Halloween parade and bike protest highlight the frightening reality of climate crisis

Halloween Parade and Bike Protest Highlight the Frightening Reality of Climate Emergency

Local climate organizations gather to demand that Cambridge and Somerville Mayors, City Councils, and Boards of Education take urgent and comprehensive actions

Climate activists advocate for net zero carbon emissions, annual climate milestones, and telling the truth about the climate crisis

CAMBRIDGE & SOMERVILLE, MA — Local members of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), joined Mothers Out Front, Sunrise, and other local climate groups to parade and cycle through the streets of Cambridge and Somerville from city hall to city hall in Halloween costume today blocking traffic to demand that the cities take immediate, concrete action on the climate & ecological emergencies.

The protest is in response to the Cambridge City Council’s failure to take action in proportion to its decade-old declaration of climate emergency and Somerville’s failure to declare a climate emergency. Cambridge implemented a Net Zero [Carbon] Action Plan in 2015, but the 2019 annual report highlights that the city has already fallen behind on implementation, milestones, and sense of urgency.(1) Somerville’s Climate Forward plan, adopted in 2018, has failed to commit to net zero by 2050, with even the government’s most optimistic implementation projections falling short of what’s required. (2)

“I’m here because the scariest thing this Halloween isn’t the decorations,” said Somerville-resident Allen McGonagill of Extinction Rebellion. “It’s the record wildfires darkening our skies even here in Mass, record storm seasons - or even just a high tide - flooding our cities, record heat threatening our health. I’m frightened because we’ve witnessed the death of 70% of the world’s wildlife over the past 50 years due to human activity. (3) I’m terrified that every year we seem to set new natural disaster records. There’s no end in sight and our local leaders aren’t acting like it’s an emergency.”

Mothers Out Front, Sunrise Boston, and other local climate groups paraded from Somerville’s City Hall to Cambridge’s waving banners, dressed in costumes and playing music. The parade event completed with a Halloween die-in at Cambridge City Hall calling attention to the accelerating ecological collapse and extinction of tens of thousands of species, the first mass extinction linked by scientists to human behavior. Activists demand that both cities begin actively telling the truth about the severity of climate and ecological emergency, including implementing public school education, collaborating actively with local media, and lobbying Massachusetts political leadership for concrete action.

Following the parade, Car-free Boston supporters joined XR members for a costumed bike ride through Cambridge and Somerville. The groups joined in solidarity demanding that the cities commit to further aggressive action to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and prevent environmental collapse. XR and Car-free Boston demand that local governments prioritize carbon-free transportation, including reducing infrastructure dedicated to privately-owned cars and creating additional cycling & pedestrian-only zones and lanes.

“We need radical change in Cambridge and Somerville, alongside regional, national, and international action. The future of the climate and ecological emergency will lead to the destruction of habitable human society as we know it, and that’s truly the most horrifying fright this Halloween,” said McGonagill.

Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts is an autonomous chapter of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), which started in London in 2018. The purpose of XR is to tell the truth about how dire the ecological and climate crisis is and spark immediate action in order to prevent complete climate and ecological collapse. We aim to mobilize people around the world to utilize nonviolent direct action to demand that governments take radical action to avert societal collapse caused by widespread climate and ecological disaster, and to protect front-line communities, biodiversity, and the natural world. This movement is non-political, and unites all of humanity behind a singular goal of a just and livable future. Learn more at: xrmass.org

  1. City of Cambridge - Net Zero Action Plan 2019
  2. Somerville Climate Forward
  3. The Hill, “Human activity has wiped out nearly 70 percent of the world's wildlife in just 50 years: report”

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