Denver Activists to Bring Climate "Rebellion" to Black Friday Shopping

Denver Extinction Rebellion activists led a "Funeral Procession for the Earth" from Representative Diana DeGette's office in April.
Denver Extinction Rebellion activists led a "Funeral Procession for the Earth" from Representative Diana DeGette's office in April. Erin McCarley
Denver shoppers hoping to get a head start on their holiday gift-buying can expect to find more than just the usual door-buster deals this Black Friday: They'll also get a friendly reminder of the looming threat of catastrophic global warming, courtesy of some of the city's most colorful climate activists.

Demonstrators with Extinction Rebellion (XR) Denver will take to Cherry Creek Park today, November 29, where they'll greet visitors to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center with small gifts, music, art and more, part of a wave of similar actions happening in cities across the country. On the busiest shopping day of the year, the group wants to send the message that "consumerism is not the way forward."

"It is time to rebel against the culture that has brought us to the brink of societal collapse," Dave Robinson, an XR Denver activist, says in a statement about the action. "It is time to give the gift of a livable planet to ourselves and the world."

Founded by two veteran environmental activists in London in October 2018, the Extinction Rebellion movement now counts hundreds of affiliates in dozens of countries, having grown rapidly during a year in which climate activism has taken on new urgency around the world. The group embraces the use of nonviolent civil disobedience, along with other confrontational and creative forms of protest, to raise awareness of the climate crisis and pressure governments around the world to act.

In Denver, XR activists have staged die-ins at city council meetings, protested local TV stations for failing to cover climate change, and faced arrest after blocking traffic in an effort to call attention to what they say is an "unprecedented global emergency."

The world's top climate scientists agree with that assessment. Earlier this week, officials with the U.N. Environment Program issued yet another dire warning to governments around the world in their annual Emissions Gap Report. "The summary findings are bleak," the report's authors wrote. "Countries collectively failed to stop the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that deeper and faster cuts are now required."

Extinction Rebellion's demands include ambitious, sweeping goals, like net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and the creation of "citizens' assemblies" to work toward environmental and social justice. Solving the climate crisis, the group believes, will mean creating a positive, "regenerative" culture — and in Denver, they plan to bring that spirit to Black Friday shopping in Cherry Creek.

"A new narrative of the holidays can be forged, one that includes food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and support for immigrant families abused by our cruel system," XR Denver activists say in their announcement of the action. "We can move away from consumerism, and toward a regenerative future that celebrates human connections and a healthy environment."

XR Denver's Black Friday Rebellion will begin at noon today, November 29, in Cherry Creek Park, Steele Street and Bayaud Avenue.
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Chase Woodruff is a staff writer at Westword interested in climate change, the environment and money in politics.
Contact: Chase Woodruff