In its first major public-facing action, the newly formed Western North Carolina chapter of the global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion marched through downtown Asheville on Nov. 5. Roughly 75 people, including Asheville City Council member Brian Haynes and Council candidate Shane McCarthy, took part in advocating that local government take stronger action in response to climate change.
Extinction Rebellion chose the date of the march, according to a press release, to coincide with the time local elections would have been held before they were moved to 2020 through the passage of Senate Bill 813. “Extinction Rebellion WNC knows the forces that canceled city elections are the same ones preventing us from acting on the existential threat of climate change,” the release stated. “So on Nov. 5, instead of heading to the voting booths, the people of Asheville are invited to take to the streets to demand action that addresses the reality of the impending climate crisis.”
The group made four demands of local officials: to declare a climate emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, listen to a Citizen’s Assembly on matters of climate and ecological justice and prioritize a just transition from the fossil fuel economy. Extinction Rebellion members plan to participate in the upcoming Asheville Climate Strike on Friday, Dec. 6.
Protesters gather in Pritchard Park prior to Extinction Rebellion WNC’s Nov. 5 March on City Hall. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
Asheville City Council member Brian Haynes holds a banner before the March on City Hall. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
Members of the Brass Your Heart Radical Marching Band supported the Extinction Rebellion march. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
City Council candidate Shane McCarthy, third from left, was in attendance at the Extinction Rebellion march. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
The Extinction Rebellion march winds its way through Pritchard Park en route to Asheville City Hall
Marchers spilled into the street on Patton Avenue as they continued to Asheville City Hall. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
Extinction Rebellion marchers met with supporters of the Sunrise Movement near Pack Square. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
Protesters spoke on the steps of Asheville City Hall to demand stronger action on climate change. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
As night fell on Asheville City Hall, one protest sign continued to shine a message of climate emergency. Photo by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the Assistant Editor of Mountain Xpress, regularly contributing to coverage of Western North Carolina's government, environment and health care. His work has previously appeared in Capital at Play, Edible Asheville, and the Citizen-Times, among other area publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton
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