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.