Skip to the content.

XR Vancouver’s Declaration of Rebellion

We begin this declaration with a territorial acknowledgement.

We acknowledge that the land we are on is the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Canada persists in its efforts to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their land through development projects such as the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. Canada has not reconciled its laws with Indigenous peoples’ basic right to sovereignty and self-determination. We recognize that it is our responsibility to work alongside the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in solidarity. We pledge our commitment to support these communities in their struggles for sovereignty, for having their territorial rights respected, and in their efforts to protect this land. We want to take a moment to reflect on the fact that the assault on this land has always gone hand in hand with the assault on Indigenous peoples. Take, for example, the story of this very place where we’re now gathered: Burrard Bridge. Seaforth Peace Park is the location of an ancient village, known as Sen̓áḵw (pronounced “Sin-awk”) in the Squamish language. Following the Indian Act, the Canadian government established a reserve of 34 hectares, allotted it to the Squamish Nation, and called it Kitsilano Indian Reserve no. 6. Over the following years, these lands were “fragmented and alienated from a much larger Indigenous landscape”, with large tracts of surrounding land being expropriated for the expansion of Vancouver city, the development of railways, and for the construction of Burrard Bridge. In 1913, the government forced the Squamish people who lived in Sen̓áḵw to fully abandon their homes. It gave them two days to pack up before placing them onto a barge and transporting them elsewhere; “by 1965, the entire reserve had been sold off”. After almost 100 years of struggle, the Squamish Nation successfully settled with the government and in 2002 regained about 11 hectares of this land. But they are owed much, much more.

So why do we rebel?

We rebel in fierce support of the struggles of the Coast Salish peoples to defend this land, the water and all life. We are late in recognizing the depth of their knowledge, their resistance, and their leadership in doing so.

And we rebel for our planet. Our only home is on fire and facing an unprecedented ecological breakdown. We have no time to lose.

Together we are taking back these streets. We demand – not ask – that our politicians listen to the voices of everyday Canadians and respect the rights of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The government must TELL THE TRUTH about the climate and ecological emergencies and TAKE ACTION accordingly. They must institute a CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY on climate and ecological justice. And we demand they do so immediately. Why?

Because we are running out of time.

The UN says we need to keep warming below 1.5 degrees C. Without urgent action we’ll reach 1.5 degrees C in just 20 years. The beginnings of our planet’s sixth mass extinction is underway, driven by unsustainable social and economic systems. One million animal and plant species are already threatened with extinction this century. And our communities are being devastated by extreme events caused by the collapse of our life support systems.

We are not doing enough.

Even if every country delivers on all their current promises to reduce emissions, we’re heading for warming of over 3 degrees C by 2100. The longer we wait, the higher the risk of triggering dangerous and irreversible feedbacks in our climate and ecological systems. As Indigenous peoples have long recognized, we are part of – not apart from – the natural world, and we depend on its well-being to survive.

It is now or never.

We are the last generation who can act to prevent this crisis. Climate change is already here, but the progress we make during the next decade will determine whether we avoid the most devastating future impacts. Conventional tactics have failed to produce the required changes at the scale and pace necessary. Political and economic elites are fervently trying to maintain business as usual, putting profit over people and planet. Our own Canadian government is actively taking measures to worsen the situation, including buying and approving destructive pipeline projects.

So we are rebelling.

We are taking over Burrard Bridge in non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience. Empirical evidence shows that this is the most effective way to achieve the rapid political and economic change we need.

We appreciate that our protest may negatively affect ordinary people going about their daily lives, and we regret this. However, we believe that in the current circumstances they are morally justified and necessary.

With this being said, we declare that we hold the following to be true:

This is our darkest hour.

Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: our peoples, our ecosystems, and the future of generations to come. The breakdown of our climate and ecological systems has begun. These crises can no longer be ignored, denied, nor go unanswered by any beings of sound mind, rational thought, ethical conscience, moral concern, or spiritual belief.

In accordance with these values, the virtues of truth, and the weight of the evidence, we declare it our duty to act on behalf of the security and well-being of our children, our communities, and the future of the planet itself. We act out of love for our planet and all life on it and we appeal to you to join with us. We need everybody now.

In alignment with our consciences and our reasoning we declare ourselves in rebellion against the Canadian Government and the corrupt, inept institutions that threaten our future.

When Government and the law fail to provide any assurance of adequate protection, as well as security for its people’s well-being and future, it becomes the right of its citizens to seek redress in order to restore dutiful democracy and to secure the solutions needed to avert catastrophe and protect the future. It becomes not only our right, it becomes our sacred duty to rebel.

We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void, which the government has rendered invalid by its continuing failure to act appropriately.

We demand to be heard, to apply informed solutions to these ecological crises and to create a national assembly by which to initiate those solutions needed to change our present cataclysmic course.

We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations by failing to act now.

We act in peace, with ferocious love of these lands in our hearts. We act on behalf of life.


Sources:

https://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/place-that-matters/seaforth-peace-park/

XR UK Declaration of Rebellion: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nvOQRxAR4FcukBJHmB-mF4hSnCOYpn0E/view?usp=sharing

Action Consensus: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13yLHsRg48bAefvEB7QyK7rkDfVTAO1k7vK8T9dU5QmY/edit?usp=sharing

XR Vancouver - Speak the Truth https://docs.google.com/document/d/13UpOq0agdT5KjgyV_ehE-u53F4jQPM1FR8znmYHnrmo/edit?usp=sharing

This is Not a Drill - An XR Handbook https://drive.google.com/file/d/1L6nKxN1QeqkZVWJb3cFg2mYm1sWIrIE3/view?usp=sharing

How to win! - Roger Hallam https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O8STq9StKwSMbMibaPvh6WJjg6DxxaJR/view?usp=sharing

Greta Thunberg’s UN Climate Speech (Transcript & Video): https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Environment/How-dare-you-Transcript-of-Greta-Thunberg-s-UN-climate-speech

*Extinction Rebellion (XR UK/France) Facebook Event