The Global Extinction Rebellion Begins

Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.

On October 31, more than 1,000 of them blocked Parliament Square in London, launching their mass civil disobedience campaign. They issued a “Declaration of Rebellion” against the UK Government for its inaction.

A “rebellion” might sound extreme, but given the times, it is not. This moment has been long in the making for Dr. Bradbrook. Truthout asked what compelled her to the point of fomenting a rebellion against her government. Was it the climate crisis, or government inaction?

“Something deeper,” Dr. Bradbrook replied. “A lifetime of a deeper knowing that something isn’t right…starting at age nine, a longing to be part of the change process and a ridiculous nerdy side that is always asking why? Why is [the state of the planet] like this?”

Bradbrook devoted herself to learning about economics and theories of change. She knew the system had to be changed before it killed us all, but for nearly a decade she repeatedly failed in her attempts to inspire or ignite a mass civil disobedience movement.

“So in 2016 I went on a deep retreat to address personal anxiety and to pray for guidance,” she explained. When she returned, Dr. Bradbrook galvanized…

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