Chesterfield XR



We chat with Chesterfield Extinction Rebellion to

understand why they are fighting for our planet.

Words: Paul Chapman

Image: Adobe Stock


“Not everyone is out there demonstrating. We have support from many people, doctors, lawyers, senior people, young people and this support comes in many ways, behind the scenes, nonviolent direct-action training, legal support training, social media support etc to name a few.

XR, or Extinction Rebellion to use their full name, have a growing number of supporters who believe that the world we inhabit is not an endless resource to be used and abused, and it’s down to us to make some changes to ensure that future generations can enjoy a long time as custodians.


XR have gained notoriety for their recent protests in London, where their profile has been raised through peaceful action, bringing traffic in the city to standstill. A poignant comment I heard came from radio and TV presenter Chris Evans on his morning breakfast show. He mentioned how clean and peaceful the city of London was without the traffic. It was a pleasant place to be and people occupied the streets and moved about without any difficulty. Some commented how close together parts of the city are when you can walk without the noise and pollution affecting your personal wellbeing.


Children get it, but it’s our actions today that will have a greater impact on their futures. When XR went into Spire Juniors to explain who they are and why they act, they were met by suggestions from the children including: a pool of electric cars, use one from the pool when you need it; and about how they love wildlife and creatures and want to save them all.

In past S40 Local’s when we have asked young people of senior school age to contribute articles to the magazine, many of the topics considered and published, have focused on the environment and climate change.


“30 years ago scientist made predictions about signs on climate change that would be apparent by 2050, but these signs are here today, 30 years earlier than forecast.”

Whatever your views, 97% of scientists now agree that our planet is changing, and we are the cause, so I feel it’s right to talk about XR and let you make your own decision.

The group are active locally and trying to raise awareness of the issues we face; I am meeting Michelle Cadet-Rose and Colin Harrison from Chesterfield XR.


“People think it’s about getting arrested” says Michelle, “but that’s not the case at all, for every single person that does get arrested there are ten that do not.


“Not everyone is out there demonstrating. We have support from many people, doctors, lawyers, senior people, young people and this support comes in many ways, behind the scenes, nonviolent direct-action training, legal support training, social media support etc to name a few.


“Colin and I have taken part in events locally and in London where the depth of support has been amazing.”





What exactly is XR? “XR is a rebellion against us becoming extinct”, scientists say we are heading for a disaster quite quickly, our Government want carbon neutrality by 2050 but the scientists say we need to act much sooner.


“The scientists say there is a ‘tipping point’, a point where we see a change in our environment that cannot be reversed, this is when our carbon production from gases and waste exceeds the rate at which the planet can deal with it”.


“30 years ago scientist made predictions about signs on climate change that would be apparent by 2050, but these signs are here today, 30 years earlier than forecast.”


Michelle continues, “the things I take from XR are the facts: sea levels are changing, coastal areas are being affected now, people crisis’ exist as people migrate inland and towards the global north.


“More locally, we see widespread repeats of ‘once in a lifetime floods’ in Catcliffe, and vast fires in the Peak District. Signs that things are changing.”


“to look at the science that’s out there and make some choices about what difference can be made personally”.

XR have no political ideology, they are completely aimed at the environmental crisis and promote love and understanding. They are nonviolent in every way and have no single leader, people take positions within the group, it’s more like a community where people take roles that suit them and contribute overall in the end goals, which are to:


1. Tell the truth and repeat what the scientists are saying

2. Act now

3. Form Citizens assemblies


The group believe in deliberative democracy, a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision-making and in groups that represent all demographics.