancouver City Council: 631,486

On its meeting on 29 January 2019, Halifax Regional Council in Nova Scotia, Canada, supported a ‘climate emergency’ motion put forward by Councillor Richard Zurawski. The motion suggests “the incorporation into the municipality’s climate targets and actions the need to achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2050.” If the climate breakdown “constitutes an emergency for Halifax Regional Council”, as the motion declares, it is not explained why then council would only be recommending this level of action. It does follow the recommendation by the UN’s IPCC report ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’ from October 2018, which is a very conservative compromise suggested by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analysed more than 6,000 scientific studies. But it can not be called an ‘emergency’ response, which would be more like achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2025. For this reason, we have not included Halifax Regional Council on the list above.

Similar lists

» CEDAMIA’s list in chronological order:

» CACE Online’s list:

» The Climate Mobilization’s list:
City by City Campaign: The Race to Mobilize Is On

TV news coverage – examples

Machynlleth Town Council, Wales, United Kingdom

Vancouver City Council, Canada [Report starts at 0:52 min in the video]

Social media

» Read more and follow the development on Facebook

Climate emergency declarations in Geelong region

In Geelong, a local group started in October with the agenda to mobilise the communities of both Geelong and Surf Coast to ask their two councils to declare a climate emergency – and then to act accordingly. See more on: » Facebook page » Home page: